***The Brothers Grimm
Two Lives, One Legacy
by Donald Hettinga
Reviewed March 9, 2002.
Clarion Books, 2001. 180 pages.
I’m not sure if a child would enjoy this book, but I found it fascinating.
Is it that I have a short attention span that I’m finding children’s nonfiction
so enjoyable these days? I didn’t touch the stuff when I was a child
myself. My own theory is that the quality of children’s nonfiction
has increased tremendously in the past decade. Indeed, if I compare
today’s books, lavishly illustrated with photographs, with some of our
older library books and their black and white line drawings, I’m not so
surprised that I like them better now.
I didn’t know much about the Brothers Grimm, but we had once taken
a vacation along the “Fairy Tale Road” here in Germany and seen many of
the places mentioned in this book. For much of their lives, they
lived near the castle at Wilhelmshoehe in Kassel, which has one of the
most beautiful castle grounds I have ever seen.
The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, were famous for much more than
their fairy tales. Their range of scholarly works are impressive,
and they even became famous in their lifetimes for their political views.
They lived through a turbulent time in German history, one I didn’t know
much about. So I found this story intriguing.
The book seemed wonderfully well-researched, and was written in a simple
and engaging style. An interesting and informative book. I
own copies of Grimms’ Fairy Tales in German and in English. (I bought
them in German when visiting Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Sababurg on the
Fairy Tale Road.) I’m hoping that this book will motivate me to get
busy reading them again. I will bring new appreciation to them, understanding
that the brothers weren’t trying to create interesting and embellished
tales. They were trying to record the oral traditions of Germany
before they were lost.
Copyright © 2003
Sondra Eklund. All rights
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