8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review (& Giveaway): Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

Title: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Author: Philip Pullman

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales

Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: November 2012
Hardcover: 400 Pages

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.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone collection

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher

Why did I read this book: Like most people that have had the pleasure of reading Philip Pullman’s work, I am an enormous fan. When we were approached by the publisher about this new book, a collection of Pullman’s 50 favorite fairy tales as collected by the brothers Grimm to commemorate the 200th anniversary of their initial publication, I responded with alacrity. Classic Grimm fairy tales, researched and rewritten by Philip Pullman? COME ON. I was an instant goner.


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm’s collection of folk tales in Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen) in 1812. To commemorate the longevity and significant impact these tales have had on western literature and culture, Philip Pullman has selected 50 tales, researched them intensively, and rewritten them in Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm. These tales span the obvious and readily familiar (Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, and Briar Rose) to the more obscure (The Three Snake Leaves, The Fisherman and his Wife, The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs, The Brave Little Tailor, and Thousandfurs, for example).

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I started Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm – described as Philip Pullman’s retelling of these classic tales, I thought I might get fifty completely reimagined and reinterpreted stories. In reality, Fairy Tales is a collection of loyally simple, straightforward renderings of the brothers Grimm’s collected fables. Each story is rooted in Pullman’s extensive research of the history of the tale and its renditions over time, and each tale is followed by a list of a specification of “Tale Type” (according to the ATU – Antti Aarne, Stith Thompson & Hans-Jorg Uther – in various revisions of The Types of International Folktales), the original source from which the Grimm brothers gathered the tale, and similar variations of folk stories. Most intriguingly, each tale is appended with a note from Pullman himself; an opinionated commentary about the story, any variations he has included, and in some instances, suggested elaborations for how he would have changed the story.

You could say that Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is far more of a thesis on folklore and storytelling – that said, at its heart, it is an earnest, unembellished collection of fairy tales that are wholly effective, nostalgic, and memorable. To me, the most striking thing about this collection is the simplistic, yet oddly beautiful and effective tone. In the introduction to the text, Pullman says that flowery language is all and good, but has no place in a fairy tale, which must move quickly and give just enough information to keep the reader engaged and moving forward from act to act in the tale. That sense of forward momentum is beautifully captured here, but there’s also something to be said for Pullman’s gift for conveying just enough description and imagery in a succinct way. For example, take this passage from Briar Rose to show everyone in the palace falling asleep after the princess pricks her finger on the spindle:

Down in the kitchen the very flames under the roasting ox fell asleep. A drop of fat that was about to fall from the sizzling carcass stayed where it was and didn’t ove. The cook had been about to clout the kitchen boy; her hand fell still six inches from his ear, and his face remained screwed up waiting for the blow. Outside the wind stopped blowing; not a leaf stirred; the very ripples on the lake stayed as they were, as if made of glass.

Absurdity and comedy, but also stillness and beauty.

If that wasn’t enough to sell you on the collection, there’s also the interpretation that Pullman adds to each tale – sometimes perfunctory, but often wonderfully outspoken and witty, never afraid to call out a story for its weaknesses. Case in point, for The Girl with No Hands, Pullman opines (and I agree):

This is a widely dispersed story type. The elements are vivid and gruesome and the outcome satisfying […] However, the tale itself is disgusting. The most repellent aspect is the cowardice of the miller, which goes quite unpunished. The tone of never-shaken piety is nauseating, and the restoration of the poor woman’s hands simply preposterous.

As you can see, larger themes and problems inherent in fairy tales are not ignored, either. In any collection of fairy tales that do not stray from original interpretation, I’m always ever so slightly wary – the women in these tales are virtuous, pious creatures that are valued for their virtue and piety (and heart-stopping beauty); king’s daughters are offered as prizes and traded away on a whim. Pullman’s elaborations following the stories address some of these issues, thankfully (more on that in specifics below).

There’s also the all important nostalgia factor to this collection, too. As a child, I remember reading and loving two distinct collections of fairy tales: Andrew Lang’s assorted color fairy books (our household favorites were Red and Violet), and Collier’s Junior Classics: The Young Folks Shelf of Books. Many of the stories in Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm were ones I read and loved; some were stories I’d long forgotten; some were tales that I’d never read before.

