on 28 January 2009
A gorgeous book. I bought this for a friend's daughter. It arrived and I intended to flick through it quickly. Instead I found myself drawn in. There are twenty stories here (told over 240 pages). Some are the stories everyone knows: Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel & Gretel etc. But there were plenty that were entirely new to me including The Thirteenth Child, Cap-of-Rushes, Three Oranges, The Flower of Love. I knew ten of the twenty. All the ones I've read (about half of them) were enchanting. Some had elements I'd read about before in other stories (a princess who compares her love of her father to salt etc.) but were still new to me. I've read numerous different versions of Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, The Dancing Princess (or The Twelve Princesses) etc. and naturally this book has the authors own take on all the stories. The important elements are all there, there are no radical changes, but the stories are all enchanting, with virtue rewarded, without the disneyfied sacharine sweetness. This is particulary evident in The Little Mermaid. Hans Christian Andersen's original is lovely but deeply sad. Disney completely re-wrote the ending. This stays truer to the original but the ending becomes wistful, bittersweet and triumphant. I loved these stories and will be buying a copy for my daughters. A book to treasure. For those that want to know these things: the book itself is a glossy soft back with quality paper and printing and plenty of delightful illustrations. Would recommend.