Ian Penney's Book of Fairy Tales

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
No doubt the fans of Penney's deliciously off-center Book of Nursery Rhymes will seek out these lushly illustrated fairy tales. Again basing his illustrations on houses, gardens and estates preserved by Great Britain's National Trust, Penney brings an antiquated, sometimes eerie, blue-blood beauty to eight mostly traditional tales. ``Rapunzel,'' ``The Three Bears'' and other classics are spiked by two unusual entries, ``The Willow Plate Story'' and ``The Legend of Finn McCool.'' Penney's storytelling is surprisingly restrained given his quirky visual sense. He cuts loose a bit in a humorous ``Princess and the Pea'' (the prince thinks that his mother has ``lots of funny old ideas about royalty that seemed a bit like hocus-pocus''), but most of his stories are straightforward and some of them are sweetened ( la the witch handily reformed by Hansel and Gretel). Similarly, the oddness and complexity of the illustrations in Nursery Rhymes seem turned down a notch here. All ages. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Standard fare pitched at youngsters for whom pretty (even precious) pictures are enough. In selecting these eight stories, Penney leans on the tried and true. His mediocre adaptations and flat perspectives do nothing for the well-known tales (``Sleeping Beauty,'' ``The Billy Goats Gruff''), and offer lackluster introductions to the lesser known (``The Legend of Finn McCool'' and ``The Willow Plate Story''). Some of the selections have been reset in gardens and estates preserved by the National Trust in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. In so doing, the tales become convenient vehicles to showcase the artist's lush Victorian-style paintings, and nothing more. The watered-down retellings consistently lack character, notably failing to honor the ethnicity of the stories' origins (no notes are provided). For a positive contrast, see Michael Rosen's South and North, East and West (Candlewick, 1992).-Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810937406
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 9.75 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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