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The Bremen Town Musicians Hardcover – March 1, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—A competent translation and soft, minimalist paintings recount this oft-told tale. Many of the framed text pages carry a small portrait of a figure featured in the larger facing scene. This story is built around dialogue among a donkey, cat, dog, and rooster and rises to a bit of action in the two scaring-the-robbers scenes. The illustrations keep the speakers in the foreground with almost no details in the colored backgrounds except for very small, wispy overhead vignettes echoing story elements. These small, almost indistinct figures are vague and dreamy, and the soft forms and gentle tone of the pictures never build the humor usually associated with the plucky "musicians" and the villains. It's a pleasant introduction to the story, but the renditions by Hans Wilhelm (Scholastic, 1992), Janet Stevens (Holiday House, 1992), Ilse Plume (Yearling, 1998), and Paul Galdone (McGraw-Hill, 1968; o.p.) are stronger.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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From Booklist

This version of the familiar story about the animal runaways that join together to form a band has plenty of energy and humor. Bell's spare text, faithful to the tale's traditional plot and oral heritage, lends itself easily to reading or telling aloud. Zwerger's subdued watercolors are as simple as the text, the images infused with a sophisticated naivete that lends them an air of gravitas even as they illustrate the story's slapstick episodes. Nearly all of the spreads have a similar layout: a full-page illustration on the recto and a text box on the verso, with the occasional spot art on the text page to enliven the clean, white space. The palette is primarily cool and crisp; almost every image, however, contains sparks of red and orange that help focus the eye. Comparative folktale collections will welcome this variant for its original visual interpretation of the classic tale. Janice Del Negro
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Minedition; Tra edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698400429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698400429
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I collect children's illustrated books and within that collection
of I have several sub-sets, one of which is the Brothers Grimm "Bremen Town Musicians."
There are two specific reasons for this sub-set. One is that my ancestors come from
the area in Germany near Bremen (I am also going to start the Pied Piper sub-set for
the same reason) and the other is that architecture plays heavily in my decision on
whether to buy a particular book. I love the architecture found in past centuries'
Germany and many of the books on these two particular fairy tales have great examples of it.

When I discovered that Zwerger had illustrated her version of this story,
I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was, quite frankly, very
disappointed. I recognize Zwerger as being one of the world's most
popular and brilliant illustrators of children's books. I own several
books by her. But this one just misses it, particularly in her
offerings of the architecture. There is a windmill that is lovely,
but not Germanic looking at all or even germaine to the story, and then
there is the house of destination that looks like the tool shed sitting
in my own back yard.

The feast of the robbers is done very well, probably the best I have
seen, but beyond that, well, it just doesn't feel like Zwerger at all.

I would have given it 3 stars or possibly even 4 if it weren't Zwerger,
but this book truly was a disappointment to me
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Format: Hardcover
This is another faithfully translated edition of the classic Bremen Town fairy tale. Lisbeth Zwerger, in her inimitable style, illustrates the old story using images from more contemporary scenes, with the abstract, dreamlike quality that characterizes much of her work. Anthea Bell's translation is vivid and clear, and the story moves itself along as the four animals set out on the road together seeking a new destiny, then happen upon a group of robbers in a forest house and devise a way to use the robbers' own fears against them. The story contains pathos, drama, humor, and a deeply moral ending as four faithful creatures, having been denied their place after lives of faithful service, find a way to take ill-gotten gains away from those who manifestly do not deserve them. It's been loved for over a century, for good reason, and this edition is a good choice to perpetuate it: as the closing line says: "The last man to tell this tale isn't dead yet." It's best suited for a preschool or elementary audience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "Town Musicians" of Bremen, was written originally in German by the brothers Grimm; and is here translated by Anthea Bell, with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger.... A story concerning a group of elderly animals who are no longer wanted (!) at their old residences; and consequently decide to leave for Bremen, and become musicians there. But that never actually occurs, as Providence intervenes, and something far more wonderful happens.

Our fable does involve the concept of cruelty, but I suggest in a gentle and oblique fashion, as animals are spoken of, in an allegorical manner. Callosity, severity, and thoughtlessness are in fact something of human existence, and the psyche; and something our children will and must, unfortunately, face in their lives. This book is beautifully illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, and her depiction of the pathos of the parable, and the animals in particular, is excellent! Yet, I do agree with another reviewer here on Amazon, who pointed out that her drawings of architectural objects, and in particular the house, was not as fine as other illustrators. But true; nonetheless, ours is a chidrens' story, and on the more important issues, the animals, Ms. Zwerger scores very highly.

I consequently recommend this beautiful rendition of the Brothers Grimm fable; it is a wonderful way to introduce our young to the reality of the world, morality and justice, and even Providence and Redemption! This parable, far from what some have criticized as being 'too cruel', and 'harsh', actually is quite moral, and elucidates very nicely the compassion, and understanding, we should all have amongst each other.
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