Review: The Singing Bones

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The Singing Bones
The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent companion piece to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The quality of the hardback is excellent, and Tan’s sculptures are exquisite. My only criticism, and the only reason I can’t give the book 5 stars on its own merit is the format. To draw focus to the artist, the tales were distilled into single paragraphs on the facing pages of each photograph. While well-intentioned, there is just no way to take stories as wonderfully simple and flowing as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, or Rapunzel and compress them to a few sentences. I know the concept was not to be an illustrated Grimm’s Tales, and I don’t know how best they should have juxtaposed the two, but it was simply stilted. The sculptures are plucked right from the mythological core of each tale and they are staged beautifully. I cannot compliment them enough (and certainly not with mere words). But they belong alongside the full tales or in a book on their own. Every admirer of folklore & fairy tales must check out Shaun Tan.

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Victor A. Davis has always loved reading and writing short stories. He is an avid hiker and even when away from the world of laptops and wifi, keeps a pocket paperback and a handwritten journal to keep him company on trail. He is the author of two short story collections, Grains of Sand and The Gingerbread Collection. Join his Mailing List for special announcements about upcoming works.