Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world’s best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Pullman retells his fifty favorites, from much-loved stories like ...

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world’s best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Pullman retells his fifty favorites, from much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Three Snake Leaves," "Godfather Death" and "The Girl with No Hands." At  the end of each tale he offers a brief personal commentary, opening a window on the sources of the tales, the various forms they've taken over the centuries and their everlasting appeal.

Suffused with romance and villainy, danger and wit, the Grimms' fairy tales have inspired Pullman's unique creative vision—and his beguiling retellings will draw you back into a world that has long cast a spell on the Western imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Two hundred years ago German folklore collectors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of their Children's and Household Tales, accidentally ensuring themselves of posthumous fame that few other academics could even imagine. Two centuries later, British fantasy author Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) arrives on the scene with marvelous retellings of his fifty favorite Grimm Brothers tales. These evocative new adaptations rejuvenate stories both familiar and unfamiliar. A classic admirably renewed; now in paperback and NOOK Book.

The New York Times Book Review
It's strange to think that Pullman, whose novels often feature ambiguous or flawed characters and a narrative pace that might be described as deliberate or protracted…was drawn to this kind of bat-out-of-hell storytelling. But you know what? He crushes it, as the youth of today are wont to say. Pullman tells each tale in a straightforward manner, hewing closely to the Grimm originals. His translations are perfection…These stories make great bedtime read-alouds for children who can handle a little gore…[Pullman] makes 200-year-old stories feel as fluid and weird and gross and dreamlike as anyone could wish.
—Marjorie Ingall
The New York Times
There is no shortage of Grimm on the market…But Mr. Pullman's Fairy Tales offers something unique: the chance to watch a master storyteller think through these most foundational of tales…Mr. Pullman keeps his touch light, lending the stories a plain-spoken, casual voice and respecting the strange transformations, reversals of fortune and patterns of three that give them their power. He concludes each tale with a brief analytical note—praising or criticizing the story, pulling out a piquant detail, sometimes suggesting improvements. This is shoptalk, essentially—an expert narrator pointing out the storytelling triumphs or missteps of his forebears—and it is fascinating.
—Amanda Katz
Publishers Weekly
Pullman (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ) celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Grimm brothers’ first fairy tale collection in this collection of 50 tales, which draws from all seven original Grimm editions as well as other versions and Pullman’s own imagination. (He opens with a Tuscan proverb by way of Calvino that “the tale is not beautiful if nothing is added to it.”) Favorites like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin” become just slightly bloodier, but all retain their old-fashioned feel. Pullman also resurrects tales of the Devil’s odd bargain with a soldier (“Bearskin”) and a girl who faces an enchanted lion (“The Singing, Springing Lark”). Smooth narration makes every tale accessible while keeping the mystical and lyrical qualities that make fairy tales so beloved. Afterwords provide bibliographic and scholarly information. Readers will enjoy not only returning to European fantasy’s roots but seeing how the tree still blooms. Agent: Jamie Byng, Canongate. (Nov.)
Library Journal
It's been 200 years since the publication of the first volume of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Children's and Household Tales, and we'll be seeing celebrations. Norton is issuing an update of Maria Tatar's The Annotated Brothers Grimm, and now Pullman has jumped in with his own versions of 50 of the immortal tales, from perennials like "Cinderella" to less familiar gems like "Briar-Rose." The dark edginess of Pullman's own work (e.g., "His Dark Materials" trilogy) seems a good match for the Grimm tone of the originals.
Library Journal
Don't take apples from strange old ladies. Beware of witches and wolves in the woods. Courage and goodness will always be rewarded. These lessons, and more, are well known to anyone familiar with the collected folktales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. But familiarity is hardly a drawback here, for in the hands of a master storyteller such as Pullman ("His Dark Materials" trilogy), the Grimms's tales take on a whole new life. At the end of each of the 50 stories included in this edition, released to mark the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the tales, Pullman appends informative notes and commentary and points the reader to comparable tales from other cultures. VERDICT A fresh, sparkling collection of the finest stories from the Brothers Grimm, hand-picked by an author perfectly suited to the task. This volume is a must-have for any lover of fairy tales. [See Prepub Alert, 5/3/12.]—Leigh Wright, Bridgewater, NJ
School Library Journal
Fifty tales are retold in this witty, fast-paced, and entertaining collection. In fairy-tale tradition, Pullman adds his own modern phraseology and an occasional event to the "originals" when he believes it will be an improvement. The conceits of the genre are respected and adhered to but the subtle changes make the stories compelling. It is charming to think of the Brave Little Tailor as "a weapon of mass destruction." This and a few other modernisms enliven the narratives. Pullman effectively makes use of other sources to tell the stories: an Uncle Remus conclusion for the ending of "The Cat and the Mouse Set Up House" and the epigram in "The Robber Bridegroom" from "Mr. Fox," which is similar to Much Ado About Nothing. He attributes and incorporates the original tellers and writers as collected by the Grimms as well as authors of other variants and other folktales. Each selection is referenced by type, source, and similar tale. Mention of the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim and scholars such as Maria Tatar, Jack Zipes, and Marina Warner point to varying interpretations of the stories. The introduction conveys his purpose and presents some history of the Grimms and information about the fairy-tale conventions found in their tales. Others have presented the complete tales (Zipes) and annotated tales (Tatar) and there are countless picture-book adaptations. Pullman's collection is noteworthy for the energetic pace of the stories and the subtle adaptations that make it accessible to modern readers. This is a collection for librarians and teachers to read aloud and to encourage listeners to imagine and retell in their own words.—Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670024971
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/8/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 536,802
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip  Pullman

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) has sold more than fifteen million copies and been has published in more than forty countries. The first volume, The Golden Compass, was made into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Pullman is at work on a companion His Dark Materials novel, The Book of Dust. He lives in Oxford, England.

