In Grimm Tales for Young and Old , Philip Pullman (author of the young adult His Dark Materials series) presents brisk, clear and vivid versions of his 50 favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm, along with some thoroughly entertaining commentary on the fairy tales’ enduring appeal.
The “conventional” American edition, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version, is quite a brilliant design in its own right, combining classical art with modern typography. (If anyone can enlighten us on the dust jacket designer in the comments section below, we’d be much obliged!)
However, Penguin Hardcover Classics had the top it for the UK counterpart, commissioning this from the brilliant paper artist Cheong-ah Hwang (whose work, by the way, you can purchase on Etsy).
Designer Matthew Young (who has a brilliant portfolio of dust jacket designs under his belt) used Hwang’s work to amazing effect, with lettering that blends in seamlessly with the original art. He also used the same sculptures for an animated video, which you can view below.
Here’s a closer look at the original art from Hwang’s website, PaperNoodle.com:
Her interpretation lines up remarkably well with one of Pullman’s introductory passages:
“The most fitting pictorial representation of fairy-tale characters seems to me to be found not in any of the beautifully illustrated editions of Grimm that have been published over the years, but in the little cardboard cut-out figures that come with the toy theater. They are flat, not round. Only one side of them is visible to the audience but that is the only side we need: the other side is blank. They are depicted in poses of intense activity or passion, so that their part in the drama can be easily read from a distance.”