Grimm's Fairy Tales Age group: 7-11 Selected and read by Joss Ackland.
Hodder Children's Audio Two cassettes. Pounds 7.99
Think of it. Your best friend was turned to stone in the process of saving you from a series of unpleasant fates, and now stands eerily and a little accusingly in the corner of the living room. He manages to get a corner of his mouth moving and tells you that if you cut off the heads of your children and be-smear him with their blood, then he will be down the pub with you in no time . . .
There is a school of thought that considers Grimm a bit, well, grim for young children, and there are adults who remember being frightened by him.
Most children, though, recognise that though his Gothic landscape is dark and full of mis-shapen little men, bears, wolves, gobblings up, abductions, beheadings and drownings, it is not really the same darkness that lies beyond the street lights in their home town.
As well as Faithful John (he who was turned to stone) all the favourites are here Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, as well as some lesser known ones. There are 17 tales in all, three hours of stories read with hypnotic power by the wonderful Joss Ackland, whose voice is so right for the job reassuringly matter of fact in the gory bits, and providing enough variety for the characters, who are sketched but not over-painted.