Here are a selection of my favorites of the bunch:

Rapunzel – which is true to the original story, making sure to include the parts where the prince is blinded, and Rapunzel saves him and restores his sight with her tears. Rapunzel has always been one of my favorite fairy tales because it is one where the beautiful maiden saves the prince. In this version, Pullman draws special attention to the importance of pregnancy as a theme (after all, Rapunzel is born to a couple that has long yearned for a child). In this version of the tale, the witch discovers Rapunzel’s dalliances with the prince when Rapunzel innocently remarks that every single one of her dresses no longer fits, i.e. she is pregnant. And, in this afterword, I learned for the first time that Rapunzel’s mother’s craving for the titular lettuce leaf (not radish – I had always heard the wife’s craving was for radishes in the past) is recorded in some versions as parsley, which is a well-known aborticant. Now that’s a twist.

Hansel and Gretel – a quintessential tale that has not changed over the generations is included here, of course. The witch is always burned alive in her oven, even in the sugary sweet children’s picture books, and Pullman makes little to no changes to this text. For nostalgia and creepy factor, Hansel and Gretel ranks high on my list.

The Three Snake Leaves – is a story that I could only recall vaguely, and it is freaking FANTASTIC. A brave man weds a beautiful princess, vowing to be buried alive with her in the event of her death, which, of course, happens while she is still young. The husband finds a way to bring her back to life with three snake leaves…but his darling wife is no longer the same. It’s another odd and unsettling story, but one that is expertly crafted. In the words of Pullman, it is a tale that “falls into two halves, the first half being magic and the second romantic/realistic.”

The Fisherman and his Wife – a lesser known tale, but one of my favorites (thanks to Collier’s Junior Classics). An ambitious wife and her somewhat meeker husband make increasingly exorbitant wishes of an enchanted fish…theirs is a story that begins and ends in a pisspot.

The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs – another lesser known tale but one of the more absurd and entertaining of the bunch. A luck-born child grows into a kind young man, who travels to hell to steal three golden hairs from the devil’s head at the behest of an evil king (don’t worry – the king gets his comeuppance). The most compelling part of this story is that in Pullman’s version, the hero may have been born with good luck, but his ultimate reward is given for his courage.

The Robber Bridegroom – a tale that has familiar variations, but this particular one isn’t one I’ve ever read before. This is a nice shocking story, complete with treachery, cannibals, and one heck of a “gotcha” moment.

The Juniper Tree – Oh, I love this story. It’s one of the longer of the bunch, and it is horrific (a sister thinks she has slapped the head off of her brother! And then the unknowing father eats him up!) and beautiful, with sweet vindication at its close. Plus, it has the rhyme:

My mother cut my head off,
My father swallowed me,
My sister buried all my bones,
Under the juniper tree.
Keewitt! Keewitt! You’ll never find
A prettier bird than me.

Snow White – Ok, not one of my favorites. In fact, one of my least favorite of the bunch (behind The Girl with No Hands). This is the version of Snow White who idiotically falls for the tightly laced dress, the poisoned comb, and then finally the poisoned apple. Good grief, woman. Don’t answer the door.

Thousandfurs – This is a story that begins with terror – a king is bereft after the death of his wife, and he promises her on her deathbed that he will never marry anyone less beautiful than her, or with hair less golden than hers. So who does he start to desire, once she comes of age? Why, his own daughter, of course! The princess manages to escape and finds a new husband in the King of a neighboring kingdom, though she disguises herself in a cloak of grime and furs. While the story itself sort of peters out and ends with the princess finding a new home and husband, Pullman asserts that he thinks the story is unfinished, in his final notes. And let me tell you, his suggested last act for the story is fantastic, with this revelation: “No one can help her but herself.” And, after thwarting her father, she lives happily ever after.

The Goose Girl – Another beloved fairy tale, which I think I must owe to Shannon Hale’s beautiful, loyal, and imaginative novel based on this fable. Pullman remarks that the princess in this story, while kind and meek and beautiful, takes second place to the evil maidservant, whom he believes deserves her own book. Thankfully, Hale’s The Goose Girl stays incredibly true to the source material, and manages to give this magnetic if despicable character her due.

And that, dear readers, is my list. I loved Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and I can think of no better way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Grimm’s first publication. Absolutely recommended, for the fan of fairy tales in all of us.

