Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Dear Mili (1988)

by Wilhelm Grimm

Other authors: Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7442029,056 (3.95)9
In order to save her daughter from a terrible war, the mother sends her into the forest telling her to return in three days. She meets St. Joseph who cares for her for three days, which in reality is thirty years.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Kate gave me this book. ( )
  Eurekas | May 4, 2023 |
Writing this review to remind me this is not the Maurice Sendak book I thought it was!* 10 out of ten for the Maurice Sendak illustrations, of course. But this folktale about a little girl whose mother sends her away into the woods when the town was under attack is not kids' stuff. God and the little girl's guardian angel and in fact St. Joseph, in a magical hut in the forest, do take care of her -- but after three days the girl returns to her mother, only to find the good lady aged by thirty years. The next day, it is found that both of them have returned to St. Joseph by dying. Very religious, beautiful illustrations, but a 'happy ending' that is sad. ( )
  bunnyjadwiga | Jan 16, 2022 |
Didn't feel like a traditional fairy tale, what with the saints involved. The standout here is really Sendak's illustrations. Probably not one you'd read to a child--this book is almost certainly made for adult fans of the Grimms and Sendak.

(Rated for my personal interest, not the quality of the book or story.) ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
The story is most likely actually written by Wilhelm Grimm, and I suspect that is why he never included it in any of his editions of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen.
The writing is characteristic of the editing he did on the old tales, expanded into a somewhat longer story.
In fact, the plot starts out very like this tale, almost to the language, but then diverges into a more "contemporary" (for the early 19th century) story.
The two initial volumes of the Tales were published in 1812 and 1815, so he may have written his version during the editing of those or shortly afterwards.
I was surprised that no Grimms scholars had an analysis on the first couple of pages of internet hits. However, this is the review from New York Books at the time of publication.


Some readers (at Goodreads) were surprised to see the prominence of Christian faith and folklore, but many of the authentic tales collected by the Grimms brothers also have Christian elements, although sometimes they may have been grafted onto a more pagan substrate. (See the full list at the above link.)
I doubt the story will appeal to very young listeners, but ages 9 and up might appreciate it.
The illustrations are (as said in the blurb) Sendak at his height (although the girl's head and feet are too big for her body, and she has the vapid facial expressions often found in 1940's illustrations). The backgrounds are lush and sometimes surprising in the details, so look at them closely.


"It is noteworthy that many of Sendak’s Polish relatives died in the Holocaust. Also of interest is Sendak’s response to criticisms that his drawings are too scary: "Parents shouldn’t assume children are made out of sugar candy and will break and collapse instantly. Kids don’t. We do." (TIME, Dec 5, 1988 v30 n23 p74" ( )
  librisissimo | Jun 3, 2021 |
Maybe I just haven't read any of the original Grimms' fairytales in a long time, but I found the Christian themes to be pretty prevalent in this story. I would have expected that the old man who took care of the little girl when she went into the woods to escape the war to be a kindly hermit or magician rather than a Christian saint. Obviously Germany at the time of the story's collection was a Christian nation (Protestant rather than Catholic, but still Christian), so possibly the story is of newer origins than some of the other tales or made up by the Grimms themselves. Considering that the format of the story (of someone leaving the city for the wilderness and time passing faster than normal) is a variation of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving and that the Grimms may have had access to the story, I would not be surprised if they had taken the story and inserted a younger protagonist to better suit the young girl whom Wilhelm was writing to.

This is the original published English language version of the story (presumably with little done to rewrite it from the original German), and the publishers did a good job of choosing Maurice Sendak as their seminal illustrator. He was one of the most popular and well-regarded illustrators by the late 1980s, and his interest in fantasy stories is well suited to the subject matter. He takes a classical approach to the illustrations, rather than the more unique styles that characterize books like Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, which I am less fond of, but which still works for the story. The story itself is quite light compared to many of the Grimms' tales - only the distant war potentially darkens the narrative and the young girl is never in any real danger with her guardian angel protecting her - so Sendak's pale palette keeps the forest setting from getting too dark. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilhelm Grimmprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sendak, MauriceIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jarrell, RandallTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed


Notable Lists

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
For my sister, Natalie
M. S.
First words
Dear Mili,
I'm sure you have gone walking in the woods or in green meadows, and passed a clear, flowing brook.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


In order to save her daughter from a terrible war, the mother sends her into the forest telling her to return in three days. She meets St. Joseph who cares for her for three days, which in reality is thirty years.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.95)
1 1
2 3
2.5 3
3 12
3.5 2
4 28
4.5 2
5 22

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,807,396 books! | Top bar: Always visible