Grimms’ Fairy Tales / Lore of the Land

Grimms’ Fairy Tales
retold by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Marta Altés
Macmillan Children’s Books

Having read Elli Woollard’s splendid rhyming renditions of some of Aesop’s Fables I was eagerly anticipating these new rhyming fairy tales. Elli has chosen five well known ones on which to weave her rhyme magic and the result is again brilliant.
First to get the touch of her wand is Little Red Cap who is off to visit her grandma with a freshly baked cake and some elderflower wine. I love the way that wolf meets his demise. Next is The Elves and the Shoemaker, followed by Hansel and Gretel, The Musicians of Bremen and finally Cinderella, each story being deftly retold in a way that makes them a sheer pleasure to read aloud.

Marta Altés gorgeous illustrations too, help bring each telling to life and contain some really fun detail. The spread showing the stepsisters’ preparations for the Fancy Fantabulous Right Royal Ball is hilarious.

Enormous fun for young readers and listeners as well as adult readers aloud, and a cracking book from cover to cover.

Lore of the Land
Claire Cock-Starkey and Samantha Dolan
Wide Eyed Editions

Folktales about landscapes the world over, along with secrets from the natural world are unearthed in this stylishly illustrated book.

There are six parts, each presenting the folklore of a different landscape: forests, seas and oceans, mountains, hills and valleys, rivers and lakes and finally, wetlands. Each part begins with a folk story, the first being a Czech tale Betushka and the Wood Maiden telling how a girl and her mother’s fortunes are forever transformed by the daughter’s acceptance of an invitation to dance with a stranger instead of working at her spinning when she takes her goats into the forest to graze.
The next spread has synopses of creation myths associated with the forest. (Each of the other landscapes also has a creation stories spread.)

There’s an abundance of ancient wisdom associated with such things as sprites, spirits and other mythical creatures, plants, and more. You can discover why the massive volcanic mountain, Mount Tararnaki stands alone on the edge of New Zealand’s North Island as well as why Ancient Greeks thought there was a forge beneath Mount Etna and what was made there. This and much more is arrestingly illustrated in folk style artworks that grace every spread. There’s plenty to engage young lovers of nature, especially those with an interest in fictive possibilities.

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