My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group USA for a digital copy of this book to read in advance of its publication.
|Published by Penguin Group USA
8 November 2012
There is always a possibility that by reworking an old favourite there may be a tendency to dilute the fabric of the story to such an extent that it becomes unrecognisable from the original. Philip Pullman has taken the Grimm fairy tales which were written two hundred years ago by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and has succeeded in opening up the stories for another, and altogether, savvier generation.
For the Grimm purists this book may be a step too far, but I believe that this wonderful collection of short stories will stand the test of time and regardless of how many times they are reworked, there is a still an element of magic and a kind of innocent wonder to be found in stories where good against evil, weak against strong, natural against supernatural, justice against injustice, all fight for the right to be heard.
Pullman has done a creditable job in maintaining the atmosphere of the stories, and overall his simplified text works well. I found particularly useful his inclusion of explanatory snippets which are found at the end of each tale. I was, however, just a little disappointed, the stories cry out for glorious illustrations and I feel that the lack of something visually stunning lets the book down.
Having now read Philip Pullman’s version of the Grimm fairy stories, I am still inclined to err on the side of the original version; however, there is still something quite magical about reading fairy tales to a sleepy child and Pullman’s stories are more than up to the task.
My favourites as always are:
Hansel and Gretel