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to read my dd aged 4.5 the Grimm's Fairy Tales even though some of the stories are so gruesome?

(33 Posts)
Portofino Wed 13-Aug-08 08:29:28

The one we read on the bus this morning involved a vengeful sparrow, a run-over dog and 3 horses killed with an axe!!! Some of the stories are obviously familiar and some are lovely but there's a worrying amount of cruelty to animals and princes. Dd seems remarkably unfazed by the blood fest but I wonder if I'm causing lasting damage in my attempt to replace Dora the Explorer with the Classics.....

nametaken Wed 13-Aug-08 10:47:55

It's fine. The more bloody and gruesome the story, the more the children enjoy it grin

We all got read fairy tales and it didn't damage us did it?

alarkaspree Wed 13-Aug-08 10:51:46

It's the fathers that worry me - letting their evil wives send their children out to starve in the forest or hiding them away or making them live in the attic and work as servants.

Dd loves Hansel and Gretel the best.

feetheart Wed 13-Aug-08 10:52:53

Much better than all the sanitised stuff that's out there now IMO. Children love all the gore!

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Wed 13-Aug-08 10:53:45

We read them though, amd we're ok!

Although my mum did ban my hans christian anderson anthology for a while as I kept crying at the original version of The Little Mermaid. blush

TheArmadillo Wed 13-Aug-08 10:56:23

as long as they like it and aren;t scared what's the prob?

Even Roald Dahl is quite gruesome.

Luverly wuffly bunnies do your head in after about 10 mins.

edam Wed 13-Aug-08 11:01:51

Nametaken's right, gruesomeness seems to be something children actually need (in general, am sure there are some kids who don't enjoy the Grimm tales).

The fact that these stories have survived down the generations and that the same story exists across different cultures is fascinating, and shows that they perform some important role. Perhaps handing down messages about growing up or something.

I did actually read some intellectual stuff about fairy stories as part of my degree but can't remember any of it now - who was it who collected and studied folk tales?

jette Wed 13-Aug-08 11:07:01

Was it Calvino, edam?

Countingthegreyhairs Wed 13-Aug-08 11:19:01

isn't the theory something about it being a way of children encountering death and tragedy and the fact that people aren't always kind to one another in a safe way (ie sitting on your mother's knee in a secure environment and it all turns out happily in the end) before you experience it (or a variation thereof) for real ....or somesuch?

Upwind Wed 13-Aug-08 11:24:51

YANBU - I can't wait to read them to mine!

I remember Hans Christian Anderson's "the red shoes" being the saddest children's story. Poor party girl Karen, condemned to dance for eternity for her selfishness until the executioner took pity on her and chopped off her legs. She got to heaven in the end though

janeite Wed 13-Aug-08 11:45:08

Children seem to enjoy all sorts of things that might seem "scary" or "uncomfortable" (re: the whole horrible parents thing) hence the popularity of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Maurice Sendak etc. Then again, they can get irrationally afraid/freaked out by things that an adult might think were okay for them.

I read "The Red Shoes" aged about six and had nightmares for literally years afterwards (once or twice a year until my late teens at least I should think); however, I took things like "The Juniper Tree" completely in my stride.

However, originally none of these stories were intended for children - they were folk tales enjoyed by adults and their was no concept at all of "Children's Literature".

I guess you just continue to do exactly as you have been doing: ie: being led by your dd, who I am sure will let you know exactly what she thinks of them! And ANYTHING has got to be better than Dora!

Portofino Wed 13-Aug-08 12:22:36

Pheww! Glad I don't need to worry then! I've got to the point where I wanted to read her some "proper" stories and particularly as we have 2 x 40 min bus journeys each day at the mo - it's easy to carry one book and keep her entertained en route.

Found Wind in the Willow too "wordy" for a 4 yo and gave up, but dug out the Brothers Grimm and Andersen. I have ordered the Faraway Tree series and the Wishing Chair as these were my faves. Can't wait to read those again. Any recommendations to build on my collection?

