Title: The Animals Grimm: A Treasury of Tales
Author: Kevin Crossley-Holland
Illustrator: Susan Varley
Publisher: Andersen Press
Genre: Children’s fiction, Fairy/folk tales
Book format: Hardback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: A captivating collection of favourite Grimm tales, retold by Carnegie award-winning author Kevin Crossley-Holland and gloriously illustrated by internationally renowned Susan Varley. Including The Bremen Town Musicians, in which a band of unwanted animals stumble on a thieves’ den, and The Hedge-king, the tale of how the tiny wren made a bid to be ruler of all the birds.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a lovely collection of traditional tales originally by the Grimm brothers, with interesting stories and all featuring animals. ‘The Animals Grimm: A Treasury of Tales’ is a hardback book between A4 and A5 in size and is filled with glossy thick pages of both easy to read text and some lovely old-fashioned looking illustrations. The hard cover itself has a lovely finish to it that reminds me of old-fashioned books as it doesn’t have a smooth feel but rather looks and feels almost like canvas for painting, like some very old books used to feel.

The Animals Grimm book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

Inside the book is a contents of all eleven stories and each tale has its own introductory picture as well as illustrations throughout the tale. Every one of the stories is originally one told by the Grimm brothers although adapted and traslated to be easier for children to understand. I have always loved these old traditional stories and each one is a folk tale told at some point in history to the Grimm brothers who collected the stories to share them all in one volume. Every tale features several animals from dogs, cats and mice to foxes, wolves and one story even features a lion! Every story has its own moral and some even feel like Aesop’s fables, ‘The Fox and the Cat’ in particular with the foxes “bag of tricks” which he can use to supposedly outwit hounds with.

Some of the stories are more well-known than others and I have to admit to having some recollection of about half of them, but tales like ‘The Cat and Mouse in Partnership’ were new to me (this one in particular having a bit of a sudden ending that might shock kids although there’s a moral to it that may take a few minutes to think of). I also really enjoyed stories like ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ and ‘The Hare and the Hedgehog’ which is the only tale with a moral message added into the text at the end – it’s also quite funny. These tales all are quite short but are very fun and the illustrations definitely make them even more fun to read.

The Animals Grimm book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

The illustrations are lovely and have a slightly old-fashioned feel to them. They remind me of books like Brambly Hedge and I can’t help but love how all the animals look. There are little illustrations on several pages with large whole page illustrations less frequently giving an even more detailed picture of what is happening in the story. There are also some lovely leaf details on the top of each page of text and around the page numbers which just add to the lovely and old-fashioned feel of this book!

This book, or part of it, was originally published under a different title in the 80s but it still feels like a lovely set of short tales you can read at any time. The stories themselves have a timeless feel to them and I like the way that they all have a moral message hidden inside making them fun reading for those older too. With the way the illustrations look and the fact that these are originally Grimm tales, this book really does feel like one of those special books that you may have read as a child (and who knows maybe I did in the 80s!) and then pass on down the generations.

The Animals Grimm book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

I’d definitely recommend this for how lovely it feels, it may not be a modern set of tales and is told in a way that, while easy to read, is defintely reminiscent of old-fashioned stories, but it’s also just a lovely book to share and look at again, and I’m sure many kids will enjoy looking at this and you can talk to them about the messages the stories are telling. It’s also just nice to have knowledge of these Grimm stories, even as adults too!

Do you like fairy and folk tales or stories featuring animals?  What folk tales do you enjoy?  What do you think of these illustrations?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