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Gift ideas -- arts, literature, books for children; Grimm for a new generation; Favorite Tales From Grimm, retold by Nancy Garden, illustrated by Mercer Mayer. New York: Four Winds Press. 224 pp. $15.95. (Ages 7-12.)

Where would children's literature be today without such tales as Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella? These delightful, imaginative stories, written in the early 19th century by the Grimm brothers, were collected from the oral tradition of German peasants.

Apparently these vivid, though occasionally cruel and gruesome, tales are still popular with children today. This book gathers together 20 of the tales, retold by Nancy Garden, with both small black-and-white sketches and full-page color illustrations by Mercer Mayer. Some of the tales seem overly long for a young child's span of attention, but most will earn a permanent place in every young reader's childhood.

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