Gr. 4-6. In his introduction, Philip gives Perrault his due as a folklorist who told the tales without "literary embroidery" and as a writer whose retellings are characterized by acerbic wit rather than by sentimentality. This volume includes all 11 tales attributed to Perrault, including his dramatic "Little Red Riding Hood," without a huntsman coming to the rescue, "Sleeping Beauty," in which the princess doesn't live happily ever after until she has endured bitter trials, and the bloody tale of "Bluebeard," as well as lighter stories such as "The Fairies," in which a good girl is blessed with jewels falling from her mouth while her bad sister is cursed with toads springing from hers. The illustrations, line drawings with watercolor washes in delicate hues, are well crafted and, in the best sense, pretty. Though they're a bit misleading, since the writing presents the tales "unprettified," the pictures should attract readers. The volume ends with a biography of Perrault, notes on the translation, and a page or two discussing the origin and history of each tale. Carolyn Phelan
From Kirkus Reviews
An intelligent new translation of all 11 stories, true to the original (the three verse tales have, sensibly, been rendered as prose, but the morals are in lively verse) and doubly welcome since the only other edition of merit in print (Dover, 1969, paper only) omits three of the tales. Simborowski is a translator and teacher; Philip, a well-regarded folklorist and critic, adds an introduction and extensive scholarly notes on the stories' predecessors and variants. There's also a fine note on ``Translating Perrault'' (``It is hard to convey in English...the splendid brevity...His distinctive wit and elegance are based in succinctness and economy. Many retellings...replace this asperity with a winsome, sentimental air that is entirely absent from the original...''), as well as a generously long bibliography. Holmes's delicate art--decorative grace-notes that occasionally blossom into full-blown illustrations, comfortably sharing a page with text or extending over a spread--are traditional in style, setting events in a comely time past. It's grand to have the real thing in such fine new dress--an essential reference for folklore collections, in attractive format that's sure to appeal to young readers. (Folklore. 5+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.