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Classic Fairy Tales Hardcover – October 15, 2003

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Classic Fairy Tales + Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose + The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: The Greenwich Workshop Press; First Printing edition (October 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086713089X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867130898
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.7 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 6-Gustafson has selected 10 of the best-known tales to retell and illustrate: "Goldilocks," "Puss in Boots," "Hansel and Gretel," "Snow White," and the like. His luminous paintings-from spot art to full spreads-are carefully composed and rendered. The facial expressions and postures of humans and animals alike are full of life. The language of the retellings is adequate, but not inspired. All in all, this handsome, oversized volume is a good addition to libraries that need to replace or supplement their fairy-tale collections.
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. Gustafson uses 10 familiar folktales as vehicles for more than 70 elaborately detailed paintings that he acknowledges owe much to N.C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, and Normal Rockwell. The tales in the oversize volume are presented in toned down, nonviolent versions; the princess kisses the frog prince rather than throwing him against a wall, for instance, and "Cinderella" ends amicably. "The Three Pigs" is the most altered; as neither of the first two pigs dies, and some of the dialogue is rhymed ("'Ha, ha, old wolf, for a fool you've been taken. That butter churn was full of bacon!'"). The illustrations, ranging from thumb-size vignettes to full-spread scenes, feature nearly photo-realistic figures clad in sumptuous court dress and posed with broadly emotive body language. Gustafson's art doesn't measure up to that of Paul Zelinsky or K. Y. Craft for intensity of feeling, but it does lack Michael Hague's occasionally overwrought sentimentality, and there's plenty to see in the easy-on-the-eyes views. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Scott Gustafson is an artist who attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He originally had ambitions of becoming an animator, but has worked primarily as an illustrator for the past thirty years. He has illustrated a number of children's books including The Night Before Christmas, Peter Pan, and Nutcracker. Other titles include Animal Orchestra, Alphabet Soup, Classic Fairy Tales and Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, published by The Greenwich Workshop Press. Recently he has also tried his hand at writing, and his new book, Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe is his first illustrated novel published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. In addition, he has worked on film projects for DreamWorks and PDI and has created character designs for the animated TV show, Chugginton. His illustrations also appear in limited-edition prints and on collector plates, greeting cards, and gift wrap. Scott has been awarded a Chelsea award by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists for Classic Fairy Tales and an Independent Publisher Book Award for Best Children's Picture Book.

Customer Reviews

This book includes all the fairy tales I grew up on.
Wonderful stories laced with unbelievably beautiful paintings.
Deborah Donnelly
The stories are classic and the illustrations are beautiful!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 75 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Pollack on August 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I totally agree with other reviewers that the illustrations are totally awesome. But the text attempts too hard to stay true to the earliest versions of these tales so as to make it difficult to read out loud to small children. In some cases, things only made sense when we referred back to some of the European language versions from my wife's childhood. I'm not suggesting references to wicked step-mothers trying to have their step-children offed be removed. And maybe the writers are reacting to the overly PC/Disney-sanitized for your protection trend. I am referring more to story flow. Just as much of the magic of the story can be conveyed through sounds and rhythms as much as the illustrations and accuracy. At the end of the day, I would still highly recommend to others: Just make sure you read it to yourself first and transliterate with spirit when reading out loud to eager young ears.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mom in Brookline on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Since I purchased Scott Gustafson's Classic Fairy Tales several weeks ago, my four-year old (going on 4-1/2) daughter and I have been absolutely captivated by his exquisite illustrations. This collection remains the show-stopper each and every evening before bed (and in this case, my interest has been sustained as well). I think my daughter is responding not only to the beauty of the pictures, but to Mr. Gustafson's sensitive and nuanced depiction of emotion in the character's faces. It's this latter aspect of the illustrations that sets them apart, in my opinion.

These versions of the classic fairy tales are well-tailored to her pre-school age, introducing her to the more literary themes of good and evil without becoming too graphic or brutal. The volume includes 10 tales: Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Three Pigs, Snow White, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb, Frog Prince. They include references to death, starvation (eg in Hansel and Gretel), and boiling big bad wolves -- elements that I sanitized in my reading of other versions when she was younger (2-3 years old) but which she now accepts in these renditions without any fear. On the other hand, some of the most gruesome features of the original tales have been eliminated (for example, Snow White's stepmother just drops down dead at the end and doesn't dance to her death in red-hot iron shoes!) I strongly disagree with another reviewer's criticism of stilted language. To the contrary, the vocabulary and syntax are more mature, perhaps a little lyrical like in the classic tales, which I think provides a natural transition to school-age literature.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The artist is not only superlative, the tales are clearly researched back to their origins, making this book wonderful for adults who remember their own fairy tales of youth. The artwork is perfectly entrancing, with detail that keep both young and old spellbound. Destined for greatness in a field glutted with medocrity in both art and story. A Classic for Every Library.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Fees on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Scott Gustafson's artwork a few years back and I absolutely fell in love with his paintings. If anyone has seen his editions of Peter Pan and The Nutcracker, then your eyes have seen some of the most beautiful paintings to grace the pages of storybooks in the past few years. When I discovered that Scott was going to release a book of fairy tales, I could hardly wait. 10 of his original paintings that were featured on various mediums from collector's plates to limited edition prints served as the basis for this collection of stories. When I received the book, I couldn't wait to see the paintings. I soon found myself having a ridiculously large smile, his paintings instantly sparked my imagination. I could barely contain myself. While all of the stories are richly illustrated, my favorites in particular are Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella. This is a book that is beyond compare and is a prized work from a wonderful illustrator. The large format is ideal for little hands as well as being a wonderful coffee table book. Anyone who simply sees the cover of this book, surely must want to take a peek inside. With all of our favorite characters on the cover who wouldn't want to? The stories are also well researched, and although nothing fancy, they are true to the original tales. This book would be a great way to introduce the original versions of the stories to the young. This book is on my list and I Highly Recommend it to absolutely everyone! A+
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alex Sheikman on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book mostly because I am a fan of Scott Gustafson's art work. I was not disappointed. There are illustrations on almost every page with many two page spreads.
The text is pretty standard "fairy tales" stuff, but I feel that the illustrations make it come alive and would excite the imagination of the younger reader. Definitly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By NC on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The illustrations alone were worth the purchase, but what I liked about the book was that the telling for the most part remained true to what I recalled from childhood. This is a refreshing change from so other nursery rhyme or fairy tale compilations which have been "updated" in odd and unnecessary ways.
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