Good To Know

Interesting facts about Philip Pullman and his books:
  • The Amber Spyglass was the first children's book to be named the Whitbread Book of the Year.

  • Among the other awards Pullman has received are Britain's prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (a sort of Nobel Prize for children's literature) honoring his entire body of work.

  • Pullman enjoys playing the piano. "I'd like to play it well," he quips on his website. "But I can't, so the rest of the family has to put up with my playing it badly."

  • Pullman persuaded his publisher to let him illustrate the first two books of His Dark Materials with small, symbolic pen and ink drawings at the start of each chapter. Although these illustrations were left out of first editions in the U.S., they have been included in later editions. The third book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass does not have illustrations, but chapters begin with quotations from some of Pullman's favorite writers, like John Milton, William Blake, and Emily Dickinson.

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      1. Hometown:
        Oxford, England
      1. Date of Birth:
        October 19, 1946
      2. Place of Birth:
        Norwich, England
      1. Education:
        Exeter College, Oxford University
      2. Website:

    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
    • Posted December 4, 2012

      The stories are the same, but the storyteller is different ¿ thi

      The stories are the same, but the storyteller is different – this is what Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is all about.

      It’s a collection of fifty fairy tales that were extensively researched and put together in one book that’s meant to celebrate over two hundred years of existence of well-loved fairy tales from the brothers Grimm.

      Growing up as an avid reader, I remember having several fairy tale books which I read with much gusto when I was very young. Reading the fairy tales in this book was like getting re-acquainted with a long-lost friend. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic because all the fairy tales that I’ve enjoyed in my childhood were in it.

      I loved reading about the stories I grew up with and compare it with the versions I’ve read in the past. It was also interesting to read other fairy tales that I haven’t had a chance to read when I was young. This book is definitely enchanting and fascinating! It brings out the inner kid in me. 

      The fairy tales themselves were written in simple words that were enough to describe what was happening without being overly descriptive of the whole setting like a novel. This makes it a perfect reading material for children. And since the stories are fairy tales, this book is tailor-made to be the perfect bed-time story book. I also appreciate the notes after each fairy tale because it listed the other versions of the tale, and explained some changes and points.

      Also, what I really liked about this book is that aside from the collection of fairy tales within its pages, the author took time to point out the many differences between a novel and a fairy tale. I think that this was largely for the benefit of the adult readers who might be expecting something different. 

      The author also took time to narrate the story of the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and how they collected each story within the pages of the book. It was interesting to know what led to today’s infamous Grimm collection of tales.

      Would I read this book again? Definitely! It’s like a reminder of my childhood. And I highly recommend it to people who would like a book of bedtime stories for children.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted November 23, 2012

      more from this reviewer

      Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version By Ph

      Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm:
      A New English Version
      By Philip Pullman

      Philip Pullman retells fifty of the beloved Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm.

      There is no way I am going to write a review on each of the fifty stories, as a whole the retellings are amazing. There are many stories people will recognize from Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, and even my favorite The Twelve Dancing Princess, there are even some that may be new for people such as One Eye Two Eyes Three Eyes. What I loved about how the author pulled these all together was he references each story with notes of the differences between some of the retellings as well as notes on his own. This is definitely a timeless classic, some with sinister endings and some with the happily ever afters that we have all come to expect from fairy tales. The compilation is well researched and so well written that you cannot help but fall in love with these stories all over again.
      I was sent a free copy of this book for an honest review.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted November 12, 2013

      more from this reviewer

      Fairy tales are stories most of us grew up with and loved. We've

      Fairy tales are stories most of us grew up with and loved. We've passed them down to our children and grandchildren. Returned to them time and again as bedtime stories and to relive childhood memories. Most of us have seemingly always knew that these stories were originally compiled and published by the German brothers Grimm over 200 years ago. Now prolific author of The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman takes the Grimm tales and retells them for a modern audience on the anniversary of the original publication. 

      This is a book that can be read a story at a time on cold winter night or in it's entirety curled up with a cup of coffee and a few hours to kill. Pullman garners fifty of the most beloved Grimm tales from the old favorites like "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel" to the most obscure and little know tales like "The Little Shroud." Fans of the original will love the concise and simpler pattern with less archaic language and easier prose. It is easier to read and understand but Pullman does not skimp on the details. His retellings do not take away or add to the story overall but brings together the text in a more enjoyable fashion, opening it up to broader literary audience. 

      There are a few things that really set this collection of tales apart from the many other editions that have followed the original Grimm tales. First, is the author himself. Pullman is a well known British author who has astounded audiences with His Dark Materiels series and his quiet and unassuming style is present on every page of this book. From his lengthy introduction which is an enjoyable read in itself, to his commentary on each and every tale he chose to include in his collection. Those tidbits of information after each tale were especially interesting in that Pullman lets the reader in why he chose each story, how he changed it and it's origins. I loved each one and felt like I had a better understanding of each tale after having read them.

      This is just a beautiful collection that any fairy tale fan would love to have. It has a richness and beauty to it that is hard to describe. With the great influx of books and television shows based on fairy tales of late, this is refreshing look of how these tales were meant to be told. I think Pullman has done a wonderful job of reminding readers that magic still exists if you look for it!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 28, 2013

      No free sample

      Was intrested in this book but wanted to look at sample first. The first 25pages are index and intro. What a wast of time.

      0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 8, 2013

      Is it dark?

      Is bruthers grimm dark or what? I wont to get a book but mom says it frome bruthers grimm and some times it dark.

      0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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