Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin

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Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Six fairy tales linked by a flavour of diversity and vivid, rich storytelling. One to both read alone and to share. Lovely.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Tamarind
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1848531060

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We never tire of fairy tales, do we? We dream of being carried off into one. We read them over and over. We love the old ones but they do need renewing and retelling every now and again. That's what makes them timeless. And in Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales, the wonderful Jamila Gavin gives us her own take on wicked witches, enchanted forests, talking animals and heroes and heroines who triumph against adversity.

There are six stories in this collection. Blackberry Blue is a Cinderella story which pits a Raven Witch and her Wolf Son against a beautiful girl and true love. It's absolutely lovely. The Purple Lady is an evil Pied Piper type and Abu must show extreme courage and fortitude if he is to rescue his sister from her clutches. The Golden Carp is a parable about the way in which greed breeds other sins but generosity can bring good fortune. Emeka the Pathfinder sees an evil spell of transformation that can only be reversed by a special soul. Oddboy is a sad one, in which a lost boy understands the power of music. The Night Princess is all about doomed love and sacrifice. It's sad too, but also uplifting.

They are all absolutely gorgeous. Gavin brings them to life with simple but elegant and evocative prose that lifts from the pages. You can see, feel and even smell her stories. The themes are taken from the European tradition of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson but the flavour is more diverse. The heroes and heroines in these stories have beautiful dark skin and deep brown eyes. Gavin explains in her preface that she wanted to extend the European image so that more diverse children could identity with the characters and say that could be me. She has succeeded wonderfully.

The illustrations by Richard Collingridge are stunning. I pored over them for a long time and even imagined myself wearing Blackberry Blue's beautiful flower dress just as I imagined myself wearing Cinderella's beautiful dresses from my Ladybird book long ago.

Perfect for sharing and for reading alone, I can't recommend Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales highly enough.

You might also enjoy Brahma Dreaming by John Jackson. Or perhaps The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.

Buy Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin at Amazon.com.


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