The Singing Bones

The Singing Bones

Inspired by Grimms' Fairy Tales

Book - 2016 | First American edition
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Selection and adaptation of seventy-five Grimm's fairy tales, as translated by Jack Zipes, and newly illustrated by Shaun Tan.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.,, 2016
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780545946124
Branch Call Number: TEEN 398.2 TAN 2016
Characteristics: 185 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm


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JCLHebahA Feb 28, 2019

Stunning and unsettling sculptural art accompanies excerpts of Grimm's fairy tales in this collection. I'll be seeking out more of Shaun Tan's work after reading this.

JCLMeghanF Feb 20, 2019

Tan's sculptures bring the Grimm's fairy tales to life in a way that feels at once ancient and vibrantly new. If you love art and folklore, you will want to lose yourself in the pages of this remarkable collection.

JCLHopeH Feb 06, 2017

Shaun Tan has a knack for capturing the essence of a fairy tale with such an ancient-but-fresh spirit that you can't help but let your mind re-imagine these centuries old stories. No matter which page I landed on, each excerpt and accompanying sculpture drew me in and left me wanting more!

JCLChrisK Jan 05, 2017

"The stories that the Grimms collected were no more the real tales than a joke in a joke book is the same joke that would be told, with asides and details and interjections, by a raconteur to a willing audience in a town tavern. They are plans, schematics, reminders," writes Neil Gaiman in his introduction to The Singing Bones. The stories are meant to be personalized in the telling, made to fit the teller, audience, and context. They are open to interpretation.

In this book, Shaun Tan has made the Grimm stories his own as a visual artist. He has turned them into images. Each tale gets one image, a photograph of a sculpture that evokes the essence of that tale. They are captivating and beautiful and haunting. The sculptures themselves are marvelous, and the careful, dramatic lighting and matching backgrounds give them life. Each is paired with a key passage from the described Grimm story--the more original, adult versions than many are familiar with--and can be given further context with a quick reference to the paragraph-long summary of each tale in the annotated index. It's a truly beautiful book.

Samples of the artwork can be found at

ArapahoeLesley Dec 01, 2016

Lovely and unique little sculptures accompanied by equally little Grimm's fairy tale quotes which provided the inspiration for the aforementioned wee sculptures. Very nice.

Nov 24, 2016

Catch a glimpse into many of the Brother Grimm's fairytales, accompanied by the beautiful and often unsettling sculptures of Shaun Tan.

Oct 14, 2016

Did you know that the Brother's Grimm didn't become popular until illustrations were added to their stories?

This wonderful book provides brief poetic glimpses of 70+ tales that you know but probably forgot about (7 with one blow!) along with amazing clay sculptural art, one for each description. The art and the memories the brief poetic descriptions call back work wonderfully together.

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Aug 21, 2017

violet_chicken_351 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 10


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