This book has been a fairly constant bedside companion for the last couple of months and has served as a helpful reminder that it's a good idea to question my prejudices every now again.
I'm not particularly a Philip Pullman fan, I read the Norther Lights trilogy when it came out along with my youngest sister who was firmly in the intended age bracket at the time. She loved them, I thought they were okay but nothing more than that, and I find his name in something more off putting than not. Still, I'd look at any version of the Grimm tales so I bought this, and now I've read it will happily admit I was wrong to be on the fence about Pullman.
With that in mind I'm writing this whilst willingly eating brussel sprouts for the first time in my life. They've never been a favourite, but I thought I'd give Anja Dunk's take on them (in sour cream with nutmeg and lemon zest) a go. Turns out they're pretty good too (though not as good as Pullman's take on the Grimm's), I'm doing well here.
'Grimm Tales for Young and Old' was the Sunday Times fiction book of the year when it came out back in 2012 so I'm a bit late to the party on this one (even when I bought this copy it sat around unread for a while) but it's now easily my favourite of the 3 versions I have.
It's a selection of fifty tales, and special because I think it would genuinely work for young(ish) and old. It's not as cleaned up as the picture book versions for children are now, or as pared back as the collections aimed at adults tend to be. Pullman adds his own embellishments as every proper story teller should - and this is the thing that I think every successful retelling of a myth or fairy tale should have - they feel as if they're meant to be spoken.
The other thing that makes this collection so good is that every story is followed by its type, source, similar stories from a variety of sources and traditions, and Pullman's own thoughts and notes about what he's done to them. It's the perfect mix of entertainment and scholarship.
It's a book that I bought ought of curiosity to add to a collection, but it's become a favourite that I've turned to again and again this winter when I couldn't settle on anything longer to read, or had a few minutes to fill, wanted to be reminded of favourite childhood stories, and more. It's also gently pushing me towards tackling some more of the collections I've gathered together.