Notable Quotes/Parts: From “The Fisherman and his Wife”

Once upon a time there were a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a shack that was so filthy it might as well have been a pisspot. Every day the fisherman went out to fish, and he fished and he fished. One day he sat there looking down into the clear water, and he sat, and he sat, and his line went all the way down to the bottom of the sea. And when he pulled it out, there was a great big flounder on the hook.

The flounder said, “Now look, fisherman – what about letting me live, eh? I’m no ordinary flounder. I’m an enchanted prince. What good would it do you to kill me? I wouldn’t taste nice at all. Put me back in the water, there’s a good fellow.”

“Fair enough,” said the fisherman. “Say no more. The word of a talking fish is good enough for me.”

You can download the full bonus fairy tale online HERE.

Additional Thoughts: The book also has a fantastic book trailer (narrated by Philip Pullman himself, wonderfully):

As I mentioned before, the nostalgia factor is very high for these books – and I’m happy to report that as of last night, my mother and younger sister have informed me that the much beloved Collier’s Classics are still on our bookshelf at home! Behold:

I’ve never been so thrilled!

Rating: 8 – Truly Excellent

Reading Next: The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

The Giveaway:

We have ONE copy of Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm up for grabs! The contest is open to addresses in the US and Canada only, and will run until Sunday, November 18 at 12:01am EST. To enter, use the form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy the Book:

(click on the links to purchase)

Ebook available for kindle US, nook, kobo, sony, google & apple

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  • Breana M.
    November 12, 2012 at 12:38 am

    My favorite is Rapunzel—for some reason I find the story really interesting. I mean, Cinderella and Snow White are great, but have been remade so many times that it’s lost its spark for me. Thanks for the giveaway. 😉

  • jenmitch
    November 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

    As a child, my favorite was the twelve dancing princesses. Now maybe I’ll go with Hansel and Gretel. So gruesome! I’m really looking forward to reading this collection — I never read them all as a child (not even close!) and it would be great to do so now as an adult. Thanks for the contest!

  • Cody
    November 12, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I love the Little Red Riddinghood because of the comparison that can be made between the German and the French traditions of the story. The German version is violent and gory, while the French version is almost uncomfortably sexual.

  • Franki
    November 12, 2012 at 1:49 am

    The Six Swans. First of all, her brothers all turn into swans and she has to save them. The familial loyalty and the strength and the romanticism of people turning into birds was just something that really struck a chord with me.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I was exposed either to a movie or a book or a picture book with either stunning visuals or it created a strong picture in my mind or it told the story in a very compelling way which has managed to stick with me.

  • Raina
    November 12, 2012 at 1:52 am

    I just really love Rapunzel. Maybe because of the hair. And the fact that there was a happy ending, and could potentially be written out really well as a fully fleshed novel.

  • Emilia W
    November 12, 2012 at 4:15 am

    My favorite is probably Little Red Riding Hood. I love the subtext in it, especially knowing the history of the fairy tale.

  • Lisa
    November 12, 2012 at 4:20 am

    I would say a toss up of Rumpelstiltskin, H&G, and Red Riding Hood
    because they all are dark, creepy, and have a lesson to be learned.

  • Emma Davies
    November 12, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Fave fairytale I think would be The Swan Princess as she is such a strong female character that is the ultimate hero of the story

  • Estara
    November 12, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Thea, if you want to read an excellent exploration of Allerleirauh (Thousandfurs) – and if you haven’t read it yet – try to find Deerskin by Robin McKinley. It’s appropriately horrific but all about the princess getting over her trauma and finding healing and herself – and just by chance someone who loves her as the person she has made herself to be.

  • KL Pereira
    November 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

    The Juniper Tree has been my favorite tale since the 6th grade, when a student teacher brought in the “real” versions of the Grimms’ brothers tales for our English class. I had never even heard of The Juniper Tree, but it had an enormous impact on me–the murderous and cannibalistic stepmother, the confused father, the incestuous overtones are all so chilling and so sad. It’s truly a horror tale–unlike many of the other tales that have been Disneyfied, it’s impossible to take out the graphic parts of the story–the beheading, the eating of the son, then the killing of the stepmother with the millstone, without completely changing the story. Its beauty is juxtaposed to its harsh graphic nature and it creates a world where even the most abused (and chopped up and eaten) come back to life to seek revenge on their tormenters, but in a calm and almost spiritual way.

