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The McElderry Book of Grimms' Fairy Tales Hardcover – October 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 4–An appealing collection of 10 fairy tales, including some of the most familiar, such as Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White. A few selections are less well known, such as Little Mouse and Lazy Cat and The Swans and the Brave Princess. Pirotta writes like a storyteller, with great imagery and description, and the lively stories read aloud beautifully. They are not as severe as those by the Grimms, which makes them suitable for a younger audience. In Snow White, for example, in the original version, the evil queen is forced to put on red-hot iron shoes at Snow White's wedding and dances to her death; here, her heart breaks into a thousand fragments as the mirror breaks. Pirotta also adds evocative descriptions, as in Hansel and Gretel: the forest echoed with the sound of hooting owls and howling wolves, which adds to the overall sense of fear. Clark's dark, twisty branches in the forest enhance the mood of this story. The large typeface, generous use of white space, and overall design make this book one children can read themselves, and the artist's expressive illustrations contribute to the appeal. No sources are listed.–Robin L. Gibson, Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
With pictures by the same artist who illustrated The McElderry Book of Aesop's Fables (2005), Pirotta's retellings of 10 familiar tales has the same striking, accessible format. Large pages, spacious text, plenty of white space, and corner floral motifs provide the perfect backdrop for Clark's familiar, folksy yet contemporary figures. The pictures, from two to seven per story, vary from sidebars to banners to full-page spreads. Children will enjoy the artwork, lit by whimsical details, and Pirotta's down-to-earth language will read well aloud. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The Sleeping Beauty
The Magic Gingerbread House
The Magic Bear and the Handsome Prince
The Golden-Haired Girl in the Tower
Little Mouse and Lazy Cat
The Princess and the Seven Dwarves
The Swans and the Brave Princess
The Naughty Princess and the Frog
The Girl Who Spun Straw into Gold
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The things I liked about this book and which were greatly appreciated by my kindergartner (an ardent fan of fairy tales):
The text size is large enough that it makes it easy for a beginner reader to attempt reading aloud whilst following the words with her fingers.
The illustrations are enchanting, in full color and can be found throughout the book (at times by the sides of the text, as full page spreads, etc).
The vocabulary used is not too flowery and easy enough for a 5-year-old to follow and understand. I think this would suit children ages 5-10.
Final verdict - a beautiful, well-told collection of some of Grimm's most popular fairy tales (only wish there were more).
I do object to the sister who cannot speak getting married off to the prince, but that's a problem with the story, not the book!
First the good:
1) Saviour Pirotta's language is simple and engaging to read aloud
2) The big print makes it easy for my almost Five-Year-Old to follow along as I read, which is helpful for beginning readers
3) Emma Chichester Clark's illustrations are gorgeous
And now the bad: Really bad things happen in fairy tales
Yes, yes, I know. Hardly insightful. There is a reason I looked for a sanitized version of Grimm's tales after all. But when your short story's plot hinges on children getting lost in dark forests, goblins kidnapping babies, fairies cursing infants, stepmothers turning stepchildren into swans, and kings executing princes and hapless young maidens for (let's face it) rather arbitrary reasons, even Sanitized Fairyland turns out to be a rather scary place.
The Almost Five-Year-Old made me skip all the scary bits, and I found myself passing over or changing several more, which makes for a lot of in-flight editing with this book. If I had to do it all over again, I'd hold off on the fairy tales until The Four-Year-Old was at least eight.
Four stars because the book is really very well done, even if my particular child isn't ready for it.
(Longer version of this review available at my blogs: [...].)