Sybille Schenker’s interpretation of the several timeless Brothers Grimm fairy tales make a beautiful addition to any fairy tale library. Sybille is a designer and illustrator from Nuremberg in Germany. Her work is dedicated to paper cut art, and she has won numerous awards for her children’s picture books. Although this series was originally published in German, fortunately they have also been released in English to allow her stunning fairy tale editions to reach a wider audience.
Hansel and Gretel was the first in this series to be released in 2013. It contains a couple of die-cut pages, but mostly makes use of translucent paper that feature her hand cut illustrations that overlay wood-block-style silhouettes, making great use of light and shadow to create a creepy atmosphere. It tells the classic story of the siblings being sent into the forest by their wicked stepmother, captured and fattened up by a witch, whom they trick into the oven so that they can escape to be reunited with their father.
Little Red Riding Hood followed shortly after in 2014. In this edition, the hand-cut paper has been translated into intricate laser die-cuts and bright bold colour for the underlying illustrations, and turning every page is a delight. The story retains some of the darker tones of the original tale, with the huntsman cutting open the wolf at the end to release Red and her Grandmother.
Most recently, The Frog Prince was released at the end of 2018. This edition makes use of a delightfully vivid green page colour, and many shimmering gold accents on the illustrations. For this book, the style has moved back closer towards the original design, with her illustrations on translucent paper overlays – perhaps because the delicate nature of the laser die-cuts limited the audience of the earlier volume to adults. Once again, the story follows the original Grimm version, so don’t be surprised when the spell is broken with rather more violent means than a kiss, and it ends with the tale of Iron Henry, the devoted servant who put iron bands around his chest to keep his heart from breaking at the loss of his master.
The books are creatively bound with string and also feature spot gloss illustrations on the covers. The die-cut pages come well-protected with tissue paper and the cover has a transparent dust jacket.