East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrated by Kay Nielsen
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.
My Own Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
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.
Czech Fairytales by Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová
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:
The Folk Tales of Scotland by Norah and William Montgomerie
Publication date: 2008
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.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Mary Hoffmann and The Snow Queen by Sarah Lowes, both illustrated by Miss Clara
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 here. Also 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
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…