    Alissa Nutting wrote a great retelling of this story called, The Brother and The Bird. Do check it out.

  • Michelle
    November 12, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Hard to say, probably Snow White.

  • Anonymous
    November 12, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I have always loved the twelve dancing princesses.

  • Bibliotropic
    November 12, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I think it was Hansel and Gretel that I read a version of once in which Hansel was turned into a stag and hunted down by the king’s men later on in the story. I don’t know if that was the original Grimm tale or if I’m remembering a different story, but I always like that bit.

  • Danielle Nguyen
    November 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

    As you mention, the thing about the original Grimms’ fairy tales is that most of them are incredibly sexist. That being said, they’re stories that transcend time and are easily retold with a less sexist slant. Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood are a couple of my favorites that are told over and over again. I’m curious to see what Philip Pullman will do with them.

  • Karen
    November 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Twelve Dancing Princesses was always my favorite as well. I love having fairy tale collections in the house, I’d love this one as well.

  • Jill
    November 12, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Rapunzel was always my favorite as a kid, even though I was only privy to the less horrifying, Disney-fied version of the tale.

    I am so excited for this book. LOVE Philip Pullman, LOVE fairy tales

  • Vanessa
    November 12, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I have always loved Rapunzel. Sadly, for the ultra-superficial reason of wanting crazy, long, strong hair.

  • Katrina
    November 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

    My favourite has always been The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids. My papa used to read it to me, and the book of Grimms Fairy Tales we owned was full of gruesome little woodcuts. I loved it! The best part was when the mother goat cut open the wolf’s stomach, took out her children, and stuffed him full of rocks.

  • Stacy
    November 12, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Rupenzel for sure. Such a twisted little story.

  • Greg
    November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

    For me it is a toss up between the gruesome Hansel and Grettle and Little red Ridinghood….

  • Greg
    November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

    For me it is a toss up between the gruesome Hansel and Grettle and Little red Ridinghood

  • Greg
    November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

    For me it is a toss up between the gruesome Hansel and Grettle and Little red Ridinghood

  • Greg
    November 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

    For me it is a toss up between the gruesome Hansel and Grettle and Little red Ridinghood.

  • Kaitlin
    November 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I love Grimm’s Snow White. the Queen’s punishment was just so gruesome.

  • CrystalGB
    November 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Cinderella is my favorite.

  • Jennifer K.
    November 12, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I love The Queen Bee. And also Briar Rose. And many many more! But if I could only pick one, it would be The Queen Bee.

  • Maya
    November 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Has to be The Twelve Dancing Princesses, although I’ve begun to appreciate The Goose Girl so much more, thanks to Shannon Hale!

  • Abby
    November 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Wow will definitely put this in my to-read list! 🙂 Thanks for the great reviews 🙂

  • erinf1
    November 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the great giveaway! Man… it’s been a looong time since I’ve read any Grimm Fairy tales…. the only one that I can really remember was Hansel and Gretel 🙂

  • MarieC
    November 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I’ve always loved the Six Swans. The idea of keeping a promise and good overcoming evil appeals to me.

  • Melissa R.
    November 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I have never been a fan of Snow White and Cinderella. But, I do like Rapunzel and am very interested in reading this version of her story. I’m also curious to see exactly what is included in this collection.

  • Linda W
    November 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

    My favorite fairy tale is the twelve dancing princesses.

  • Mallorie
    November 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Juniper Tree has always been one of my favorites – I think mostly because it was one of the first “non-Disney-fied” tales I ever read. I also really like the Bluebeard tale

  • Chenise Jones
    November 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

    My favourite would have to be Hansel and Gretel. It’s just so creepy!

  • Ellie
    November 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

    After reading Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, I would have to say that one is my favorite.

  • Gerd D.
    November 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I love “The fisherman and his wife”, it has in it’s German original a very catchy rhyme.
    Actually I never read the original version of Snow White, she does sound rather TSTL. 😀

  • SueCCCP
    November 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I love Philip Pullman’s writing, so I am excited to read anything that he publishes! Thanks for the chance to win this title 🙂

  • SueCCCP
    November 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    As for my favorite fairy tale, it probably has to be Rumpelstiltskin.

