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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Good Little Devil and Other Tales (The)
by Pierre Gripari
Age Range: 9-11
The Good Little Devil and Other Stories is a whimsical and witty collection of 13 tales. Similar in structure to the classic fairy tale, with all the expected ingredients of fairies, witches, mermaids, kings etc., they turn out to be not quite what you would expect.
There is the love story of a potato, a pig that swallow a star and a fairy who lives in a tap, Prince Blub and his love for a mermaid, a witch who lives in a broom cupboard and a Giant who wears magic red socks. And then, of course, there is the good little Devil who doesn’t like doing bad things much to his parents chagrin. Despite their best efforts he refuses to be bad. Learning to be good is so important to him that he leaves home ending up at the door of Heaven, but will the angels let him in?
There is something quaintly old-fashioned about these funny and farcical tales. They have a strong moral overtone - kindness is always rewarded and evil is punished. Written in the 1960s by French author, Pierre Gripari, (1925-1990), they are very popular in France with both adults and children having been handed down from generation to generation.
Known as Monsieur Pierre, (as the author explains in the afterword of the book), many of his stories resulted from weekly story-telling sessions with a group of children at a boulevard café near his Paris home. When Monsieur Pierre had run out of telling them all the traditional stories that he had grown up with, he and the children made up some brand-new ones.
The tales are brought to life by the comical cartoon-like black and white illustrations of Puig Rosado who illustrated the original stories when they were first published. The translation by Sophie Lewis has captured the essence of Monsieur Pierre’s storytelling making this a truly timeless collection for children (and adults) everywhere.