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Philip Pullman – Grimm Tales: For Young and Old review

Philip Pullman puts his own spin on the popular tales.

Grimm Tales

The Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales are some of the best-known across the world. They have been retold time and time again in a variety of ways including film, TV and literature. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who can’t name at least one of the classic tales. In 2012 critically-acclaimed author Philip Pullman released his new book Grimm Tales for Young and Old which sees him putting his own spin on his 50 favourite tales. Earlier this year the book was published for the first time in paperback ahead of Christmas.

Grimm Tales is a selection of well-known and lesser-known stories from The Brothers Grimm. After a rather lengthy introduction from Pullman which explains what he was attempting to do with this book, you can dig into the short tales starting with The Frog King. Each tale is around 10 pages in length ending with information about the origin of the story giving you a history for each one. This is a really nice touch and very interesting.

All of the tales you would expect to be included here are – Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood – and it’s a real joy to read Pullman’s interpretation of them. Throughout his retellings Pullman adds more detail to really bring certain aspects to life. One of our favourites in the book is Rumpelstiltskin, which was a classic when we were little too, and the very short retelling here is simply beautiful.

Like much of Pullman’s work, Grimm Tales is suitable for all audiences. Children will marvel at the tales whilst adults will appreciate the retelling of stories they have grown up on and probably read to their own children/nephews/nieces/grandchildren at some point. Pullman writes concisely but with great clarity making these tales a breeze to read through and a complete joy.

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Grimm Tales for Young and Old is a fantastic book that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Like The Brothers Grimm before him, Pullman will find this book on many a bookshelf with families dipping in and out of the wonderful tales. It’s an interesting move for Pullman and we really enjoyed his retelling of these familiar stories.


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