  • Rachel K
    November 12, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I love the Three Snake Leaves. This stories are all fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway. 😀

  • Sheila
    November 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Non-Grimm, I love “The White Cat.”
    Grim, it’s “Little Red Riding Hood.”

  • Andria Buchanan
    November 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I love the brother’s grimm. I think my favorite would have to be hansel and gretel.

  • Amanda Lee
    November 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I think I would have to go with Rapunzel, which was one of my favorites as a child. It’s so twisted, which you could say for all of Grimm’s tales, but I love that Rapunzel saves her love in the end.

  • Victoria
    November 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    My favourite fairy tale is, I think, “Snow White and Rose Red” — I think because that’s one about sisters who love each other and who win through because of their courage and cleverness and kindness.

    I have to say I always giggle a little thinking about Hansel and Gretel because of a daycare centre I used to go by in Calgary, Alberta, that was seriously called “Hansel and Gretel’s” — *not* the story, of all stories, I would name a daycare place after!

    I second “Deerskin,” by Robin McKinley. The beginning is a little weird, very distant (and, of course, the rape scene…); you don’t learn the main character’s name for a surprisingly long time given that it’s narrated in the third person. Also, I am excited you’re reading “The Ordinary Princess” — that’s one of my favourites, one I read when I’m down and need a sweet delightful story to cheer me up.

  • Meghan Shaffer
    November 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    We had those Collier’s books too! I always loved looking at them although I don’t recall my parents ever taking the time to read them to me. Shame on them! I happen to be at my mom’s and I’m off to search through her garage right now 😉

  • Laurie Brown
    November 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    A toss up between Briar Rose and the one with the magic fish. I found that one very amusing as a child!

  • Gabriella
    November 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I think my favorite is Hansel and Gretel 🙂 It’s so classic, but I love the little details that Authors change when they retell it, makes it more folklike and relatable to 🙂

  • Michelle
    November 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I also love Rapunzel because it’s so long and twisted, and because it is about families.

  • Meghan Shaffer
    November 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention my favorite. Probably Cinderella. I freely admit I need exposure to more though 🙂 I just loved Cinderella as a child and it gives me warm fuzzies…but I haven’t read the official Grimm version (assuming there is one!?)

  • Ray Pratt
    November 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Hansel and Gretel, because it scared me deliciously as a young child. After that, probably Rapunzel, because the girl does save the guy.

  • Alice
    November 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I really liked the story The Three Spinners just because I loved the idea that these women found ways around the system. I always laughed at the end. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Spinners

  • Angelique
    November 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    My favorite is “Snow White and Rose Red”

  • Kailana
    November 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I am so glad you liked this so much. I have been rather excited about it and look forward to reading it. 🙂

  • Andrea
    November 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I’m definitely looking forward to this book! I’ve always loved fairy tales, and the variety of interpretations that they inspire. I have a copy of Pullman’s Aladdin, too, which is beautiful, so I was really happy to see that he was doing more fairy tales!

  • Mel@thedailyprophecy
    November 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Oh man, I NEED this book in my life. My shelves won’t be complete without a copy from this book. Such a shame that I live international, but I will buy one soon! I can’t wait to dive into these stories, because fairytales are my favorite thing in the world 🙂 Great review :mrgreen:

  • Andrea
    November 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    My favorite Grimm fairy tales are Rapunzel and Maid Maleen. Especially Maid Maleen! She has brains to go with her beauty.

  • Lexi
    November 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I like The Robber Bridegroom, which I am excited to see included here. I am interested to see which version. The version I like best starts and ends with telling a story.

  • Hannah H
    November 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I love the Six Swan Brothers, though I’m not sure if it’s Grimm or not. The princess ends up saving herself, her children and her brothers. She’s awesome. The ending is also bittersweet, with the implication that enchantments aren’t always over even when they’re broken.

  • Hannah H
    November 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, and Mr. Fox! It’s Bluebeard but so much better.

  • Christina K.
    November 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Rapunzel because she does the rescuing!!

    Thank you so much:)

  • Kelley B
    November 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Briar rose I think. Even the Disney version is scary!

  • elena
    November 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    oh my gosh, I’m so excited for these! as a lover of fairytales and Philip Pullman, it’s a win all around for me. I think my favourite Grimm fairy tale is maybe Snow-White and Rose-Red because I like sisterly tales and it ends nicely.

