DEAR MILl by Wilhelm Grimm
Kirkus Star


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Apparently the first additional Grimm story to be discovered since publication of the canon in 1812-15, this was a letter, preserved by the family of the child to whom it was sent. The child is addressed in an unusual preface concerning stories as messages from one heart to another--through space or time. The stow itself speaks so directly to the concerns of our time that it seems extraordinary to have it appear now. Compare ""Hansel and Gretel"": the child here is sent into the forest by a loving mother (a single parent) to escape the terrible ravages of war. There, with the help of her guardian angel, she finds her way to a hut, where she stays with a kindly old man--St. Joseph. After three days, she returns to her mother--now an old woman--and after a happy evening, the two sleep. In the morning they are dead: the child has returned to St. Joseph, as he promised. The tale is profoundly rich in both language and symbol; Sendak's complex, allusive illustrations extend the richness. The use of opulent background detail recalls Outside Over There, but the exquisite reproduction on flat paper here gives the paintings more depth and intensity, and some of the scenes recall Sendak's recent experience in designing operas. The overall mood is tender, pensive, reverent, though careful perusal reveals references to the evils of war as well as the glorious blossoms of paradise. Not to be missed.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1988
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux