Monday, September 14, 2009

It's a Grimm World After All!

"Definitely Not for Little Ones"
By Rotraut Susanne Berner
ISBN No. 978-0-88899-957-3

Finally! A book for any parent who ever wanted to shorten the bedtime stories they read to their child. No ye olde English text to plod through. No long, meandering plotlines. No heavy metaphors to decipher. Yes, for a kid’s book this is one weird piece of work. The drawings are comic-strip kitschy, the stories sometimes so succinct they’re hard to follow, and the pacing breakneck. And while the book is subtitled “some very Grimm fairy-tale comics” there’s not a grim thing in here. Gone are the dire warnings and moral lessons of the old fairy tales (unless you remember them from your own childhood); instead the fairy tales are re-invented into almost a kind of funny limerick. And while I was personally hoping for something along the lines of 2001’s “Strange Stories for Strange Kids” (Spiegelman & Mouly; HarperCollins) the bonus here is that DNFLO isn’t likely to frighten kids or tire out their bedtime story-reading grandparents. They’ll also be grateful they don’t have to answer any questions from the little ones about cannibalism. Short. To the point. Colourful. Welcome to Grimm for the Internet age.