Cover image for Ouch! : a tale from Grimm
Ouch! : a tale from Grimm
Babbitt, Natalie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Place of publication not identified] : Michael Di Capua Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
AD 510 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.9 0.5 29282.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.8 2 Quiz: 20054 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.B12 OU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
PZ8.B12 OU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.B12 OU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.B12 OU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.B12 OU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



This tale from Grimm -- far less familiar than many of the others -- has been given a brisk retelling by Natalie Babbitt and witty, spectacular, sumptuous pictures by Fred Marcellino. The story tells all about young Marco, who leads a charmed life if anyone ever did, starting off as nobody special and ending up king. Not that it's an easy path, the most dangerous part being an errand that takes him down into Hell. But thanks to the Devil's grandmother, as good an old girl as grandmothers everywhere, it all comes right in the end.

Author Notes

Natalie Babbitt was born Natalie Zane Moore in Dayton, Ohio on July 28, 1932. As a child, she wanted to be an illustrator. She received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Smith College. She and her husband Sam Babbitt collaborated on a children's book The Forty-Ninth Magician, which was published in 1966.

At the urging of her husband and her editor, she decided to write her own prose. Her first book as both author and illustrator was The Search for Delicious, which was published in 1969. Her novels included Goody Hall, The Devil's Storybook, Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Herbert Rowbarge, and The Moon Over High Street. She wrote and illustrated several picture books including Nellie: A Cat on Her Own; Bub, or, The Very Best Thing; and Elsie Times Eight. Kneeknock Rise was named a 1971 Newbery Honor book. In 2013, she won the inaugural E. B. White Award for achievement in children's literature. Tuck Everlasting was adapted as a Disney feature film in 2002 and made its debut as a Broadway musical in 2016. She also illustrated five books for Valerie Worth. She died of lung cancer on October 31, 2016 at the age of 84.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4, younger for reading aloud. In this picture book for older readers, Babbitt retells a less familiar story from the Brothers Grimm, a story that clearly echoes fairy tales children already know and love. But despite Babbitt's sure, swift, and earnest telling, this heroic tale isn't as sharply focused or as satisfying as some of the better known Grimm stories. When a wicked king hears that a baby boy born to "a family that was nobody special" is destined to marry his daughter, he decides to intervene. After placing the child in a box that he sets afloat in the river, he thinks his troubles are over. What a surprise it is when the child, Marco, returns years later to marry the princess, get the better of the Devil in Hell, and ensure appropriate punishment for the King. The design is crowded: pictures of varying sizes, sometimes overlapping, are surrounded by a dense text (gray type was a good choice). However, the artwork itself is rich and exciting, and it's clearly where the real drama is. Characters' simply cast, yet expressive faces contrast nicely with detailed backdrops that display Marcellino's finely tuned sense of perspective, and there's a thread of comedy to soften the edges. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this abbreviated version of the Grimms' "The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs," a crown-shaped birthmark heralds a boy's bright future. Based on this omen, a fortuneteller predicts that Marco will marry a princess, and this comes to pass in short order: "So the two were married, with plenty of joy and noise, and that should have been the end of it. But it wasn't." The youth still must placate his evil father-in-law, the king, who demands three golden hairs from the head of the Devil. Marco ventures forth to Hell, where he meets the Devil's impish grandmother, who agrees to yank the three hairs. ("Ouch!" is the Devil's exclamation as she does the deed.) Thus, he keeps the princess, and then exacts revenge on the king. Babbitt (Bub) rewrites the classic story in a casual voice infused with wry wit, paring it down to its essentials (e.g., leaving out the magical golden apples and wine-flowing fountain), while Marcellino (The Story of Little Babaji) paints the characters in picturesque Renaissance-era garb. He constructs scenes of architectural grandeur: readers become spectators at the wedding, looking up at the starry ceiling, and stand alongside the newly married prince at the steps of Hell, which appears as a desolate castle with firelit bricks and oversize wooden furniture. The Devil himself is a slim, none-too-threatening figure in a red unitard decorated with ruffles at the wrist. The inventive layout, based on a rectangular grid, features creatively cropped and overlapping color images and blocky text. Although things come together a bit too easily in this Grimm tale, readers will likely lap up Babbitt's intelligent retelling, mixed with a dash of sly humor and dressed in Marcellino's signature finery. All ages. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 4-In this snappy retelling of a Grimm tale, a baby born to a poor family is foreordained to marry a princess. The king tosses the infant into the river to prevent the eventuality of having a "nobody" for a son-in-law. However, the child survives to marry the king's daughter as predicted. Hoping to rid himself of the lad, the monarch commands him to deliver three golden hairs from the Devil's head or lose his wife. With the aid of the Devil's grandmother, the boy succeeds in his task, becomes rich, keeps his beloved, and gets rid of his troublesome father-in-law. In the original story, the boy encounters a fountain that has run dry, a tree that does not bear fruit, and a ferryman who cannot stop taking passengers across the river. With the pulling of each hair, the Devil provides the answer to each of the three puzzles. While the three questions and the three hairs lend a folkloric symmetry to the tale, their loss is more than compensated for in this telling. Babbitt's language is perfect: neither too archaic nor too modern. Throughout the story, words and pictures work together to underscore the humor in the tale that is absent in older versions. With comic perspectives and sly expressions, Marcellino introduces a farcical cast-from the king to the Devil's grandmother. Even if libraries love the more traditional text, they will want to make room for this deft offering.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.