Tag Archives: Mythology

Celtic Fairy Tales and More Celtic Fairy Tales, Joseph Jacobs

Celtic Fairy Tales & More Celtic Fairy Tales, Joseph JacobsCeltic Fairy Tales and More Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
Illustrated by John D. Batten

Publisher: Senate (Random House)
Pages: 552  (Paperback)
Form: Short Stories

Rating: 3/53/53/53/53/5

Passed down through the centuries by generations of story-tellers Celtic folk tales have all the magic, excitement, humour and romance that any audience could wish for.

This collection combines two volumes of Celtic tales first chosen a hundred years ago by Joseph Jacobs, an authority on the folklore of the world. Determined to find the most authentic versions of local stories, he included only those which had been related by speakers of Scottish and Irish Gaelic, Welsh and Cornish. Now rewritten to appeal to the widest possible audience, they offer a wide-ranging cross-section of Celtic culture, from the Irish tragedy of Deidre to the Scottish ghost story of the Sprightly Tailor. Their variety is charmingly captured in the different styles of John Batten’s black-and-white illustrations.

A welcome reflection of the true heritage of Britain and Ireland, this delightful collection of forty-six tales will bring hours of pleasure to readers of all ages.

I actually read these stories in two different editions. I started with the Collector’s Library edition  of Jacobs’  Celtic Fairy Tales before realising that they had cut all Jacob’s original annotations and end-notes. Purely by chance I then I discovered this rather dusty copy hiding in the spare bedroom, spotted that it had all those end-notes and also contained Jacob’s follow up More Celtic Fairy Tales, and did a bit of a book swap. The Collector’s Library edition is undoubtedly the more attractive book – this one is pretty old, has awkward page numbering that starts over again at 1 halfway through, and that annoying thing where illustrations are followed up by a blank page even in the middle of a story – but for me having access to Jacob’s notes on each story was more valuable than how pretty the book was.  Sometimes in fact those notes were more interesting, and in several cases rather longer, than the stories they were about – though I didn’t always agree with some of his comments. Probably not something that matters to a lot of readers, but if you’re interested in the provenance of the fairy tales it’s def worth checking out if the edition you pick up contains these end-notes or not.

Continue reading


1 Comment

Filed under Reviews, Short Stories

The Book of Imaginary Beings, Jorge Luis Borges

The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges

Illustrated by Peter Sís

Publisher: Penguin Classics Deluxe  (Penguin)
Andrew Hurley
236 including notes  – plus introduction (Paperback)
Form: Non-Fiction, Mythology/Folklore, Bestiary/Encyclopedia


“We do not know what the dragon means, just as we do not know the meaning of the universe, but there is something in the image of the dragon that is congenial to man’s imagination. . . . It is, one might say, a necessary monster.”

The Book of Imaginary Beings is Borges’s whimsical compendium of more than a hundred of “the strange creatures conceived down through history by the human imagination.” Imbued with Borges’s characteristic wit and erudition, this unique contribution to fantasy literature ranges widely across the world’s mythologies and literatures to bring together in one delightful encyclopedia the fantastical inventions from the Kabbalah, Homer, Pliny, Confucius, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Kafka, and C.S. Lewis, among others. Here, readers will find the familiar and expected Dragons and Centaurs, Unicorns and Gnomes, as well as the less familiar and altogether unexpected Animals That Live in the Mirror, The Elephant That Prefigured the Birth of Buddha, the Lamed Wufniks, and the Hairy Beast of La Ferte Bernard. Throughout, Borges’s cunning and humorous commentary is sheer delight.

For this new, illustrated edition of The Book of Imaginary Beings, Penguin has paired Andrew Hurley, the acclaimed translator of Borges’s Collected Fictions, with award-winning illustrator Peter Sís, whose original drawings appear throughout the book. The result is a wonderful gift – an Alice through-the-Looking-Glass menagerie, which should appeal to fantasy fans of all stripes and ages.

Phew, and if you’ve got through that massive blurb you’ll see I barely need to write a review for this one! But I will anyway, just a few quick thoughts on my personal opinions because that description basically does my job for me. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Non-Fiction, Reviews

Top 5 – children’s books that had the biggest impact on little-me

New monthly feature!

So I’ve not posted for a while and I probably won’t have my next review up for a while either (due to uniwork I’ve not even picked it up in a week despite absolutely loving it so far). So partly because I don’t want to abandon this blog for too long and partly because I think it looks like a fun idea, I’m going to take a leaf out other bloggers books and start a monthly ‘Top 5’. As always do feel free to comment, disagree with me, share your own choices, and recommend me subjects to use for future posts.

This week, top 5 children’s books that had the biggest impact on little-me (In the order that I read them) Continue reading


Filed under Not Reviews, Top 5