THE BEARSKINNER by The Brothers Grimm
Kirkus Star

THE BEARSKINNER

A Tale of the Brothers Grimm
by , adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

The devil makes a bad bargain in this rich retelling from the collections of the Grimms. A soldier on his way home from war makes a deal: For seven years he will wear a rotting bearskin and go without bathing or cutting his hair; in return, his pockets will always be full of gold. If he can make it through the seven years without telling anyone of the bargain, praying to God or killing himself, he can keep his soul. It’s a predictably hard seven years, but he finds unexpected love and grace through good works and prevails in a deeply satisfying ending. Although this tale is not completely unknown, it’s certainly less familiar than others of the Grimms—and what a contribution this is. Schlitz’s masterful storytelling voice makes the lengthy text a joy to read aloud, while Grafe’s dark, mixed-media illustrations emphasize the difficulty of the soldier’s task, the nattily dressed devil contrasting with the skin-clad soldier. It’s an unabashedly old-fashioned retelling, making few concessions to modern sensibilities; as such, it carries a power rarely found in fairy-tale retellings. (Picture book/fairy tale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2730-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2007




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