Saturday, January 15, 2011

Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales

While out window shopping with a friend last weekend, we wandered into the local Anthropologie where I enjoyed browsing the books, adding some titles to my "eventually acquire or at least read" list. One of the offerings was Just Being Audrey, a new picture book by Margaret Cardillo about Audrey Hepburn. It was a charming book and not expected.  The audience is more adult than child for this one, but it is a great way to introduce Audrey to a new generation.

Just Being Audrey

Then I remembered that Audrey made her own contribution to fairy tales--no, not her life and style as a modern fairy tale--but with one of her final projects before her death, Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales.  I'll admit I don't own it--although I ordered a copy this week and am awaiting it--but it is a recording of Audrey reading fairy tales with a frame story using Ravel's Mother Goose and his own personality as a teller. I listened to a sample and decided I had to hear it all despite my preference to reading over listening. I am an unabashed Audrey fan, having had her poster on my wall in college when it wasn't a cool thing to do along with a poster of Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger dancing. Yes, I love classic movies.

Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales

Anyway, the recording received a Grammy for Audrey posthumously. Her voice is the usual Audrey voice with the charming intonations. It reminded me of her voiceovers for Sabrina but a little more intimate.

Here's a description from the current publisher:

Audrey Hepburn’s narration brings to life four entertaining fairy tales for children and adults alike. Included here are “The Sleeping Princess,” “Tom Thumb,” “Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” charming stories that demonstrate the power of unselfish devotion and courage and the triumph of true love.

This GRAMMY® Award-winning performance by the late film legend features not only sound effects and music from Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite” spread liberally throughout the hour but also a background story of the composer telling these stories to two young children, as remembered by one child when she was an elderly lady, all delivered in Audrey Hepburn's unique and cultured style.


“Her performance, although intended for children, is that of an adult performing for adults. There are no exaggerated intonations or characterizations. What we hear is what one would expect from Hepburn: a dignified performance that is dainty with precise enunciation and fitting inflections. The music is…a nice complement to her fine voice.”—AudioFile

So does anyone else own this or have fond memories of it? It's almost 20 years old now. That it is still in print attests to its popularity with some portion of the population. I couldn't find a full track list and some editions are abridged but when mine arrives I will post the list if I see an interest for it. I do appreciate that not all the tales are the usual, to be expected ones, such as "Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas."

Off topic: Another book added to my list was How to Behave and Why by Munro Leaf.  What a charming book that asks: "Are Most of the People I Know Glad That I Am Here?" I must add it to my library, too.

Alas, there wasn't a fairy tale related book on the premises, but I wonder if that will change as Hollywood deluges us with all of these retellings in the next few years.

How to Behave and Why

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