The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes

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The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A bumper collection of classic stories for reading at bedtime, this is the ultimate book of tales for the under 5s.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571307593

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A whopping 45 stories make up this reissued book of nursery stories perfectly pitched at the pre-school and early years audience. There are animal stories and stories about fantasy creatures. There are tales of good, sweet children and tales of naughty, crotchety ones. There are stories that go on for pages and others that finish after a few paragraphs. There are entries you might end up reading again and again, and entries you might read once or not at all, in favour of the favourites instead.

This is a weirdly wonderful compilation of classic stories from over the years, from Thumbelina to Milly Molly Mandy, via the Billy Goats Gruff and My Naughty Little Sister. Some I expected more than others – the fairy tales for example, I’m used to seeing in books of mixed stories – while others such as the Joyce Lankester Brisley and the Dorothy Edwards I’ve not come across in anthologies before. They were a wonderful surprise, though. You can’t beat randomly coming across the girl from the nice white cottage with the thatched roof. The appeal is universal. One of my staff is 20 years older than me, and South African, and picked it up, located Little Red Hen and had to sit and read it immediately because it brought back her childhood so vividly

I would say I was about 50:50 in already knowing these stories, and I was a very well read (or rather very well read to) child. I certainly don’t remember a little girl called Caroline who preferred to go by Annette, though it’s a splendid story. And I don’t recall hearing the tale of the princess who couldn’t cry, or the clever way someone made it happen, when all others had failed, but again it’s a good one.

This is a luxuriously presented book with pages so thick I kept thinking I must have turned over two accidentally. The illustrations are by the wonderful Shirley Hughes and her trademark scruffy pencil designs. You look at this book, and you think old school. It’s classic in design, not at all garish like some modern releases. Even the formatting seems from a bygone era with one story running into another – no clean page breaks here. Of course there are lots to fit in – 200 plus pages in fact – so it’s just as well there’s no white space going to waste.

The writing style of these stories will, again, be familiar to parents as the sort of thing they had (and indeed their own parents had) as children. Some of the vocabulary will be unfamiliar to today’s little ones, as may the approach of talking out to the reader (Now, would you believe it?), but as stories for reading aloud they’re just perfect.

Highly recommended, this is 45 books in one and would be a bargain at twice the price.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.

Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley has more stories of my favourite girl, but doesn't duplicate her nest adventure from the compendium. Otherwise, Favourite Nursery Rhymes by Brian Wildsmith would be a good companion text.

Buy The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Faber Book of Nursery Stories by Barbara Ireson and Shirley Hughes at Amazon.com.


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