Grimm Tales for Young and Old

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Title: Grimm Tales for Young and Old

Writer: Philip Pullman

Publishing House: Penguin Classics

Date of Publication:September 5th 2013 (first published September 27th 2012)

Rating: 3 stars

“I want to be God. I want to cause the sun and the moon to rise. I can’t bear it when I see them rising and I haven’t had anything to do with it. But if I were God, I could make it all happen. I could make them go backwards if I wanted. So go and tell the flounder I want to be God.’’

A volume of retellings of the tales that became famous through the effort of the Grimm brothers. Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rapunzel are here along with more obscure – and more obscure interesting, I’d say- tales of princesses and witches, brave lads, wise animals, foolish kings, devils and spirits. 

Do we need retellings when the original material is so loved and popular? It depends. I am in favour of a writer’s new view on a classic tale as long as the heart of the story remains intact. In this case, Philip Pullman created versions that are gritty and sassy. However, there were issues that significantly diminished my overall impression of this effort.

Pullman’s notes at the end of each tale may be considered “informative” by many readers. Not by me, though. Pullman frequently diminished other writers’ versions or even the origins and the concepts of the stories themselves. I found this rude and unprofessional, to say the least. I mean, you are not exactly Shakespeare yourself, dear writer.

Overall, an average effort and a showcase of a writer’s huge ego…

One Comment

  1. Some things and some books should just be left alone.

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