  • scribe k.
    November 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    hmmm…not sure!!! I love so many

  • Sam
    November 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I second love for the Six Swans fairytale. I always associate it with Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest which is, of course, wonderful. Both of the covers are very striking, and Pullman’s writing never disappoints!

  • Jamie
    November 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I like the Wolf and the Fox best.

  • Miranda
    November 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Little Red Riding Hood has always been a favorite of mine.

  • Alex
    November 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Definitely Rapunzel, although Hansel & Gretel is a close second. What little girl wasnt obsessed with the fact that Rapunzel had hair long and thick enough to throw down from a tower and have people climb up! :mrgreen:

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    November 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I love Rapunzel. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  • JenP
    November 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm


  • Jen B.
    November 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I think I would have to choose Rapunzel. I wan’t read these stories as a kid so I have learned them as an adult. Rapunzel is cool because she has to depend on herself to get out. Let’s face it, prince charming couldn’t have saved her without her hair and her strong neck!

  • Kate & Zena
    November 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I LOVE the Brothers Grimm. I love them. My favorite tale is Briar Rose because, ultimately, I read it after I saw the Disney film as a child. The Disney film is my favorite film of all time, and I loved certain scenes that are not in the film. There’s a scene where Rose wakes up and the castle wakes up; the cook, who had been about to box the errand boy’s ears 100 years earlier, temporarily forgets what he was about to do, and then he remembers and boxes his ears. I find it so funny that just for a minute, he forgets what he was going to do and then he still boxes the poor boy’s ears!

  • NiceOrc
    November 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    One of my favourites is the Juniper Tree – it always gave me the shivers!

  • domestic diva
    November 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    As a kid I always liked the fisherman and his wife. Now I wonder why they weren’t more grateful.

  • Rebecca I.
    November 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I’m going with Briar Rose as well!

  • R. Wheadon
    November 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    This makes me feel like the worst feminist in the world, but I lovelovelove the Six Swans, mostly because of a gorgeously illustrated version I had as a child. Something about the images of the girl, fingers scraped raw, gets me right in the heart.

  • Alexandra the Great
    November 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    If I had to choose, it would probably be Aschenputtel, with the Goose Girl coming in close second. 🙂

  • Jill of The O.W.L.
    November 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I guess I’d pick Rapunzel. The girl was helpless but yet she was needed because of her hair!

  • Shelver506
    November 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I was always fond of the real version of Rapunzel. For some reason, the idea of the blind prince fascinated me.

    (Also, AHHH! Collins’ Classics! I have the entire set on my bookshelf right now!)

  • Christina
    November 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I’m so excited for this. LOVE Philip Pullman. I definitely had my favorites growing up, but Robber Bridegroom’s become one of my new faves.

  • Sharon
    November 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I always liked The Fisherman and His Wife. I guess the enchanted fish that granted wishes appealed to my love of the absurd. It always made me giggle when the fish talked…or perhaps it was imagining all the possible voices.

  • Alena
    November 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I’d probably pick the Twelve Dancing Princesses; it has such a sad ending but it doesn’t outright tell it. Which makes it even worse.

  • Jennifer
    November 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    The one about the three sons and the cat. I can’t remember the name, but the youngest son finds a cat who is really a princess.

    Also, Robin McKinley does an interesting version of Thousandfurs called Deerskin.

  • Justine
    November 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Rapunzel because — OMG! — her hair!

  • Sylvia Sybil
    November 13, 2012 at 12:04 am

    My favorite is probably Red Riding Hood. Not so much for the original tale, although that’s good too, but for all the retellings in which Red is a werewolf and/or wolf hunter. For whatever reason, this tale seems to lend itself well to female-friendly reinterpretations.

  • amy ward
    November 13, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Love the review

  • amy ward
    November 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Love the review, it was amazing

  • Jillian T
    November 13, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Snow White and Rose Red….though in the version my grandmother gave me, they were called Rose Red and Rose White (probably to avoid confusion with that other Snow White). I loved it because it was unique (no Disney movie there), and because it was a book my grandmother shared with me.

  • Kat @ No Page Left Behind
    November 13, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Rapunzel and Snow White are both faves. I can’t wait to read this book to see how these stories are adapted!

