[Monday Reading] Of Rackham’s Fairy Tales and Blackwell’s Book Art

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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

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Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the January-March linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list.

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.

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I am going old-school today as I share with you beloved tales that most of us have grown up with. The first one is a classic originally published in 1909 with fantastical Arthur Rackham artwork and the other one is quite recent with fascinating and riveting book art by the brilliant Su Blackwell.

IMG_0924Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Illustrated by: Arthur Rackham
Published by: A Peter Glassman Book, SeaStar books; Illustrations copyright 1909, Afterword Copyright 2001 by Peter Glassman.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Among all the golden age illustrators, I have always had a special leaning towards Arthur Rackham. I find Edmund Dulac too pretty, Kate Greenaway too picture-perfect. I gravitate towards Kay Nielsen’s lines and Rackham who was touched with darkness as you can see in some of the artwork I would be sharing here.

The Thirteenth Fairy in which fairytale?

The Thirteenth Fairy in which fairytale?

There are twenty-two stories in this collection from Rapunzel to Red Riding Hood

IMG_0925to the Frog Prince

IMG_0933and Rumpelstiltskin.

IMG_0934I am glad to be reading the original Grimm tales since this is how I learned that Cinderella was originally called Ashenputtel:

IMG_0937and that Snow White was originally called Snowdrop.

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The stories do not normally end with a magical Kiss from a Prince. The curse is usually ended through happenstance or strange accidents or gruesome sacrifices such as the little girl cutting off her finger in The Seven Ravens or a haughty princess getting her comeuppance in King Thrushbeard (formerly unknown to me).

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From King Thrushbeard

While it seemed odd that there were black and white illustrations amidst the coloured artwork by Rackham, Peter Glassman proided a richly-detailed historical background that could be found in the Afterword. It also contains a brief description of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and Arthur Rackham’s fascination with their collection of tales. These are a few more of my favourite artworks from Rackham.

From Hansel and Gretel

From Hansel and Gretel

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The illustration above is from Jorinda and Joringel, also a new-to-me-fairy tale. While I was not as riveted by the narrative in this collection compared to Stories from Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham’s gorgeous artwork more than made up for it.

The Fairy-Tale Princess: Seven Classic Stories from the IMG_1107Enchanted Forest

Artwork by: Su Blackwell Retellings By: Wendy Jones Photographs by: Tim Clinch
Published by: Thames & Hudson, 2012.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

This book made me gasp aloud. This is the first time that I’ve learned of Su Blackwell’s book art and I am absolutely riveted. There are seven stories in this collection as the title says. While the tales themselves are not unknown to most readers: Cinderella,

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The Frog Prince,

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Snow White,

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Rapunzel,

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The Twelve Dancing Princesses,

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what makes this a fascinating read is Blackwell’s detailed artistry. I spent hours just poring over the design, marveling at the craftsmanship, and even reading some of the markings found in the artwork. Nothing is accidental. I read through some of the discernible phrases and snippets of sentences found in the artwork, and they are connected to the stories or some other fairy tale found in the collection.

See how amazingly detailed it is.

See how amazingly detailed it is.

I would have loved an Artist’s Note at the end of the book that would give the reader an idea of how these book sculptures were created and how long it took Blackwell to complete them. Since I was looking closely at the book, I discovered a spelling error (an eye sore to a teacher like myself), but other than that, this book is simply exquisite, and shows Blackwell’s exacting eye, deft fingers and creative vision. Truly a marvel.

Currently Reading…

I am now reading …

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Haven’t started this one yet, but looking forward to reading it: The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen.

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I am reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for my two book clubs: GatheringReaders (with my 9-14 year old participants) and Saturday Night Out for Book Geeks (or SNOB-Geeks – with young at heart adults). February is Book Thief Month.

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During our last book club session with SNOB-Geeks, this particular graphic novel series was mentioned. Thankfully, all four volumes are found in our library. This is the second book in the Unwritten saga: The Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. Enjoying it so far.

