cover image THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS: And Other Animal Tales from Grimm

THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS: And Other Animal Tales from Grimm

Doris Orgel, , illus. by Bert Kitchen. . Roaring Brook/Porter, $18.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-010-5

The creators of The Lion and the Mouse deliver another handsomely illustrated collection, this time upbeat tales from the Brothers Grimm. Orgel, whose first language was German, stays faithful to the animal stories while adding fresh touches to her translations of the half dozen selections. For instance, the hedgehog wife comes up with a strategy to outwit the hare, rather than her husband, in "The Hare and the Hedgehog"; and the Bremen Town Musicians call each other by humorous names, such as "Whisker-Washer" for the cat and "Rabbit-Grabber" for the hound (Orgel explains her contributions in a brief endnote for each tale). A couple of lesser-known stories, such as "When the Birds and the Beasts Went to War" and "The Fox and the Geese," also make their way into this compilation. She often ends the tale with commentary or personal insights: "In the Grimm Brothers' time this tale was told as a warning to kids (the human kind) not to let strangers in," Orgel explains at the end of "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids." Kitchen's attractive paintings, in full-page renderings and spot illustrations, feature realistic animals in muted browns and grays against rural landscapes. He does not endow them with human qualities but rather allows their true animal natures to shine through in his meticulous portraits. Each whisker and feather seems tactile enough to touch. Soft cream or blue borders frame the text, set cleanly and spaciously on the page. A brief biography of the Grimms rounds out what will soon become a family favorite. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)