I was thinking that we're quite protected (mostly) from nasty things and death in a way that our ancestors wouldn't have been. So conversely maybe these stories were more scary (to kids and adults) in the past when people did regularly get body parts chopped off etc and people were generally more superstitious (sp?)

janeite Wed 13-Aug-08 12:28:14

Agh - just seen my terrible spelling mistake blush

Other things that might be worth trying when she's a bit older are:

Roald Dahl's "Dirty beasts" and the other one that I can't remember the title of at the mo: the one that turns fairy tales into silly poems

Alice In Wonderland - Helen Oxenbury's illustrations are lovely.

Some of the E. Nesbit ones

Have you read the Winnie The Pooh stories to her? Some of the poems are great too.

Upwind Wed 13-Aug-08 12:51:39

what spelling mistake?

The Hobbit would be another great book - not sure what age it is aimed at though...

Notanexcitingname Wed 13-Aug-08 13:06:18

To buck the trend

Grimm's Fairy tales gave me nightmares for years

Not all fairy tales are like Mother Goose; Grimm's are extremely graphic

Maybe I'm unusual, and you know your child best, but wanted to add my experience

neversaydie Wed 13-Aug-08 15:27:19

Me too. The dogs with eyes as big as saucers still give me the shivers. I went back to a lot of my childhood favourites for DS, but the Grimm fairytales were just too grim!

janeite Wed 13-Aug-08 18:58:15

"The Hobbit" would be good from about aged 8 or 9 I would think; you can also get a graphic novel version which dd read when she was around 7 iirc.

Don't forget Raymond Briggs too - especially The Father Christmas books, for funny, irreverant and slightly subversive stories!

There is also a gorgeously illustrated copy of "The Spider And The Fly" for that same sort of darkly gothic vibe as the Grimms but slightly more child-friendly.

janeite Wed 13-Aug-08 18:59:43

The Spider And The Fly

Portofino Wed 13-Aug-08 21:23:27

OOH - the eyes as big as saucers - I had totally forgotten that one! Anyway, my Enid Blyton books have arrived so tomorrow's bus journey will be a bit cheerier. I noticed the Juniper Tree at the end of the Grimm's book but think i might read that first before I try it on dd! Thanks for suggestions. We're back to Blighty next weekend so i expect i will spend a fortune in Next --M&S-- Waterstones on some decent reading material....

dilemma456 Wed 13-Aug-08 21:33:12

Message withdrawn

Portofino Wed 13-Aug-08 22:21:04

Actually now you come to mention Jack and the Beanstalk - we have a version where the giant doesn't say "Fi Fi Fo Fum I smell the blood of an Englishman" but some watered down PC version - can't remember exactly. But it is sad! In fact i have a quick flick through my new Enid Blyton books and I think at first glance that they have the "treatment" too which is really sad. The Faraway Tree book has new illustrations but the Wishing Chair has the originals which are so lovely to see after 30+ years....

Portofino Thu 14-Aug-08 20:39:35

Ao this morning we settled down to read the Wishing Chair... after 2 pages and the entrance of the wizarsd, dd says " Mum, I'm fed up with this.." shock The Juniper Tree it is then, unless i can find my copy of the Exorcist.....

DontCallMeBaby Thu 14-Aug-08 21:28:39

Heh, we have a HUGE Grimms' fairy tales and that one with the vengeful sparrow is one that I read. I've not read any for a while, I want to read some in advance first, more to see whether the story is excessively weird rather than gruesome. Some are just rather ... what?!

We're on our second run through James and the Giant Peach now, DD has needed some reassuring that DH and I aren't going to be eaten by a rhinoceros.

Edam - Bettelheim?

Portofino Thu 14-Aug-08 21:33:52

I've found them rather strange - there is no obvious moral tale. In fact, people/animals who do nice things are just as likely to end up slaughtered turned to stone....

ElfOnTheTopShelf Thu 14-Aug-08 21:35:28

Which book do you have? I am looking to buy a Grimms fairy / Hans Christian Anderson but not sure which one to get, I flick through them in isome stores and they seem to have been Disneyised

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