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Reading Challenge Update: 18 and 19 of 25

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21 Comments on [Monday Reading] Of Rackham’s Fairy Tales and Blackwell’s Book Art

  1. Cool! :D The artwork is amazing!

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  2. I would love to have copies of both fairy tale collection!

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  3. I am very fascinated with paper book sculptures. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn how to do them! Have a great reading week!

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  4. I still remember how absorbed I was with Grimm’s fairy tales when I was in middle school. In fact, I recognized the Little Red Riding Hood illustration because it had such an impact on me at the time I first read it.

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  5. I am CERTAIN I had this edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales when I was younger! I LOVE Arthur Rackhman illustrations and I remember being so intrigued with the pictures in the book, although some frightened me a little. So THANK YOU for this trip down memory lane! Jennifer Nielsen’s series is fantastic. My son loved them both and they are books that are always being borrowed from the school library. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

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  6. Those book sculptures are gorgeous! Wow! Love how the story comes to life… thanks for sharing. Enjoy The Shadow Throne, loved it myself. :)

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  7. HI Myra, I can’t believe the Fairy Tale Princess artwork is actually in a book one can possess… I had to reread your post because I was certain you had seen it in an art museum. I’m off to find it! Thanks for the wonderful post about fairy tales. I treasured my Grimms fairytale book with the gold embossing on the cover, and the truly grim tales within it (the originals).

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  8. You did awesome reading. Here is to more reading for you….

    Here is my post.

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  9. Wow – the Su Blackwell art is amazing! I love the picture of all the books on the floor!

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  10. My goodness..Su Blackwell’s illustrations are incredible! And thank you for going “old school” sharing the Grimm’s book, Myra – that’s what I grew up with. The artwork always had more power over me than the stories themselves…they would make me shiver and shake – and think!

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  11. Both books have amazing illustrations, Myra. Don’t you love the creepiness of that Hansel & Gretel one by Rackham. Wow! Thanks for sharing the other one too-have bookmarked it. Some of the teachers of older students have done book art with their class-they’d love to see Blackwell’s art!

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  12. I havent heard of any of these but i am glad you had an amazing read. I hope you enjoy your books this week!

    Check out what we are reading this week.

    Leydy @OUaT & RCE

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  13. Wow, that Su Blackwell title is gorgeous! Must get my hands on that. I think my son would love it too. I am determined to read The Book Thief this year. I have started & abandoned it multiple times. I know my library has the audiobook, so perhaps I will try that. It’s on my YA Shelf of Shame! (along with many other books…) Eventually I plan to continue with Nielsen’s series as well. Runaway King is sitting on my TBR stack. Enjoy your week of reading!

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  14. Myra – I loved the illustrations in the old Grimm’s tales and yes they are dark. I also really love the art done by Blackwell. What fun to look at those together. Wish I was doing a fairy tale unit with kids soon. These would be great to begin the unit.

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  15. Oh my gosh, I am in love with the artwork in Fairy Tale Princesses! I’ve got to get that book. I can see my students just riveted by them…and I can picture me pushing them out of the way to get a closer look myself!

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  16. Su Blackwell’s art for The Fair Tale Princesses is stunning! The Book Thief is one of my all time favorites. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  17. I loved, loved The Book Thief! Read it on vacation this year and was transported. So sad and challenging. But so good. I also love that you are continuing to read The False Prince series! The Fairy Tale Princess Sigh. Swoon. Wow.

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  18. I am impressed with the beautiful art of both the classic and new fairytale books. I love the old tales. I really need to read the Book Thief. I have it on hold at the library. Hopefully it will come in soon!

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  19. The Fairytale Princess looks amazing – I will have to try and find a copy. I really love the illustrations. Also I loved False Prince and Runaway King, I can’t wait for the third installment coming this month!

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  20. Finally in a spot with wifi (still no power at my house) so I can stop by your blog. You always share such amazing stories! I loved Runaway King – interested to hear what you think. I love fairy tales too. Everyone tells me I need to read Book Thief. Perhaps if I get through my Must Read list quickly I can add it to the end :)

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