Monday, 18 October 2010

Brother Grimm Fairy Stories Review

Brothers Grimm Fairy Stories
Kindle Version
I admit I only downloaded this from the kindle store as it was free and I was experimenting when I first got my new kindle. However, having thought about fairy stories a lot recently (see my themed wish list), I thought I read some of the original stories to see how they diver from the more famous versions that Disney publicises. It’s a bit of a surprise to find out how many of these stories there actually are – most of which aren’t famous – The Goose Girl, Brother and Sister and others. There is a theme of poor becoming kings and queens, stepmothers jealous of their stepdaughters and being nice and polite to strangers in the land saves you from the horrible curses they place on haughty and stuck up people. I was fascinated to see how different some of the famous stories are from their origins – Cinderella for example went to the palace for three nights running and her dress wasn’t supplied by a fairy godmother but rather a robin in a tree. Her ugly sisters tried to trick the prince into marry them by cutting off their toes to fit in the slipper – only the blood gave them away. While not graphic, evil people tend to have their comeuppance and end up dead or never heard from again.
I enjoyed reading the Brothers Grimm version of these stories, especially seeing the differences between the plots ‘we all know’ and the version that everyone knew 500 years ago. The differences and changes show that these stories aren’t set in stone but flexible and continual evolving.
Recommended for those young at heart and as an antidote to the Disney happy ever afters. 8 out of 10.


  1. I enjoyed Snow White, the one with the fisherman and the fish that granted wishes and the guy who was given a lump of silver. Very telling.

  2. I love this book! I have a nice old edition of it on my bookshelf, and I love looking through it.

    The best thing about e-readers is the free classics you can get. Have you discovered Project Gutenberg yet?

  3. FYI, as I discovered when I read and reviewed this collection just last week, there are MANY stories missing from the "Grimm's Fairy Stories" Kindle collection. Go to Project Gutenburg and search for "Grimm's Fairy Tales" for a fuller selection. I also recommend one or more of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books; he was a prolific fairy tale collector, whose volumes include some Grimm, selections from Perrault (who predates Grimm) and other stories from a few different cultures.

    Cinderella is a really interesting one, if you're interested in fairy tale history (as, I'm sure it's clear, I am). Back in the 1890's, a scholar wrote an entire book on the many variations on the story, found throughout the world.

  4. Lindsay+Sam - thanks for the information. I didn't realise that many were missing! I'll check out another Fairy tale book for comparison as there is something fascinating about them - ta! :)