cover image Brave Little Tailor

Brave Little Tailor

Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Jacob W. Grimm, B. Grimm. NorthSouth, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-634-5

Monstrous giants fight to the death and a disagreeable hero wins the throne in this ironic Grimm story, ghoulishly illustrated in hues of fire and brimstone. The ""little tailor"" of the title is not so much a brave underdog as a cocky and devious man, and the pictures, accordingly, are anti-heroic. The adventure begins when the tailor swats seven flies at once, and celebrates by sewing a belt that reads ""Seven at a blow!"" The boastful belt piques the interest of a giant, against whom he wins contests of strength, and then a king, who sets a series of feats with his daughter and half his kingdom as a reward. Goloshapov (The Six Servants) illustrates this violent folktale with sinister images of dead trees and rocky wastelands. His muscular, gnarly-fingered giants resemble Frankensteins, and his palette is gloomy: volcanic red, meteoric yellow and bottle green flare against backgrounds of ebony and dark brown. The book's format is unusually tall, and the artist uses this shape to his advantage by establishing the reader's perspective as low within the artwork, making the story's giants loom menacingly. This nightmarish vision adds a dark allure to an unsympathetic tale. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)