If there is a child in your life aged between six and 10, you need to get them this beautifully published version of the classic Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Penguin has done a great job with this edition – a cloth cover with heavy gold and silver detailing, beautiful silver end papers, and a mix of original black and white illustrations and a small number of modern day colour plates by wonderful children’s illustrators such as Quentin Blake, Raymond Briggs and Helen Oxenbury.
This is the sort of book I think of as an heirloom, something to keep for the next generation and beyond.
The stories are in the original form (first published in 1823), so the language is slightly dated, but still very readable. The content is as good as ever, and it’s refreshing to reread the stories without the influence of Disney – The Lady and the Lion (aka Beauty and the Beast) is almost unrecognisable.
There is no sugary-sweetness in these stories, and not a lot of happily-ever-afters. The morals are still as relevant today as they would have been at the time the Brothers Grimm collected from their native Germany: work hard, don’t be greedy, be kind and generous, cleverness will usually be rewarded, listen to good advice, keep your promises.
Buy this for someone who loves being read aloud to, but doesn’t mind if there’s not a picture on every page, or who is a confident reader and likes reading to themselves. The stories are a perfect length for bedtime reading, and will be wonderfully familiar to many adult readers.
This is a book to keep and treasure for a long time. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore, a primary school teacher who loves sharing books with her students and revisiting the classics.
Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm
Iintroduced by Cornelia Funke
Published by Puffin Books