The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean and Sophy Williams
|The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean and Sophy Williams|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: This would make a beautiful present for a child who loves magical fairy tales. Beautifully written stories and wonderful, softly-drawn illustrations.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2012|
|Publisher: OUP Oxford|
|External links: Author's website|
In this lovely collection of twenty fairy tales there's a brilliant range of stories. There are familiar favourites, such as Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel, but then there are others which were new to me such as The Three Oranges and The Thirteenth Child. There's something for everyone really, with princess stories, witches and frogs, magical items and mysterious happenings!
The re-tellings of these fairy tales have been really well done. I like the descriptive style, and that the stories haven't been prettified to remove the scary parts. The horrors are still there, such as Rumpelstiltskin coming along to steal away the princess' baby boy or when Vassia's mean sisters and mother burn to death in The Old Lady Next Door. The stories seem well balanced in the way they're organised within the book, so you don't feel they're repetitive, but it's also just as easy to dip in and out and read whichever story happens to take your fancy on that day.
The accompanying illustrations are rather special. They're very softly drawn and done in a grown-up way with realistic looking people and animals. Some are just small images inset within or around the text, and others are full page panels. There's one image in The Thirteenth Child that is gorgeous, of a young girl picking leaves surrounded by white ducks. It's a wonderfully atmospheric, beautiful picture. The illustrations help break up the text, so if an older child was reading to themselves they would provide a welcome break to the text, and they're nice for younger children to look at whilst you read to them, soaking the story into their minds.
Having dipped into the book by myself first I wasn't entirely sure that my six year old would enjoy listening to them as they are sometimes quite long and the language can, at times, be quite advanced. However, I underestimated her completely and she has thoroughly enjoyed this book, sitting quietly for the stories and completely gripped by them. It's rather lovely actually, to read such rich language aloud to her. The stories are very descriptive, full of beautiful lines. For example, in Sleeping Beauty I really liked the description of the spinning wheels being destroyed as their sharp spindles pulled out like the stings out of wasps.
This would make a super present, particularly for a girl I think, because of the many princesses within the stories, although I think boys would also enjoy some of them too if they could get over the shiny pink writing on the cover! Great for confident readers to enjoy by themselves, or for sharing with those around four or older who enjoy listening to beautiful stories.
You might also enjoy this collection of princess stories Magical Princess Stories by Margaret Mayo, Geraldine McCaughrean, Rose Impey, Andrew Matthews, Jane Ray, Ian Beck, Angela Barrett, Emma Chichester Clark and Alan Snow
You can read more book reviews or buy The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean and Sophy Williams at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean and Sophy Williams at Amazon.com.
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