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Book of the Boggart: A Collection of Dark Fairy Tales and Magical Poems Paperback – 19 Dec 2016
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The book begins by introducing us to the Boggart – a creature who lives in a tree and has an insatiable hunger for stories. The magical creature befriends good storytellers but gobbles up those who fail to spin a satisfying yarn. Thankfully, when a fearless young girl, Hannah, encounters the Boggart, she is able to befriend him thanks to her ability to create wonderful stories, like a modern-day Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights. The Boggart writes the stories down, and these are his tales.
Like all the best fairy tales, the stories in this collection are rich in metaphors and morals. Throughout the book, characters are well rewarded for bravery, generosity and honesty, while liars, cheats and war-mongers get their comeuppance.
Readers will find much to enjoy among the tales but highlights for this reviewer include A Dragon’s Tale, which features Valendro, a dragon whose father was emblazoned on the Welsh flag, getting inappropriately hot-headed with the residents nearby town when part of his prized treasure hoard disappears.
Other favourites are The Yeti of the Mountains, which finds a hunter, Sergei, discovering he may have underestimated his mythical quarry; Hidden Treasure, where adventure-seeking goblin Ortho hunts for a treasure that is ‘sought by many but possessed by very few’ and learns about what is really valuable in life; and atmospheric poem Fortune Road which follows a quest to capture Chan Chu, the Fortune Toad.
The collection is the work of rising fantasy writer Hannah Byrnes, who last year ran a competition for youngsters to submit 500-word entries about their favourite mythical creature. She then took the best submissions and spun them out into these compelling tales aimed at readers young and old and accompanied by gorgeous black and white illustrations by talented artist Michelle Tolo.
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