Book Review: The Bremen Town Musicians

Rating: ★★★★☆

This is another faithfully translated edition of the classic Bremen Town fairy tale.  Lisbeth Zwerger, in her inimitable style, illustrates the old story using images from more contemporary scenes, with the abstract, dreamlike quality that characterizes much of her work.  Anthea Bell’s translation is vivid and clear, and the story moves itself along as the four animals set out on the road together seeking a new destiny, then happen upon a group of robbers in a forest house and devise a way to use the robbers’ own fears against them.  The story contains pathos, drama, humor, and a deeply moral ending as four faithful creatures, having been denied their place after lives of faithful service, find a way to take ill-gotten gains away from those who manifestly do not deserve them.  It’s been loved for over a century, for good reason, and this edition is a good choice to perpetuate it: as the closing line says: “The last man to tell this tale isn’t dead yet.”  It’s best suited for a preschool or elementary audience.

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Publication Information: Zwerger, Lisbeth. Bremen Town Musicians, The. Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm (Original Authors). Bell, Anthea (Translator). Penguin. 2007. ISBN: 0698400429.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on November 19, 2010


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