CM November 17, 1995. Vol. II, Number 5

image Truly Grim Tales.

Priscilla Galloway.
Toronto: Lester, 1995. 144pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN 1-895555-67-1.

Subject Headings:
Fairy tales-Canada.
Children's stories, Canadian.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.


Sard would never consent to let me die to save his life. I could get along without my left arm. But it wouldn't save his life. It would not even help him to live longer unless he can figure out a process that works. Maybe I can do more for him if I keep my arm. If he runs out of meal, I'll need two arms to nurse him.
I think sometimes of what will happen when the bonemeal is gone. In my thoughts, I can get through the illness. Painfully, with horror, but I know what that would be like. I can get to the Death Palace, with the casket closed and our wedding picture on the top. I cannot get past that. I cannot imagine life after Sard.

 Can you figure out which fairy tale this grim story is based on? That's the challenge in each of the Truly Grim Tales. Each story is based on a well-known tale by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, or Charles Perrault. The sanitized, "happily-ever-after" Disney versions that have become standard fare in this part of the century are turned upside down. Galloway takes eight traditional stories and gives them unusual and macabre interpretations.

Truly Grim Tales follows in the path of such books as Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf in retelling fairy tales from a different perspective. But Galloway's retellings fall into the horror genre, and add information to fill in the holes. Why, for example, did the giant grind bones to make his bread? Why was the prince so fascinated with glass slippers? And what happened to Rapunzel's pining mother?

Truly Grim Tales will appeal to students interested in horror, who will enjoy what Galloway has done with traditional tales. Some of the twists and turns are strange and unexpected, and even a little shocking for those unused to this type of story. Although upper elementary students will be able to read this, and may want to for the shock value alone, teachers may want to read each of the stories before agreeing to such a request.

Recommended with reservations.

Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher/librarian.

Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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