Summer 2015 Fairy Tale Book Haul

Summer means travelling, and travelling means new bookshops! I’ve managed to acquire some interesting fairy tale books over the last few months, which I’d like to throw into the fairy tale blogosphere.
So without further ado, here is my summer 2015 fairy tale book haul (and yes, that is my Hello Kitty duvet in the background of all of these photos!)

East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrated by Kay Nielsen

Kay Nielsen East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Publication date:

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Where found: The Cottage Bookshop, High Wycombe

Kay Nielsen is one of the most notorious fairy tale artists. This book contains the title story, ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon,’ and five other stories all beautifully illustrated by Nielsen. As well as the gold inlay on the front cover, the inside covers are painted with white and gold. Multiple full page colour images accompany each story.

Kay Nielsen East of the Sun, West of the Moon

My Own Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

My Own Fairy Book Andrew Lang

Publication date: Unsure exactly, but 1920-something.
Publisher: J. W. Arrowsmith
Where found: Kim’s Bookshop, Chichester

Andrew Lang collected folk and fairy tales from all over the world, and published them in his fairy books of different colours. But Lang was also a writer, and as the title says this book contains his own fairy stories. It has three sections. The first is a set of stories about a character called Prince Prigio, the second about a Prince Ricardo, and the third a Scottish fairy story called ‘The Gold of Fairnilee’ which has a plot similar to the ballad Tam Lin.

My Own Fairy Book Andrew Lang 

Czech Fairytales by Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová

Czech Fairytales

Publication date: 2007
Publisher: Vitalis
Where found: Vitalis shop in Prague (then I realised I didn’t have enough Czech crowns with me to buy it, so I got it online when I returned home!)

A lot of these stories contain similar elements to Grimm stories, but it’s interesting to see how the titles change and little details get altered in different countries. Vitalis also publish books of Austrian and Jewish fairy tales, and other classic European stories. Their books are available from their website, and in multiple languages.

It also has some lovely double page images:

Czech Fairytales

The Folk Tales of Scotland by Norah and William Montgomerie

The Folk Tales of Scotland Montgomerie

Publication date: 2008
Publisher: Birlinn
Where found: Mum bought this in the Highlands a couple of years ago and forgot she had it. I came across it on her shelf and sneakily stole borrowed it.

This book has a selection of stories from all over Scotland, featuring a variety of mythical creatures. So far I have only read a couple, and I don’t recognise many of the others so I’m excited to read more and learn some new stories. It has lots of black-and-white illustrations, too, and is just an all-round nice looking hardback for any folkloric bookshelf.
The Folk Tales of Scotland Montgomerie

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Mary Hoffmann and The Snow Queen by Sarah Lowes, both illustrated by Miss Clara

Publication dates: The Snow Queen – 2011, The Twelve Dancing Princesses – 2012
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Where found: Norfolk Children’s Book Centre

These fairy tales have been beautifully retold into short chapter books, great for confident children who are looking for something a little heftier to read than the original stories. They are perfectly complimented by Miss Clara’s illustrations, which are GORGEOUS. She is a French artist, who makes dolls and uses them to create images. You can find out more about her work hereAlso in this series is The Princess and the Pea, which I hope to obtain in the near future.

Rapunzel and The Ugly Duckling by Helen Anderton and illustrated by Stuart Lynch

Publication dates: 2015
Publisher: Make Believe Ideas
Where found: The Works

Children’s books are so colourful! These little hardbacks are retellings written in short verses, and they shake each story up a little bit. In Rapunzel, the witch wants Rapunzel’s hair, so Rapunzel trades it for the prince and then the witch attends their wedding wearing a blonde wig. In The Ugly Duckling, the duck is called Ned and has a favourite sock which he travels with when looking for other swans.

In the back, there are activities for children to complete after reading the story. These are great for reading groups and parents. I read both to my niece and she loved them, and insisted on completing all four activities in both books. They really got her invested in the stories. Also in this series is Rumpelstiltskin and Little Red Riding Hood, but these versions are much closer to the original tales and so not quite as quirky.

Princess Stories by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by Lizzie Sanders

Publication date: 1998
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (Picture Corgi, now Corgi Childrens)
Where found: given to me by a friend, who found it when clearing out their house

I was rather dubious about this at first, because on the surface it looks a bit damsel-in-distress-girly-bleh. But after a quick read through, it’s actually a lovely collection of princess stories from around the world. There are tales here I hadn’t heard of before, and I love the pastel tones the illustrations have. Very soothing to look at whilst reading.

I think this lot will keep me reading until next summer, so perhaps I won’t buy any more books until then…. ha. Who am I kidding. The problem with buying books is that I just don’t have anywhere to put them. Maybe I should build a bookcase out of books…

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Amelia Starling is a writer and folklorist. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Creative Writing, and is Senior Editor for Folklore Thursday. She loves travelling and collecting stories, and spent 15 months living in Japan doing this alongside teaching English. Currently she is living in Scotland and studying for a masters degree in Ethnology & Creative Writing. Amelia blogs about folklore and fairy tales at The Willow Web. You can follow her on Twitter @amyelize.

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