Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: a New English Version, by Philip Pullman (Viking Adult, November 12, 2012).
This is the first time I've ever written in a happy spirit about a book I haven't finished, and I feel absolutely no shame at all about not having read to the end! I'm in no rush to hurry up and read it cover to cover--instead, I'm enjoying revisiting all my old friends, reading my favorite stories out loud to my children, and relishing Pullman's fresh and friendly story-telling.
He is an author who isn't afraid to translate "pisspot" (Pißput) as "pisspot," one who isn't afraid to let the players in the stories speak with contractions (though he plays it fairly straight--he doesn't use a specifically local speech, or the repetitive formulae of oral storytelling, as Alan Garner, for instance, does in his retellings). And my children are enjoying the experience very much as well, much more so than the stiffer versions in my own childhood Grimm.
I didn't have enough enough books as a child living overseas, so I was forced to re-read those (relatively) few books I had and that included Grimm. Though I would periodically force myself to read straight through, I had my favorites, of course--The Golden Bird, Jorinda and Joringel, The Goose Girl...stories I knew pretty much by heart.
Reading Pullman's retellings was like coming home to find the walls of my house repainted--fresh and bright and like new again, with the added bonus of some new rooms that I'd never been in before.
This isn't a book specifically for children--there are no illustrations,
no sanitization--though many children will enjoy reading it; instead there is lots of fascinating commentary on the stories. This isn't one to put on the kids' bookshelf, in their room upstairs, but it's one that
I'd shelve happily in the living room library, and not be at all ashamed of adult visitors seeing it there!
Giveaway: To win your own copy of this one, leave a comment (with a way to get a hold of you if you don't have contact info. on your own blog) by next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 11:59pm. (US and Canada)
And the winner is...ILuvReadingTooMuch
(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)