If you watched The Storyteller when it aired back in the late 80’s, this book is pretty much exactly the same, minus the commercial breaks and amazing Muppets. All nine featured stories are here; the good, the bad, and the most messed-up Cinderella version I have ever read.*
I was young enough when the show was running that the fairy tale magic was everything and the usual fairy tale misogyny went over my head, but now that I’m older I would argue with the late, great Henson’s assertion that these tales are timeless and applicable in a modern era. (Unless you really do want to teach your children that if they’ll just put up with horrific abuse they’ll be rewarded with princes and princesses and babies and kingdoms and riches beyond measure. Yep. Timeless.)
But I came for the fairy tale magic and the nostalgia, and I got both. Out of the nine, the only tale that remained truly timeless for me was The Heartless Giant. That one got me in the feels as a kid, and it got me even harder as an adult. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, but I kind of missed John Hurt’s narrating.
*I’m not kidding. Sapsorrow is horrifically messed up. I mean, I get the running away from home so the princess doesn’t have to marry her father the king (he wasn’t into it either, but they had to do it because Ye Olde Official Royal Wedding Ring fit her finger and kings can’t change stupid laws even to avoid incest, apparently). But tell me, princess, why you fell in love with the prince. Was it the way he looked down on you and treated you like dirt? Or the way he gave you a sharp kick and ordered a dozen of your goose friends be killed for his banquet? Or the way he looked straight at you and never saw you until you put on a pretty dress and combed the mice out of your hair? Ugh! You should’ve kept your mouth shut and let him marry your mean sister.