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DEFINITELY NOT FOR LITTLE ONES by Rotraut Susanne Berner

DEFINITELY NOT FOR LITTLE ONES

Some Very Grimm Fairy-Tale Comics

By Rotraut Susanne Berner (Author) , Rotraut Susanne Berner (Illustrator) , Shelley Tanaka (Translator)

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88899-957-3
Publisher: Groundwood

Graphic in more ways than one, these eight sketchy cartoon renditions include a view of Rapunzel and her prince in bed, a wicked princess running home bare and spotted from the gory vengeance of “Hans the Hedgehog,” a stepmother and her daughter sitting around a table smoking and drinking while the stepdaughter toils in “Mother Holle” and like modernist touches. Berner depicts figures in an engagingly simple style reminiscent of Marcia Williams’s, but the mostly-dialogue plots are drastically abbreviated (from Rapunzel: “How dare you steal my lettuce!” “Mercy!” “As punishment you will give me your child!” “Yes, okay”) and her compositions, particularly when sequential actions are placed in a single panel, are sometimes hard to follow. There’s value in her truth-in-advertising approach, however, for sophisticated readers already familiar with the originals. Certain details may amuse them, like story-dividing wordless interludes that depict, from behind, a mob-capped figure reading in an armchair as tale by tale, various cute animals gather only to be surprised at the end and a repeated tagline of “And they would still be alive today… if they hadn’t died, that is.” (Graphic folktales. 10-14)