Mother Holly: A Retelling from the Brothers Grimm Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-12-23 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 5 user ratings

" I have newer enough from this story I can read it again again and again... " said.

" What an odd story but it does have a good lesson for life that if you work hard then you shall be rewarded and that you don't get something for nothing. I enjoyed the story and would read it again along with the other Grimm stories. " said.

"Mother Holly is a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. At least in this retailing the story is not as dark and grim as some of the other Grimm fairy tales. It's about 2 sisters and how one is kind and hardworking and the other is not kind and does not like working. It's a story about change and forgiveness. I like this one more than some other fairy tales because it teaches how when we make mistakes we can change. We are not stuck in our ways but we need to fix our mistakes. The lazy sister learns to work and to be kind. I think it's a good example to children. I would read this story to my children. I would recommend it for children as young as 5 or 6." said.

" Liked the story, but didn't love the illustrations. " said.

" Though the illustrations charmed me at first, the characters were flat, predictable and uninspiring. The altered ending from the Grimms' original tellings to drive home his moral of the story was too obvious and forced. The whitewashing, golden-blonde cloning of the two sisters in the "happy" ending was gross to me. " said.

"I enjoyed the detailed artwork in this edition and was glad to read a Grimm Brothers story I was unfamiliar with. In the preface of the book, the author explains that she wanted to create her own modern retelling of the story so it would be more relate-able to her modern readers. However, I found nothing particularly fresh or interesting about her version, and in fact, I would have preferred the original Grimm version or I could have done without the over-explained preface that was not really needed in my opinion. I can only speculate that perhaps the original is more brutal or does not have the moral ending that this version does, but since the author does not really specify what was changed from the original, I can only guess. Enjoyable, but I will seek out the original version if I can find it. This version is suitable for young children." said.

"I just discovered this one at the library, while hunting for books for my children. I never read this tale by the Grimm Brothers before, but found it so refreshing - yes, there is the mean stepmother and stepsister, and the lovely, hard-working girl who is much put-upon, but in this tale not only is the good girl rewarded and the bad girl punished, the bad girl (and her mother) realize the error of their ways and have a chance to make things right with the help of the good girl. You don't always have to be lazy and spiteful! People can change! If you behave badly you don't have to be punished for all eternity! Some nice real-life essons in this tale, and added to that, this edition has some really gorgeous illustrations. My 5-year-old daughter loved it - and so did I." said.

"The author begins, oddly, with a note praising previous adapters for not making significant changes to their versions -- and then proceeds to announce changes! If I read the original (probably did) as a child I don't remember the details so I'm not sure what the changes were.

The base plot is a pretty standard good-and-pretty-daughter vs spoiled-lazy-daughter. The mean stepmother makes the good daughter do all the work, taking every opportunity to punish her. When the daughter tries to wash her spindle in the well (dummy) and drops it (klutz) she can't think of any way to get it back except to jump in after it (not a problem solver, this one). She finds herself in an odd and beautiful land where everything talks and eventually comes to the home of frightening but fair Mother Holly, who puts her to work. She does well and eventually is sent home with a reward of gold. Her stepmother, wanting more money for her own daughter, makes the useless girl go down the well. She is rude and does all her chores poorly, so she is sent home with thorns all over her body and everyone in town ostracizes her and her mother. In a less standard plot development, the nice sister is sorry for her and takes her back to the magical country, where she teaches her how to clean and garden properly, and as she works the thorns fall out. The stepsister and stepmother try not to backslide because they don't want more misfortune.

It isn't mentioned in this book, but some commentaries on this legend associate Mother Holly with Freya, who is associated with both hollies and cats (many cats are shown in the illustrations of Mother Holly's home). I'm not sure where her huge, fierce teeth come from, but it was nice to see an unattractive character who wasn't evil.

The illustrations are excellent. There is a huge amount of detail which I think would help hold the attention of younger kids throughout the text. I imagine kids would especially like searching for all the kittens and other baby animals scattered about.
" said.

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