I had Philip Pullman’s ‘Grimm Tales for young and old’ bought for me as a Christmas present. It’s a book to be savoured rather than devoured (i.e. it’s dark chocolate rather than Dairy Milk) and I rationed myself to two or three tales a night. All the classic Grimm tales are in there such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella. apple original case iphone 7 There were many others I hadn’t heard of, though, such as The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage and The Three Snake Leaves. Some of the tales left me cold and some annoyed me no end. I know you can’t try to rationalise folk tales but why, for example, in The Twelve Brothers would a king who had twelve sons say to his wife, ‘You’re carrying our thirteenth child in your womb. If she turns out to be a girl, then the other twelve must die. I want her to inherit the kingdom and all my wealth.’ What? Why? Why would you do that? To prove he meant it, he even had twelve coffins made, each filled with wood shavings and a feather pillow. Nice dad. Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for old and young. Cover design by Cheong-ah Hwang Cheong-ah is a skilled paper artist. iphone 7 phone cases thin Do click on the link and see the slideshow of her work. Of course the queen does have a girl and of course she’s horrified and tells her youngest son what the king is planning so runs away with his brothers and thus the story begins. But the premise just didn’t feel right. I repeat, why would you kill your sons? Why? What is a joy is Pullman’s spin on the tales. iphone 7 case victoria secret While he remains true to their roots, the way he adds a spark of humour here and a touch of detail there; the clarity of his prose and injection of pace, all point to a writer who not only knows his craft but respects it. At the end of each tale he provides a short history of the origin of the story and the many variants that exist. I enjoyed the explanations as much as the tales; more so, sometimes. The book is hard to define as regards to age banding. Top juniors and upwards, I’d suggest. iphone 6 case pug One or two tales are a bit on the ‘upwards’ side but there’s nothing truly shocking in them so much as grisly (the punishment of choice for the wicked seems to be shoving them in a barrel studded with nails and rolling them down a hill – ouch) but it’s nothing worse than kids would read in Twilight and much better written. By the way, if anyone’s thinking of entering Chris Evans’ Radio 2 500 word story competition, the final story in the book, The Golden Key, is about 250 words and a masterpiece in brevity and storytelling.