Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Retold by Carnegie Medal Crossley-Holland (Norse Myths), this collection of 48 British and Irish folktales presents both familiar and obscure tales in rich, vivid prose. In his afterword, Crossley-Holland writes that his intent was to "reclothe" stories he'd heard since childhood "in clean, bright, direct language," with a specific audience in mind: his grandchildren. Many of the selections are short enough for a read-aloud at bedtime or in a classroom. Most contain just the right amount of creepy detail or eerie magic. In "King of the Cats," nine black felines parade down a path carrying a coffin draped in black velvet. In a "Cinderella" variant, "Three Heads in a Well," an exiled princess is rewarded for her kindness after she cares for a trio of decapitated heads she encounters in the wood. Usefully divided into categories, such as "Magic and Wonder" and "Tricksters and Fools," all the usual otherworldly suspects appear, including: fairies, boggarts, ghosts, changelings, and giants. Silhouette-style, black-and-white illustrations from Castle (illustrator of Space Saver) reinforce the spooky, fantastical mood, and scholars will appreciate the endnotes identifying each story's sources. Ages 10--up. (Oct.)
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Review by Horn Book Review
This valuable collection of almost fifty stories from the British Isles is a reissue of Crossley-Holland's 1987 British Folk Tales, with several tales from his 1997 collection The Old Stories folded in. Divided into sections (e.g., Magic and Wonder; Adventures and Legends; Ghosts), the volume contains standards such as "Mossycoat," "Tam Lin," and "Tom Tit Tot" as well as many less familiar stories, altogether covering a wide range of types of tales and different themes. This master storyteller's voice is strong and distinct, and his prose employs inimitable turns of phrase ("such a scowl of a night"; "the north wind pursed his blue lips and whistled") but never at the expense of the original folktales. An appended section meticulously identifies the sources for each retelling. Martha V. Parravano November/December 2019 p.128(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A selection of folktales from the British Isles.Gathering material previously published in two separate collections, Crossley-Holland (Norse Myths, 2017, etc.) includes nearly 50 stories divided by theme: "Magic and Wonder," "Adventures and Legends," "Fairies and Little People," "Power, Passion, and Love," "Wits, Tricks, and Laughter," and "Ghosts." Readers will encounter familiar favorites, such as "King of the Cats," "Tam Lin," and "The Black Bull of Norway," as well as lesser-known tales. The stories are told in language that is both economical and vividly evocative, with a cadence that lends itself equally well to reading aloud or as a basis for learning a story to tell orally. Rather than appealing directly to teen readers, it is likely that this book will be indispensable to educators planning folklore units or teaching storytelling skills. Castle's (Journeys of Discovery, 2018, etc.) black-and-white digital illustrations call to mind woodblock prints, and their rustic beauty greatly enhances the book. The thorough source notes are a model for works of this type, indicating what is typically the earliest printed version of the story, its geographical origin, particular adaptations Crossley-Holland made, and, quite often, his reason for selecting that individual tale. Encompassing moods from whimsical to awe-inspiring to spooky to fantastical, this is a valuable resource for fans of northern European folklore.A lovely, magical volume that is a must-have for storytelling collections. (pronunciation guide, afterword, sources and notes, biographies) (Folklore. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.