Leatherbound Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of the Barnes & Noble exclusive leatherbound “Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales” for several months, but the book has always been sold out.  In fact, when my fiance tried to order it for me, we were later contacted and told that the order was canceled because the book would not be restocked in the foreseeable future.  Today, however, I received this beautiful tome as an early birthday gift.

As you can see, the book itself is gorgeous.  The craftsmanship of it is fantastic; each page is decorated with gold edges.  It contains more than 100 stories and many beautiful, full color illustrations, plus a great and informative introduction by none other than Jane Yolen, a frequent reteller of fairy tales.  I’ve only had it for a few hours, but I would already recommend it to any lover of fairy tales.

To my delight, Yolen touches on the continuously evolving nature of fairy tales in her introduction.  Yolen explains that, although the Brothers Grimm collected these old stories and sometimes penned them in a more grisly fashion than today’s versions might suggest, even they softened the original tales for their perceived audiences, removing the most erotic scenes to avoid offense.  Once they realized the tales were being read to children rather than studied for their academic value, they began to make their stories altogether tamer.  While some of the tales recorded by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm may seem dark in comparison to the Disney versions of more recent years, it is fascinating to remember that even older, more sinister tellings are at the root of the oral fairy tale tradition.

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