I wish I could be more positive about this book. It’s beautifully produced by Frances Lincoln; there are some big name writers and some fresh faces; and Olwyn Whelan’s richly coloured illustrations suggest both the tradition of fairy tale illustration and the knockabout humour of one or two of the stories. It’s intended as a companion book to the successful Spellbound: Tales of Enchantment from Ancient Ireland, from the same publisher, also edited by Siobhan Parkinson and illustrated by Olwyn Whelan. However, it seems to me to fall short in a number of ways and perhaps to confirm how difficult it is to write fairy tales for the twenty-first century, especially when, as seems to be the case here, you are given only a very few words in which to do it. There are stories which don’t seem to have enough story or end abruptly; and others whose meaning I can’t fathom. One of the characteristics of traditional fairy tales is, of course, that they can be for all ages, but here there seems to be a change of audience from story to story. Although I can recognise a lot of the traditional tale in these stories (kings, princesses, frogs), and some Irishness (little people, giants, turns of phrase), I am not sure in what sense these are modern fairy tales, apart from being written by living authors, unless capable girl heroines, sensitive ogres and ecological themes are sufficient markers of modernity. In the final story, concerning a sky snake (or rainbow) there is a particular confusion (certainly in the mind of this reader) about how many stripes (or colours) it has. Having brought into play six stripes (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet), the story insists that the snake has saved her special sixth stripe, indigo, for last. Surely it should be the seventh (and so much more magical) stripe, or have I missed something somewhere? Sadly, it is a book where I was left feeling that really I had missed a lot.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2016-03-05 15:57:002021-07-12 14:59:34Magic: New Fairy Tales by Irish Writers
Illustrator: Olwyn Whelan