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Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version (2012)

by Philip Pullman (Retelling)

Other authors: Jacob Grimm (Original), Wilhelm Grimm (Original)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,3593812,982 (4.03)37
Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children's and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I am a runner. And when you run a long race, oftentimes you find yourself basically counting down the miles . . .10 to go, 9 to go, etc. I felt similarly while reading this book. 40 fairy tales to go. 39 fairy tales to go. 1 fairy tale to go. Goal!!
That's how much I enjoy reading fairy tales. Not.
Basically, fairy tales encompass every reading element I don't care for. No character development. Lots of fantastical and supernatural elements. Anti feminist (the women, in the form of princesses, are basically the reward for every good deed and every decent male). Worse yet, a lot of the elements are basically repeated in different tales.
This book was basically a retelling of favorites with Pullman's commentary at the end. Pullman's commentary was more like blog entries than a polished analysis. Sometimes he really made me chuckle. Sometimes he brought up some interesting tidbits. And sometimes, I'm like "can't believe they published this drivel". What his commentary was not was academic or erudite. That's fine, but I couldn't really trick myself into feeling like I was learning something by reading these fairy tales.
A few of the tales did bring about some nostalgia (Little Red Riding Hood). I also liked a few - - by far my favorite was the one about the insatiable wife who is never satisfied and harangues her husband endlessly. Another one I found enjoyable was about a very lazy man who marries a very lazy wife. But others were just bad or meandering or pointless.
At any rate, I'm still giving the book three stars because in the context of the tag, I think the book was a fine effort. I didn't have trouble getting through it. I found some of it mildly entertaining. So on the low end of the three star range, but definitely in there. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
I found this collection pretty unedifying really. I think it might be nice for a more casual reader rather than someone who has studied the tales, but lacking either novelty or exegesis its just another collection of fairy tales neither noticably better nor especially worse than any other. ( )
  elahrairah | Aug 30, 2022 |
Wonderful book - best overall condensation of Grimm I've encountered. Pullman is not only a wonderful writer, but a very competent scholar as well. ( )
  dhaxton | Mar 17, 2022 |
Very well told - will buy own copy. Loved these in childhood in an older version
  MiriamL | Feb 15, 2021 |
I've read a few fairy tales books (from a Disney series) when I was a kid. Cinderella, for example, was one of them. But later on, when I really got into reading, I never really checked back on those kinds of stories, be them by Grimm or other authors.

It was by chance that I saw this book, Grimm Tales, in a bookshop. Reading the back cover, I thought it would be interesting to read such fairy tales, if only to have some variation in my collection.

Grimm Tales, one of the many books out there collecting tales from the brothers Grimm, who got their stories from other people, is a collection of 53 tales. Philip Pullman reworked them a little for this edition. He also added with each tale its history, a reference to similar tales (by different authors), and his findings on the presented tales.

Also interesting is the introduction, in which mr. Pullman tells about the brothers Grimm and how their tales collection came to be. Plus, he explains what's typical for a fairy tale, what a good tale should contain, what not, etc. So it's not just a compilation of tales, but it has added info, which makes the books more interesting and valuable.

The tales themselves are of course not all equally good/entertaining/..., but the majority is. Most of them involve rich vs poor, typical characters like princes/queens/kings/witches/... and talking animals.

All in all, I found Grimm Tales a very entertaining and informative read. Depending how old you are, it may bring back memories from your childhood. ;-) But as the subtitle says, it's for "Young and Old", i.e. everyone. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This collection is issued as a "classic", so it is probably right to aim for a style free of the gothic extravagance of Angela Carter or the contemporary ethics of Jane Yolen or any other highly literary or individual interpretation, but for those who already know the stories this results in a collection which is very good, but not very interesting.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pullman, PhilipRetellingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grimm, JacobOriginalsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grimm, WilhelmOriginalsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forner, AlisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrand, FloydIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tan, ShaunIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Up so long and variously by
Our age's fancy narrative concoctions,
I yearned for the kind of unseasoned telling found
In legends, fairy tales, a tone licked clean
Over the centuries by mild old tongues,
Grandam to cub, serene, anonymous.
...So my narrative
Wanted to be limpid, unfragmented;
My characters, conventional stock figures
Afflicted to a minimal degree
With personality and past experience--
A witch, a hermit, innocent young lovers,
The kinds of being we recall from Grimm,
Jung, Verdi, and the commedia dell'arte.
First words
So writes the American poet James Merrill at the opening of 'The Book of Ephraim', the first part of his extraordinary long poem The Changing Light at Sandover (1982). -- From the INTRODUCTION
In the olden days, when wishing still worked, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful; but the youngest daughter was so lovely that even the sun, who has seen many things, was struck with wonder every time he shone on her face. -- From "The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich," first tale in the book
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between original publication of Philip Pullman's adapted stories, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version (Viking; 2012), from its paperback re-issue as a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (Penguin; 2013). The paperback re-issue adds three stories that were omitted from Pullman's first collection, specifically: "The Twelve Huntsmen," "The Buffalo-Hide Boots," and "The Golden Key." Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English


Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children's and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The frog king, or Iron Heinrich --
The cat and the mouse set up house --
The boy who left home to find out about the shivers --
Faithful Johannes --
The twelve brothers --
Little brother and little sister --
Rapunzel --
The three little men in the woods --
Hansel and Gretel --
The three snake leaves --
The fisherman and his wife --
The brave little tailor --
Cinderella --
The riddle --
The mouse, the bird and the sausage --
Little Red Riding Hood --
The musicians of Bremen --
The singing bone --
The devil with the three golden hairs --
The girl with no hands --
The elves --
The robber bridegroom --
Godfather death --
The juniper tree --
Briar Rose --
Snow White --
Rumpelstiltskin --
The golden bird --
Farmerkin --
Thousandfurs --
Jorinda and Joringel --
Six who made their way in the world --
Gambling Hans --
The singing, springing lark --
The goose girl --
Bearskin --
The two travelling companions --
Hans-my-hedgehog --
The little shroud --
The stolen pennies --
The donkey cabbage --
One eye, two eyes and three eyes --
The shoes that were danced to pieces --
Iron Hans --
Mount Simeli --
Lazy Heinz --
Strong Hans --
The moon --
The goose girl at the spring --
The nixie of the millpond
Haiku summary
Splendid retelling
Of fifty of Grimms' classic
And obscure folk tales.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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