High production values give this mix of new and recycled translations and illustrations a suitably sumptuous air.
Printed on coated stock and placed within spacious margins, the ruled blocks of text present as refined an appearance as the feathery, atmospherically detached scenes on most facing pages. Like Zwerger’s figures, which are nearly all small on the page and tend to look off into the distance, Bell’s translations are more often lyrical than intimate or earthy: “Once upon a time, when wishes could still come true, there was a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so lovely that the sun itself, although it had seen so much, marveled at her beauty whenever it shone on her face.” “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Bremen Town Musicians” and “Seven Ravens” were previously published in separate, somewhat different, English-language editions. In addition to these, the 11 tales here include “Hans My Hedgehog” and others rarely found outside much larger collections—and one surprise, the story of the Pied Piper, dubbed “The Children of Hamelin” after its German title in the Grimms’ Deutsche Sagen.
A belated companion to Zwerger’s Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1992, 2006), similarly elegant of design and equally fine for reading alone or aloud. (introduction) (Fairy tales. 9-13)