Tag Archives: Fairy Tales

Book Review: Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis
Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

I love reading fairy tales and reading fairy tales from different countries is really interesting as it tells you a lot about their culture and past. So I picked up Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis for my Kindle a few months back.

As you can expect it’s fairly short with a collection of different fairy tales within it’s covers all hailing from Wales.
Anyone familiar with fae lore especially when it comes to the English and Welsh (Scotland had a slightly different take on things) will find some familiar places, myths and even characters.

I’m not going to lie, this book starts off pretty week describing the  origins of the “Welsh Rarebit” (aka Cheese on Toast) which whilst interesting to some degree it is not… so interesting it makes you want to read the rest of the book.
However it does go on into the stories of Fae in Wales – a lot of which are tied into not-quite-proven historical events – e.g. King Arthur.

The stories are enjoyable and really interesting if your into mythical history and lore. Unfortunately the Griffis, who is retelling these fairy tales in his own words (many fairy tales are “retold” because they would have been just verbally told way back when) feels the need to get a bit patriotic about Wales. Whilst I do love Wales, he mentions far too many times how Wales did this first, or they made the best this or that and it’s just so obvious and feels unnatural in the context of a fairy tales. Not to mention Griffis wasn’t even Welsh, he was American so it’s not even like he’s singing the praises of his own country because of how dear it is to him.
There are also some inaccuracies for example London Bridge being called Tower Bridge.

That aside though this a great little collection that does capture the spirit of Wales and of a time when men and Fae lived side by side peacefully (for the most part). It’s doesn’t cover all of Welsh Fae stories and lore I’m sure but it’s a great place to start and a quick read.

Rating: 4_stars

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Author Website: N/A
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: 17th May 2012 (first published 1921)
Pages: 146
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories
Purchased From: Amazon/Kindle UK

Author Recommendation: Hamilton Wright Mabie

Hamilton Wright Mabie
Hamilton Wright Mabie

I don’t normally do author recommendations (more book reviews) but Hamilton Wright Mabie is a bit in a category of his own – he is more of a essayist, who for part of his published works has put together collections of stories.

I stumbled across Mabie when looking for fairytales for my Kindle. The vast majority of his books are free and so I promptly downloaded Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know. This book was everything I wanted and then some. It had fairytales that I do indeed know (although usually an older or original version), as well as some others I didn’t know but were really interesting and definitely hit that fairytale sweet spot. But what really made this special was the foreword by Mabie himself – a mini essay if you will about fairytales, their place in the world and the significance of them through a child’s eyes.

I have just finished Myths That Every Child Should Know – which is sadly for some reason not available on Kindle anymore (it was also free). This got much the same treatment as the fairytales – a retelling of myths. It’s mostly Greek Myths (some of them are the Roman versions) with a few others such a Odin/Thor/Loki (which is Norse mythology), so perhaps not a huge variety in terms of different mythologies but some great stories nonetheless. The foreword in this book is equally fantastic.

I love the fairytales and myths of course but the mini-essays at the beginning of the books are a fascinating insight to how Mabie sees the impact of all these stories on the world – especially children. So even if you know all the stories re-told, they’re worth getting just to read his introductions.

Amazon Kindle has a collection of a few of his works – like I said above, a lot are free. I certainly intend to download and read more of his stuff.

You can see what’s available from Hamilton Wright Mabie by clicking here. Enjoy!

What author have you discovered lately?

Book Review: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

I picked up The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer whilst in Holland, as Maaike has pointed it out to me – she hadn’t read it yet, but thought it was my sort of thing.

The Wishing Spell is a young adult book which meshes together the modern world and the world of classic fairy tales such as Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and lots more.
Alex and Conner Bailey (twins) have grown up on fairy tales, specifically from a huge book which their grandparents have always read to them. On their twelfth birthday their Grandma passes this book down to them and then the trouble really begins.
After some strange happenings, the twins fall through a portal into the book – landing themselves in The Land of Stories. The portal doesn’t seem to work both ways so they find themselves stuck until they can find a way home again.

The Land of Stories is full of fairy tale folk which the twins meet along the way – most are well known or descendants of well known characters in fairy tales – so you’ll have no trouble in following who is who.
There are also some general fantasy type creatures such as goblins, trolls and fairies – their role in this alternative world is well explained but there isn’t much depth to their stories.

There are two stories running alongside each other in this book – that of Alex and Conner, making their way through the different Kingdoms, trying to find a way home and that of the fairy tale folk.
Unfortunately it seems the twins, although the main characters are much more of a pawn in Colfer’s game to gain a way to write about classic fairy tales. To give another character’s perspective on a classic story or simply document that there was life after that “happily ever after” and it wasn’t all roses.
Whilst it’s interesting to see these different views – I didn’t feel a whole lot was done with them once they were “uncovered”. Without giving any spoilers – it felt very much like “this happened, and then that happened, and then this happened” and so on and so forth. Nothing really strong connected one scene to the next, or one storyline to another.

Unfortunately this left the characters – for the most part – largely flat. Alex the overachiever and Conner the comedian just about sums up what you get to know about the twins.

That being said, I did enjoy the book – it’s just very obvious that this is on the younger end of “Young Adult”. The story is fairly simple but enjoyable. I felt it was sort of a bridge book – between the very simple stories for 9-10 year olds to the more complex, longer books of teenage fiction.

There is a second book in the series and I must say, I’m rather hoping this first book is mostly doing the setting up for that – as it does have the potential to be pretty good.

Rating: stars_3

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Other information:

Author Website: http://thelandofstoriesbook.com/
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Pages: 438
Genre(s): Young Adult, Children’s, Fantasy
Purchased From: The American Book Center

Side note – Decided to do my reviews a little differently – with a rating system and extra information. What do you think? Does this help you more?