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An eclectic collection of tales from around the world.
on 25 February 2009
This is possibly my favourite from the Andrew Lang Fairy Books. At least it contains two of my favourite stories: "The Girl who Pretended to be a Boy" and "The History of Dwarf Long Nose". It is very surprising that the first of these should have made it into a book for children at all back in 1910 or so, but you'll have to read the story to find out why. Many of the stories feature female heroines who are as capable of battling dragons and other monsters as any handsome prince.
Many of the stories are Rumanian, but there are also stories from other parts of Eastern Europe, and Africa and Japan amongst many other places. Few of the stories are likely to be familiar to you, though of course many of the incidents in the stories will be. This book shows that "multiculturalism" is not really such a recent invention - and it is great fun to have stories from very different parts of the world adjacent to one another.
The "Look Inside" feature is showing another edition of the book, not the Dover edition, which is much better than the one shown, since it contains all the original illustrations, which are a very important part of all the books. All the Fairy books are long out of copyright, and versions of them can be found on the web. But it is well worth buying the Dover Edition, so that you can linger over the illustrations as you read the tales.
There are twelve books in the series, and once you have one you will want to collect them all.
Amazon is showing "reading ages" for these books, but you should take them with a pinch of salt. None of the books, at least as printed by Dover, are suitable for many readers under about 9 or 10.