Post by Mark T. Locker.
Philip Pullman is a renowned children’s and young adult author. He is known most notably for the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass. These books have become lore in their own right. Now he brings us a fresh telling of his favorite fifty classic fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. We all know these fairy tales, painstakingly collected from numerous oral sources by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They appear in a number of variations, from the grisly to the shiny Disney versions. Philip Pullman follows the traditional path without whitewashing the stories. But his deft knack with the pen makes these stories a little easier to read. If you’ve read fifty of the Grimm’s tales, you will know that they get pretty weird and the style of writing generally is pretty arcane. Where else will a modern translation still read: “verily, that is the way of the world”? Who says “verily” anymore? I mean, besides me. These new takes are true to the originals but with an easy to follow narrative style.
This summer will be the summer of fairy tales. We have a new bean-covered tepee and a fire pit in the back yard. Every night we will sit in the firelight and read a couple stories. My son is getting the real Cinderella, which is startling in comparison to the cartoon version, as well as off-beat personal favorites such as The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage.
Fairy tales are the perfect length for bedtime reading. The long ones clock in at three to four pages so you can seem super generous by saying, “okay, just one more” two or three times. Happy fireside reading!