  • Jo Michaels
    November 13, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I MUST win! Fairy tales are my favorite thing 🙂 This is a very well written and concise review. WRITE ON!

  • Megan B
    November 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I’ve always been fascinated by Little Red Riding Hood! Probably because I had a beautiful copy of it as a kid that I made my parents read to me multiple times a day.

  • Peggy
    November 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I will always be fond of the Girl who trod on a loaf. I was always a good girl so I loved seeing the not so good get theirs.

  • Meredith G
    November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am


  • Angie
    November 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Rapunzel was my favorite growing up. I was so jealous of her hair.

  • Jacqueline P
    November 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I have to admit to a love of Thousand Furs or in some version Donkeyskin because the princess saves herself and finds a prince who isn’t creepy to boot.

  • Emma
    November 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I think my favorite is The Six Swans or Rapunzel.

  • hapax
    November 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    A lesser known fairy tale — “Felicia and the Pot of Pinks” — has always been my favorite, because even as a child I was snagged by the sheer surreal WTFery.

    BTW, if it hasn’t already been mentioned, you must, must, MUST read DEERSKIN, Robin McKinley’s heartbreaking version of “Donkeyskin”, a “Thousandfur” variant.

  • Stephanie T.
    November 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I have to say my fairytale favorite is Cinderella and mostly because of the Donna Napoli retelling of it 🙂

  • Nicole R
    November 14, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Fairy tales forever <3

  • Nicole R
    November 14, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Oops.. Hit Post too soon.

    ‘Snow-White and Rose-Red’ since I was reminded of my sister and I, and ‘Rapunzel’ for the ending where she heals the Prince’s blindness.

  • Kaethe
    November 14, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I’m fond of the Grimm Cinderella, in which the stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by birds at the wedding.

  • Alexa O
    November 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’m not as familiar with the original Grimm fairytales as I should be, but I would love to see Pullman’s take on them.

  • Superbwg
    November 14, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I love love love love love love love the original fairytales, I love the history and standards of the time period you can glean from them, I love how certain ones are still alive and popular today, I love the bloodier gorier tone a lot of them have, in short I love them!

  • Misty
    November 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The Three Snake Leaves sounds really interesting. I’ve never read it.

    I’ve always loved Hansel and Gretel. So gruesome! There actually is a Disney collection of fairy tales where they take pains to point out that the children shove the witch into a cold oven and then run away. I felt a little bloodthirsty for thinking it ruined the tale.

  • Heidi
    November 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’m so excited for this book! So many of these stories have fallen to the back of my mind, and I barely remember them. My favorite of Grimm’s are probably Little Red Riding Hood–I have a thing for wolves, and find the bit where they cut her out and sew in rocks deliciously disturbing, The Six Swans–in no small part due to Juliet Marillier’s retelling, and The Brave Little Tailor, because who doesn’t love a rags to riches scamp?

  • Serena
    November 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I always loved The Seven Swans story.

  • Maureen
    November 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Hansel and Gretel is a favorite of mine.

  • Brie
    November 15, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Sounds just like a book I would love to read.

    Love Hansel and Gretel.

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  • eliza
    November 16, 2012 at 10:08 am

    oh, this sounds fantastic!

    a couple of notes: deerskin by robin mckinley is a novelized version of thousandfurs, and it is fantastic, and actually addresses your issue with the story.

    also, my absolute favorite fairy tale is east of the sun, west of the moon, because not only does the girl rescue her prince, but she goes on an epic quest to do so! excellent stuff.

  • Erika
    November 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Red Riding Hood because it is just creepy! That story is told many ways but the wolf always scares you.

  • Jacqueline C.
    November 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Definitely Hansel and Gretel. It was a stand-out in my childhood, probably because it is so disturbing and it wasn’t as sanitized as many of the fairy tales that I heard when I was young.

  • In the Hammock
    November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I love hansel and gretel, and i’m not even sure why. it’s so creepy and such a cautionary tale on many levels.

  • Missie
    November 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Hard to say, but since I have a fondness for the strange, neglected fairy tale, I’ll go with Donkeyskin/Thousandfurs. Have you seen the weirdly beautiful musical by Jacques Demy? Robin McKinley also wrote Deerskin, from the same family of tales, and that is one intense book.

  • Jess
    November 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Definitely love the Three Spinners! 😀

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