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Library Happenings – Book offers darker viewpoint than Grimm Brothers presented (April 29, 2015 issue)

We learn about new books to order in a variety of ways. Distributors send us catalogs every month, and we check The New York Times best seller lists and “Best Books of the Month” at Amazon.com. I see author interviews on the Today show, and Connie hears them on National Public Radio. You also let us know when a new book by one of your favorite authors is coming out. Thank you for keeping us informed!
One of the books that I recently discovered through Amazon is Franz Xaver von Schonwerth’s “The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.” It seems that the Brothers Grimm were not the only Germans collecting folktales during the 19th Century. Schonwerth traversed his native Bavaria recording the stories as they were told by the common folk. They are darker and earthier than the fairy tales that we’re used to reading, so they’re more suitable for adults than children, at least most children.
I recall that Wednesday Addams cried when the witch was killed in a Grimm Brothers fairy tale she read on the old “Addams Family” television show. I imagine she would have liked Schonwerth’s tales.
The Story*Book Fair
If you prefer tales that are family-friendly, then make plans to join us on Saturday, May 2, at the Story*Book Fair to hear stories everyone can enjoy. This year the event will take place at the Rotary Club Shelter at Edward’s Island Park in Elizabethton and will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.
Talented storytellers will spin a variety of yarns in a maze of six-foot-tall storybooks. Featured tellers Joseph Sobol, Renee Lyons and Kaitlyn Dahl will appear on the Rotary Club Shelter’s Center Stage.
The goal of the Story*Book Fair is to promote literacy through reading, storytelling and the arts. People of every generation and from every corner of the Tri-Cities area are invited to attend and enjoy.
Several of the children who come to our regular Wednesday story times have entered stories they have written and illustrated in the writing contest that accompanies the event. We are looking forward to learning the results and perhaps hearing them read their creative compositions. We are very proud of all of them!
In Schonwerth’s time and place, folk tales were considered frivolous by most educated individuals. The people who knew the stories could not believe that a government official was genuinely interested in such trivial pursuits.
They suspected he was making fun of them, but fortunately they succumbed to his offers of treats and small gifts. Now we celebrate stories and the men, women and – yes – children who tell them. I am glad we live in a more enlightened time.