The Singing Bones

SingingBones_247x189_CVR.inddArt Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales

By Shaun Tan, Foreward by Neil Gaiman

What is good about the book: The best parts of the book, aside from the illustrations, were the forward and introduction. Neil Gaiman explains the importance of stories and how they mean different things to all of us. Jack Zipes then gives a brief yet thorough introduction to the history and genius of the Grimm Brothers. Both the forward and introduction were enlightening and fascinating.

The illustrations are pictures of Shaun Tan’s sculptures that he created to accompany different Grimm fairy tales. They are beautiful and thought-provoking. Alongside each illustration is an excerpt from the tale. If the reader is familiar with the Grimm tales, the excerpt is enough to complete the picture. If not, there is a short summary of each of the tales included at the end of the book.

This book would be an excellent tool to introduce fairy tales to an older audience. It could also be useful for an in depth study of the importance of fairy tales, storytelling, and interpretation of art.

Some concerns about this book: Grimm fairy tales are often dark or gruesome, and this book is no exception, including stories and pictures about murder, death, bones, and blood. Some of Tan’s sculptures look like they came straight out of a nightmare; they are beautifully frightening. There is also implied nudity in the picture that accompanies the story of the elves (plate 26).

Review by Stacy Snider, 6th Grade Teacher, Westbrook Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 7-12

The Singing Bones: Art Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales
By Shaun Tan, Foreward by Neil Gaiman
Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
185 pages
Release Date: October 11, 2016 (USA)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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