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Fairy Tales and Fables Hardcover – February 5, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
These are the deep, rich, fascinating pictures I loved growing up in the 1970s.
I worried initially that the strange "retro" quality might turn off my 21st-century children, but it seems they are as entranced by these high-quality images as my generation was.
My only qualm would be with the writing quality: I assume the stories are retold by Eve Morel (she's listed as editor), and my initial impression - having read only a few - is that the retellings are a trifle lackluster (eg "vanilla") and humourless.
Particularly with the fables, her writing doesn't exactly shine. She doesn't seem to know what to do with the morals, for one thing. Some modern versions omit them altogether, while the classic approach is simply to state them explicitly at the end. In her Hare and the Tortoise, she adds a fox "referee" to deliver the moral, whereas in the sour grapes fable, she inserts the moral herself indirectly: "sometimes people are just as silly as that fox."
However, the writing also offers a most welcome brevity. The Princess and the Pea, for instance, which is often ridiculously belaboured in some retellings, is delivered in only a few short paragraphs: Prince, princess, pea, morning, married - done! I like it, but some may not.
The truth is, you only get this many stories and fables into such a slender volume by keeping them short and sweet, and overall, I don't mind.
I'll be honest: the stories are there to wind in and out of the gorgeous, compelling illustrations. As we work our way through this book, my children are far too entranced by the images to really bother with the words themselves.
The stories are not very Grimm, so you can read them directly to your young children without editing. They are also of a lovely short size, so that Cinderella takes up two pages, and has many small illustrations. For my 3 year-old, these stories are the perfect length to hold his attention. But my 9 year-old enjoys them, too.