Book reviews - myths legends & traditional tales (page 2)

On this page we have reviewed some of the best new books about, or based on, myths, legends, fables, folklore, fairy tales and traditional stories. Sometimes, the distinction between these and fiction is blurred, so the placing of books in this section is a personal choice. There are books here to appeal to everyone, so please take a look.

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

I well remember having Andrew Lang's colour fairy books as a child - they had a real impact on me. This is a beautiful edition, with leather binding, gold edges and a lovely cover illustration, which any child will treasure and I would love to see the whole series issued in this format to make real collectors' items. This is the first in the series and dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century - but the retellings are as fresh and lively as ever. This enduring collection of the best-known fairy tales is drawn from the folklore of many nations and includes engaging black and white illustrations that enliven the text. Inside you will find such favorites as Cinderella, Jack the Giant Killer, the Princess on the Glass Hill, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and dozens of others. Perfect to start building a child's keepsake library. Published by Barnes and Noble, ISBN 978-1435162174, April 2017.

The Perfectly Royal Princess Handbook by Caitlin Matthews

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the lovely cloth-bound cover with its delicate illustrations and traditional feel. Few girls are born princesses but many young girls aspire to become them. They can take their first steps on the journey with the help of Princess Petal, as they find out about etiquette and deportment, meeting your fairy godmother, dealing with enchantments, finding a prince, and attending balls. The book is beautifully presented and illustrated, and draws on many well-loved fairytales for inspiration. Princess Petal is a friendly character and girls will love to read this book.

Fairies: A Spotter's Handbook by Alison Maloney

Are there fairies at the bottom of your garden? Well, if there are, this book will help you spot them! The book tells us that fairies are everywhere if you know how to find them, so get spotting! Enter the magical world of fairyland and uncover its mysteries; find out where fairies make their homes, peek inside the fairy queen's castle, and encounter captivating sparkle and spells everywhere. For some extra fun, children can spot the hidden fairies throughout the book. Another beautifully produced book, delightfully illustrated. An ideal gift and a book to treasure.

A Year Full of Stories: 52 folk tales and legends from around the world by Angela McAllister

This treasure trove of stories is a beautiful book, with a cloth bound cover and scintillating illustrations. Not just around the world, but also year by year, the book starts with Father Frost, a Russian story for New Year's Day, and concludes with The Feast, an African story of r December 26th. This superb collection collects together folk tales from home and legends and myths from distant lands to commemorate the changing seasons, cultural events and international festivals throughout the year. It will make an excellent teaching resource, giving teachers ideas for right through the year to celebrate cultural diversity; it is a lovely book to have at home too, to follow through the seasons.

Magical Celtic Tales by Una Leavy

Storytelling has always been at the heart of Celtic societies and tales have been passed from generation to generation. This collection includes some well known, such as the Irish legend of Diarmaid and Gráinne, and others less-known but equally mesmerising like The Magic Pail from Cornwall. The book encompasses all the Celtic lands, all of which are rich in myths and legends; it includes Brittany, The Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales. The lyrical retellings are brought to life by Fergal O’Connor’s detailed and atmospheric illustrations. Read of giants and dragons, of fairies and princesses: all beautifully illustrated and told for a new generation of children. A beautiful book.

Tell Me a Dragon by Jackie Morris

As mythical beasts, everyone has their own ideas about how a dragon looks and behaves. This lovely book describes and illustrates many different varieties of the creature, showing in expressive words woven around the stunning pictures exactly why their owners find them so entrancing. They range from a dragon as big as a village to a tiny dragon with whisper-thin wings, from a snaggle-toothed dragon to a sea-dragon which races dolphins on the waves - ending in a page inhabited by every dragon in the book! A truly magical book which will appeal to the dreamer in everyone.

A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice (Walker Racing Reads) by Chitra Soundar

Prince Veera and his best friend, Suku, are left in charge of King Beema's court when the king goes off on a hunting trip. Each day the king's subjects come before the boys with their problems and petty disagreements. Can Veera and Suku settle the dispute between the man who sells a well - but not the water in it - to his neighbour? Or solve the mystery of the jewels that have turned into pickles? And what about the old washerwoman who is set the task of washing the king's elephants until they turn white? It's a fascinating collection of stories, very out of the ordinary and posing some interesting moral dilemmas which make a great basis for discussion.

Pattan's Pumpkin by Chitra Soundar

Pattan's Pumpkin is an Indian flood story. When Pattan plants and nurtures a plant, it grows and becomes a huge pumpkin that is bigger than the goats, bigger than the elephants and reaches the summit of the mountain. In a tale reminiscent of the flood story from the Bible, a tremendous storm arrives and the waters rise, Pattan’s quick thinking and imagination help him devise a clever plan that enables him to rescue the whole village from impending disaster. The vivid and striking illustrations by Frane Lessac bring the story to life with dramatic detail and lovely depictions of people and animals. Beautifully told, this reads aloud to perfection and is an interesting addition to a library of myths and legends.






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