1. East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrated by Kay Nielsen
Publication date: 1976
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Where found: The Cottage Bookshop, High Wycombe
Kay Nielsen was 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 also painted with white and gold. Multiple full page colour images accompany each story.
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.’ These stories are longer than average fairy tales. More like novellas or novelettes or whatever people call long short stories these days.
3. Czech Fairytales by Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová
When it comes to European fairy tales, French and German stories are usually the most well-known. When I visited the Czech Republic, I found this and so was excited to discover some new stories. However, a lot of these contain similar elements to Grimm stories, since Germany is just over the border, 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 childrens’ stories. Their books are available from their website, and in multiple languages.
It also has some lovely double page images:
4. 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.
5. 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 stall at Mannington Hall, during their fairy tales day.
Also in this series is The Princess and the Pea, which I intend to obtain in the near future.
6. Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood 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, they also have activities for children to complete after reading the story. These are great for reading groups or 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.
7. 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, such as ‘Sumio Who Fell From the Moon,’ a Japanese story about a moon princess who falls to Earth and catches the eye of the Emperor. I also 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. Sad face.