cover image The Twelve Dancing Princesses

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm. Dial Books, $14.95 (99pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0237-0

These are rich, graphic versions of 14 famous fairy tales, replete with beheadings, doves that peck out the eyes of the wicked, stepsisters who cut off parts of their feet to fit Cinderella's wayward slipper, kings who fall in love with their daughters and fatal punishments. The beautiful queen who gives Snow White the poisoned apple faces her worst moment when ""Red-hot iron shoes were put on her feet and she was made to dance until she fell down dead.'' These robust tellings make other collections pale in comparison, yet the gorier scenes are perfectly in context with the other mythical occurrences. Postma's velvety color paintings provide eerie interpretations of some stories (Hansel and Gretel fleeing through the woods) and comic portraits of others (One-Eye and Three-Eyes chasing golden apples in a tree). For a look at the real Grimm, this is a wonderful beginning. (All ages)