Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Bearskinner : A Tale of the Brothers Grimm retold by Laura Amy Schlitz

Illustrated by Max Grafe. A dejected young soldier makes a bargain with the devil. He will live seven years encased in a bearskin, during which time he may not clean himself in any way, nor may he pray. However, he will have all the gold he wants. If he fails to fulfill this promise, his soul will belong to the devil. As the years go by, he becomse increasingly disgusting but saves himself by giving his money away and asking the poor people whom he helps to pray for him. Dark brooding illustrations reinforce his sense of hopelessness. Older readers will respond to this story of mainitaining hope when all hope seems lost. The final spread, detailing the happy ending, shines golden. This will make a great discussion starter.
Grades 4-8


bullarc said...
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bullarc said...

I will second this nominee. The illustrations are fittingly dark for a situation that seems almost unbearable. Mature readers will appreciate the soldier's endurance and the ultimate reward that it brings.

There is also an audience among older elementary-schoolers for haunting, tales with creepy-looking charcters.

Karen Gavigan said...

Powerful folk tale that starts out dark and ends happily. The illustrations are appropriately somber and help sustain the "hellish" mood. It would be interesting to include this in a unit of tales by The Brothers Grimm for older elementary and middle school readers.