Skip to main content

Classic Fairy Tales told by Berlie Doherty and illustrated by Jane Ray, 224pp, RL 4



At last! With Classic Fairy Tales we have an inexpensive ($12.99!!) gorgeously illustrated book of fairy tales with the perfect selection of stories retold by a master storyteller. I have written a post on The Importance of Fairy Tales as well as as post on Important Fairy Tale Picture Books. In a review of Lucy Cousins' excellent new fairy tale collection for kids 5 and under, Yummy!, I include a list of fairy tale picture books that present more detailed tellings of the stories in Cousins' book. But, I have never had the pleasure of writing a review of ONE book that has a great selection of tales AND worthy illustrations.


The twelve tales in this book are as follows:


Cinderella (Ashputtel)
The Sleeping Beauty in the Forest
Beauty and the Beast
Rumpelstiltskin
Snow White (Snowdrop)
Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp
The Firebird
Hansel and Gretel
The Frog Prince
The Wild Swans




These tales are lavishly, uniquely illustrated by Jane Ray. I wish I could do better justice to her artwork, especially her illustrations for Classic Fairy Tales where all pages are framed by Ray's paintings that evoke textiles from foreign countries. Each story has a different pattern bordering the text and illustrations, although there is the occasional full page picture. And, the paintings for each story contain faces and scenery from many different lands. This is about as far away for a Disney-ized fairy tale as you can get.
















One thing I always do when perusing a collection of fairy tales is flip to Red Riding Hood. I like to know who, if any one, gets eaten and how the wolf meets his end. Berlie Doherty does a delicious job with her retelling of Red Riding Hood. As the wolf enters Grandmother's house with "his long, wet tongue and his sharp, yellow teeth and his eyes bright as knives and forks." I think you know what happens next. And next. The story ends with the clever hunter snipping the wolf's tummy open with a pair of scissors, rescuing his victims and filling his stomach with stones so heavy that the wolf falls over dead when he tries to run away.


I especially liked Doherty's Author's Note in which she writes, "I had a wonderful time choosing which stories to tell from among the hundreds that I read. Even the most familiar stories have echoes in many different cultures around the world, and the problem sometimes was to decide which version to model my story on. I tried to find the earliest written sources available, and from those, the ones with the most perfect shape." Her note ends with a "Tales fist recorded by," list that presents each original source of the fairy tale (as far back as could be traced) and their time in which he or she lived.

Classic Fairy Tales is the newest member of the Candlewick Illustrated Classics collection. Renowned illustrators such as Chris Riddell, Inga Moore, Patrick Benson, Sara Fanelli and Paul Howard.

Jonathan Swift's Gulliver by Jonathan Swift: Book CoverPinocchio by Carlo Collodi: Book Cover
Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Comments

Peaceful Reader said…
This would make an excellent Christmas gift! Thanks for a great review.
Tanya said…
Agreed! I still can't figure out how they published such a beautiful book full of bright color illustrations for only $12.99!!!

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …