Iron Hans: A Grimms' Fairy Tale

Overview

Matt Tavares’s luminous illustrations and Stephen Mitchell’s wry text transform this classic Grimms’ fairy tale into a splendid edition to treasure.

"Deep in a forsaken wood, a wild man keeps watch over a golden spring."

Iron Hans is nine feet tall and as brown as rust, with hair to his knees. He is cursed, a terror to all, until a young prince finds the courage to befriend him. But when the boy betrays Iron Hans’s trust, he must make his way in the world alone, penniless and ...

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Overview

Matt Tavares’s luminous illustrations and Stephen Mitchell’s wry text transform this classic Grimms’ fairy tale into a splendid edition to treasure.

"Deep in a forsaken wood, a wild man keeps watch over a golden spring."

Iron Hans is nine feet tall and as brown as rust, with hair to his knees. He is cursed, a terror to all, until a young prince finds the courage to befriend him. But when the boy betrays Iron Hans’s trust, he must make his way in the world alone, penniless and unknown — save for a little help from a certain forgiving wild man. Stephen Mitchell’s deft retelling and Matt Tavares’s elegant illustrations gracefully render this timeless Grimms’ tale about pride and humility, wealth and poverty, and the importance of doing good, whether servant or prince, wild man or king.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Spreads of brawny figures and armored knights endow this retelling of a Grimm Brothers' tale with epic dimensions. The story concerns a prince who helps a king win a decisive victory with the magical assistance of Iron Hans, a shock-headed giant. Mitchell (The Nightingale) spins the German original into a tale of inner awakening, conferringon his young prince the insight of a spiritual seeker; the boy recognizes that his adventures are a trial before they even start. "He knew also that part of this new test was learning how to be poor and powerless. He would have to keep his identity hidden and let no one guess that he was a prince." Mitchell's ascetic reading sits a little oddly next to Tavares's ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) strapping figures, as Tavares seems to locate the source of the story's charm in outer strength, not inner search. Clamoring knights, galloping steeds and scenes of palace splendor crowd the pages, which rise in a vertical format as if to stress Iron Hans's nine-foot stature. Iron Hans's mane sticks out like a wire brush, and the prince's hair, turned golden in Iron Hans's magic spring, shines like light. Complex and muscular, this is a good bet for readers who demand lots of action. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
In the fairy tale tradition are the dark forest, huntsmen, the prince, a wild man under a spell, and a poor and powerless gardener's assistant with a secret identity. Once upon a time the king's huntsmen disappeared into a deep pool. The king drained the pool to discover Iron Hans, a wild man whom the king caged. But the young prince is fascinated with the wild man and sets him free. After one misadventure then another, the boy is sentenced to learn what it is like to be poor. Can he be brave and strong enough to win the fair princess? Stephen Mitchell's retelling of a lesser known Grimms' tale promotes the importance of making the right choices, whether you are a servant or a prince, a wild man or a king. Matt Tavares' illustrations keep hold of the darkness of the primeval forest, the strength of armor-clad knights, and the dungeons in old castles. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5 This fairy-tale retelling describes how a clever huntsman captured a nine-foot-tall wild man who had been sitting at the bottom of a forest pool, killing anyone who came near. Placed in a cage at the palace, the wild man convinced the young prince to free him, explaining that he had been put under an evil spell. The prince ran away with the wild man, who gave him the task of watching a golden spring to see that it remained unpolluted. But when the boy leaned over to look at himself, his hair accidentally dipped into the water and turned to gold. Because of his failure, the wild man sent him out into the world to learn what it was like to be poor, telling him to return to the forest and call for "Iron Hans" if he was ever in trouble. In good fairy-tale style, the prince got a job at a nearby palace, saved the kingdom with the help of his friend, and married the princess. In this version of the ponderous tale, Mitchell attempts to add some coherence to the history of the wild man, but even so, it's a convoluted story. The formal book design and the stiff, dark illustrations with their many shades of brown and gray add to the tale's weighty tone. For libraries wishing to have a strong collection of the Grimms' individual tales, this version is adequate if not exciting.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763621605
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2007
  • Series: Grimms' Fairy Tales Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 20.80 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Mitchell is a renowned writer and translator whose award-winning books for young readers include THE WISHING BONE, THE NIGHTINGALE, and THE TINDERBOX.

Matt Tavares is the illustrator of ’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, as well as the author-illustrator of ZACHARY'S BALL, OLIVER'S GAME, and MUDBALL. He lives in Ogunquit, Maine.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Fantastic!

    I can look at this book over and over again!

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