The Orchard Book of Magical Tales by Margaret Mayo
|The Orchard Book of Magical Tales by Margaret Mayo|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley|
|Summary: Magical multicultural folk tales retold for children by Margaret Mayo, with fabulous illustrations by Jane Ray.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: October 2009|
Is it sensible to build your house in the path of an enormous one-tusked elephant? Or to visit the house of Baba Yaga Bony-Legs the witch if you don't have to? This beautifully produced collection of folk tales featuring magic will give you the answers to these and many other questions. The collection was first published in 1993, and it had become quite difficult to find, so it's great to see it reissued.
Some of the tales are relatively well known, Baba Yaga being a case in point. But many of them are just one step outside the mainstream of folk tales for children. For example, I had never heard the enjoyable Persian story of The Lemon Princess before, though I had read similar tales that involve the betrayal of the heroine by a servant girl. The stories include tales from a range of cultural backgrounds (including Scottish, Peruvian, Indian, Chinese, Caribbean and Australian origin amongst others), making this a good collection for those who would like their children to read beyond Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella.
Margaret Mayo is an experienced tale-teller with great skill in relating traditional stories. These retellings have a real fluidity and mix fairy tale motifs with modern day idioms. So a story may begin Once, in the faraway times when toads had wings and camels could fly, then continue using phrases like but – and it was a big but. Her prose is clear and enticing, and is enhanced by Jane Ray's typically stylised yet vibrant illustrations. Each of Ray's pictures is embellished like a jewel and complements the story completely.
These magical tales make excellent read-alouds for bedtime or any other story-time. They would probably appeal most to a child who is moving away from picture books towards longer reads. The Orchard Book of Magical Tales is a quality production that would make a lovely gift.
Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you should also have a look at The Apple-pip Princess by Jane Ray, for more of her illustrations, added to a modern fairy tale.
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