We forget how grim European “fairy tales” really were, as told from one generation to the next throughout the centuries – Disney Studios’ interpretations notwithstanding.
As a reminder, “Gris Grimly’s Tales from the Brothers Grimm” is a selection of 42 of the 211 fairy tales collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm during the early- to mid-1800s, including “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Cinderella” (Balzer + Bray, $18, 288 pages). The twist is they’re illustrated by artist Grimly, whose distinctly menacing style added so much to Neil Gaiman’s blockbuster “The Dangerous Alphabet,” and does so again here.
Going bats in the desert
So many books that purport to convey knowledge of the natural world to children can be … well, dry or superficial. One exception is the “Black Rock Desert Trilogy” by Rachael Freeman Long, a farm adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension Service in Yolo County.
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It stars young Jack, who befriends Pinta the pallid bat and Sonny the coyote. Together, they explore their wild environment and become immersed in risky adventures that help save forest animals from poachers, and the forest and desert from irreparable damage. Along the way, young readers get an education in the underappreciated role bats play as nature’s pollinators – and as unlikely heroes. More, they learn lessons in independence and courage.
Long has written numerous articles on bats for scientific journals. Here, the winged mammal gets its due – all 1,240 species of it. Meet her at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at Avid Reader at Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento, 916-441-4400.
Crime historian David Kulczyk of Sacramento for his true-crime “California’s Deadliest Women,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8 at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento, 916-447-5696.
Children’s picture book author Lisa M. Bakos for “Too Many Moose,” 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11 at Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9401.
Get on board the ‘Super Express’
When it comes to nations renown for their world-class chefs and penchant for exotic dining, Japan is right there (well, almost) with France and Italy. At least, that’s what Michael Booth, his wife and two daughters say they found in their travels, recounted in “Super Sushi Ramen Express: One Family’s Journey Through the Belly of Japan” (Picador, $26, 336 pages; on sale Sept. 6).
They journeyed the length of the country, finding food-centric surprises along the way. They dined with sumo wrestlers. shared a beach-side picnic with abalone divers and survived “an encounter with giant crabs.” And came home full.