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IRON HANS by The Brothers Grimm


by The Brothers Grimm & adapted by Stephen Mitchell & illustrated by Matt Tavares

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2160-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Tavares’s tidy, literal, clean-lined illustrations give this retelling of a particularly surreal Brothers Grimm tale some welcome grounding in reality. Mitchell leaves the original’s hard-to-summarize plot largely intact. That one features, among other elements, a nine-foot-tall wild man with vast wealth and magical abilities, a runaway prince trying to hide the fact that his hair has turned to gold, a war, two kings, three golden apples and a bold but compliant princess. But he has fleshed out the characters and the final happy scene a bit. Eric Kimmel’s edition (1994), illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, and Marianna Mayer’s (1999), illustrated by Winslow Pels, both titled Iron John, are more coherent but necessarily freer renditions; this one makes some concessions to modern young readers, but is closer to the older tale, and so to its oral progenitor. An intriguing alternative to the other two. (Picture book/folktale. 8-10)