Round One of the EYRE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS is nearly over. There have been successes, and there have been failures. There has been joy, and a little bit of frustration (okay, that's been mine). But nearly everyone is finished, and nearly everyone has selected their favorite book.
I'm hoping to get Mary on here to write up her own summary of her reading experiences today, but I'm going to steal her thunder long enough to pump up one of her books (not her choice for Round Two, but it was a close one): The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm edited by Noel Daniel.
Boring, you might say. How is that remotely interesting? I already have a fairy tale collection, you might say, although I would wager that many of you were given that collection by someone who picked up a generic, poorly written, boringly illustrated, fairytale collection in the bargain section of Barnes and Nobles (that is not meant as a personal insult—we have three of these lackluster collections, and my children actually love them, though I cannot STAND them and refuse to read from them aloud until tears are shed and I cave because I cannot take it any longer).
But I can read this book again and again minus the tears:
It has all the classics, of course, plus some of my favorite lesser known tales, like The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats (I LOVE this story and will one day find a way to turn this into a middle grade novel. I swear it. Though perhaps not with goats.) The Fisherman and His Wife (who does not love that story? Greed—I love watching people get their come-uppance for greed), and The Brave Little Tailor (hysterical premise) and my absolute favorite, Snow White and Rose Red.
There are twenty-seven tales in this book, and the illustrations are pulled from absolutely beautiful classic versions of the tales. Really, they are gorgeous. You could just page through this book for hours. The stories are beautifully written too. Listen to this sentence: "The wolf backed off and went to the grocer, where he bought a big lump of chalk and ate it, which made his voice smoother." Don't you love that he went to the grocer to buy a big lump of chalk? Who buys chalk at the grocer nowadays? Who goes to a grocer nowadays? (That is the sort of thing I find very interesting, but I have never in my life seen an episode of Madmen, Dancing with the Stars, or Lost.)
This is what I would call a great traveling book. A Road Trip Book. Take it in the car and read it out loud as you go. I am a tremendous fan of books on tape, and there is a definite limit to how long you can shout through the car so everyone to hear you, but your children will remember if you read out loud to them while you are driving (okay, hopefully someone else is driving and you are sitting in the passenger seat). They will remember the voices you made and the things you thought were funny and the things you thought were sad. And when you have them in the car, they are pinned in their seats. Not going anywhere. It's a beautiful thing.
This is really twenty-seven books in one. The pages are thick, the binding is strong. I would also maybe call this an heirloom book you could pass down through the generations, as these stories were once passed down to entertain children all over the world. Seriously worth the investment!