Weekend Review & Giveaway: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

This year marks the bicentennial of the initial publication of Grimm's fairy tales. I've been looking for a good, comprehensive collection of these tales to read to Silas when he gets just a little bit older, so when I received the offer to review this version I jumped at the chance. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (2012, Viking) includes a retelling of fifty classic stories by Philip Pullman, famous for the His Dark Materials trilogy. All the familiar characters are here--Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Snow White--as well as many with whom I was not familiar, but whose acquaintance I was delighted to make.

The introduction is a fascinating history of how these stories came to be written down and how they have survived in a variety of incarnations. Each story is followed by an end note with detailed information about its source and a list of similar versions found in other cultures. Pullman consulted a variety of editions in order to arrive at the words arranged here. His stated purpose was to "produce a version that was as clear as water" and he is successful in that aim; his focus is on the story. These tales are unadorned, straightforward, and incredibly compelling, just what fairy tales should be. He is true to the simplicity of each narrative while still maintaining all the weird little quirks that one would expect to find in tales that have been handed down from generation to generation. The lyric quality of his words belies their oral history; these are perfect for reading aloud.

Many, including those who follow the Waldorf tradition, have argued that the fairy tale persists because it serves a vital purpose in educating our young. Children and adults alike are drawn to them for a reason. Their timeless and direct nature make them wonderful vehicles for introducing moral lessons and the clear "good" and "evil" characters provide a mode by which children may learn how to cope with their emerging sense of ethics.

Viking is generously offering a copy of this book to one A Life Sustained reader. All you have to do to be entered in the random drawing to win is to leave a comment on this post. For a second entry, "like" A Life Sustained on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know that you've done so. I'll close comments in the evening of December 15 and choose a winner via random number generator shortly thereafter. Good luck and thank you Viking!

And the winner is:

Annie
"I would love to have a copy of this book! The school my boys attend is in the Waldorf tradition of teaching through these fairy tales, and I would love to bring them home, as well. It would be so interesting for me to learn more of the background of each of the stories, as well as the lists of similar versions... it sounds fascinating! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!"

My review copy was provided courtesy of Viking.

3 comments:

  1. I just returned from a storytelling class at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and we talked about the timelessness and absolute necessity of telling stories to our children. What a gift! Sign me up. I'm all for a good story.

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  2. I would love to have a copy of this book! The school my boys attend is in the Waldorf tradition of teaching through these fairy tales, and I would love to bring them home, as well. It would be so interesting for me to learn more of the background of each of the stories, as well as the lists of similar versions... it sounds fascinating! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  3. Sounds awesome! I am all about reading the original tales! The twelve dancing princesses is one of S's favorites.

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