book: Three Classic Children’s Stories

Edward Gorey/James Donnelly. Three Classic Children’s Stories. Pomegranate, 2010. 108 pages.

Illustrations by Gorey, text by Donnelly. I can’t figure out where these illustrations originate from, but the copyright page implies that they were published in some form in 1972-1973, while the texts were first published in 2010. (And a lack of information on Donnelly anywhere on the internet leads me to believe that he did not write books with Edward Gorey in the 70s.) It’s a confusing situation, which I find very frustrating. Anyway:

“Little Red Riding Hood” – Definitely the highlight of Gorey’s work in this book, with a full page illustration on alternate pages. The writing is fine but unremarkable, sticking relatively close to the Grimm version but with more character details (which sometimes seems forced). 7/10 (Good).

“Jack the Giant-Killer” – The illustrations for this one are small and relatively sparse. The writing is fine, but the plot is weirdly simple and straight-forward. 5/10 (Indifferent).

“Rumpelstinltskin” – Absolutely delightful. Donnelly finally succeeds at what he’s apparently been trying for the entire book: telling fairy tales with character and wit while sticking to the traditional plot. 8/10 (Great).

average: 7/10, minus 1 for confusion = 6/10 (Okay).

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