Perrault's Tales of Mother Goose, published in 1697, is often cited by critics as the first important volume published specifically for young adults. Most or all of the tales that he collected in the book had been passed along orally, and it was Perrault who gave them their definitive literary form. Almost all readers become familiar with such stories as "The Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Ridinghood," "Puss in Boots," and "Cinderella" at an early age. These stories have been edited and retold in countless different ways since Perrault wrote them down in 1697, and are now so familiar that modern readers often take them for granted.
Perrault's versions of these fairy tales are the literary models from which the various modern adaptions are derived. In preparing his translation, Bierhorst worked from facsimiles of the original seventeenth-century edition of Perrault's book in order to keep his translation as close to the original as possible. His notes provide important historical background for the tales.
The illustrations by Michael Miller depict the buildings and costumes of Perrault's time with considerable care and accuracy. The focus, however, is the highly expressive faces of the characters. Miller uses subtle gradations of black and white which aid the imagination without overwhelming it.
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