Wednesday, December 5, 2012

[Book Review] Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Title: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Author: Philip Pullman
Date of Publication: Nov. 8, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Classics, Fairy Tales
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5/5

Barnes & Noble

Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm. 
From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

The stories are the same, but the storyteller is different – this is what Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is all about.

It’s a collection of fifty fairy tales that were extensively researched and put together in one book that’s meant to celebrate over two hundred years of existence of well-loved fairy tales from the brothers Grimm.

Growing up as an avid reader, I remember having several fairy tale books which I read with much gusto when I was very young. Reading the fairy tales in this book was like getting re-acquainted with a long-lost friend. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic because all the fairy tales that I’ve enjoyed in my childhood were in it.

I loved reading about the stories I grew up with and compare it with the versions I’ve read in the past. It was also interesting to read other fairy tales that I haven’t had a chance to read when I was young. This book is definitely enchanting and fascinating! It brings out the inner kid in me.

The fairy tales themselves were written in simple words that were enough to describe what was happening without being overly descriptive of the whole setting like a novel. This makes it a perfect reading material for children. And since the stories are fairy tales, this book is tailor-made to be the perfect bed-time story book. I also appreciate the notes after each fairy tale because it listed the other versions of the tale, and explained some changes and points.

Also, what I really liked about this book is that aside from the collection of fairy tales within its pages, the author took time to point out the many differences between a novel and a fairy tale. I think that this was largely for the benefit of the adult readers who might be expecting something different.

The author also took time to narrate the story of the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and how they collected each story within the pages of the book. It was interesting to know what led to today’s infamous Grimm collection of tales.

Would I read this book again? Definitely! It’s like a reminder of my childhood. And I highly recommend it to people who would like a book of bedtime stories for children.


  1. Hmmm, I've seen this book around and was wondering if it was worth getting. I already have a couple of collections of Grimm's fairy this one special somehow?

    1. Well, this one has notes after each fairy tale which lists other versions of that specific fairy tale. It also includes commentaries and explanations. If you're interested to know the whole history of the brothers Grimm, this could be a good book to read as it has been thoroughly researched.

      An addition to your collection perhaps?

  2. This looks interesting. I was considering this book as well, but was hesitant because I like the originals. However, the notes at the end of each tale sound worth it. I might have to look into it. Thanks for the review.

    1. The notes are worth it! It lists titles of the different versions of each fairy tale and even the country where it's from. Plus, other commentaries and explanations. =)


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