Magic & Mischief: Tales from Cornwall

Overview

Long before Cornwall was inhabited by humans, it was home to a myriad of mysterious creatures. This collection of stories shares the secrets of the giants, Spriggans, Knackers, and changelings who inhabited and ruled the moors, mountains, and seacoasts of Cornwall. Each shivery tale is preceeded by an introduction to Cornwall's wondrous inhabitants, and is followed by helpful tips on what to do should you encounter one of these unearthly creatures.

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Overview

Long before Cornwall was inhabited by humans, it was home to a myriad of mysterious creatures. This collection of stories shares the secrets of the giants, Spriggans, Knackers, and changelings who inhabited and ruled the moors, mountains, and seacoasts of Cornwall. Each shivery tale is preceeded by an introduction to Cornwall's wondrous inhabitants, and is followed by helpful tips on what to do should you encounter one of these unearthly creatures.

A collection of stories detailing the charms, powers, and adventures, each about "some kind of magical being, good or bad" from the small corner of England known as Cornwall.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"well chosen and retold in a lively manner that makes them beg to be read or told aloud... a thoroughly pleasing folktale collection" School Library Journal

Storytellers and fans of international folktales will delight in this collection, which introduces piskies, spriggans, knackers, and other characters of classic Cornish lore. Drawn from stories collected by nineteenth-century English authors Robert Hunt and William Buttrell, Climo's retellings are fresh and creative, peppered with Cornish words and vernacular dialogue to capture a unique sense of place. "Duffy and Bucca," a Rumplestiltskin-esque tale of wits, and "The Cornish Teeny-Tiny" illustrate how familiar folktales become culturally specific; the romantic, cautionary "Mermaid of Zennor" reflects Cornwall's seacoastal associations and fishing history. Climo's sense of humor, timing, and detail will keep readers engaged and in suspense till each tale's satisfying conclusion. Anthony Bacon Venti's jewel-toned illustrations are expressive and modern, evocative of popular graphic-novel artwork. Each of the 10 tales is preceded by an introduction, and is followed by related myths and superstitions. From humorous to shivery, these fascinating stories of enchantment, which are enhanced by a general preface, author's note, glossary, and list of Cornish numbers and their magical significance, are a nice choice for international or Halloween story times.
Booklist, ALA

The legends of Cornwall come alive in this collection of tales about dull-witted giants, foot-tall piskies who tend to horses, mean and mischievious spriggans who lay horrible spells and turn mild-mannered babies into ill-tempered changelings, playful knackers who assist miners with their tiny pickaxes, kind-hearted fairies, ghosts of drowned sailors, and witches who were scattered throughout the Cornish countryside like raisins in a loaf of bread.' Climo (The Persian Cinderella, p. 628, etc.) includes a glossary of the words sprinkled in bold type throughout the book, a colorful map, plus wicked hints on how to scare off spriggans, ward off witches, and bring about luck or love with magical number combinations. Venti's full-color paintings bring the strange physical attributes of these unearthly creatures to life. The knackers' crooked noses and glowing yellow eyes, not to mention the spriggans' pointed ears, wart-covered faces, and withered bodies will send chills up children's spines. Perfect for storyhour, this collection should be read aloud by dim flashlight on a stormy evening. Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This is one of the richest choices for reading aloud because of the variety of tales taken from the lore of the Cornwall coast. Climo's voice is full of mischief and merriment with a wee bit of scariness tossed in to please the daring wee one. "Duffy and the Bucca-boo" is a witty Rumplestiltskin style tale. "The Changeling of Brea Vean" will have every listener wondering how Janey can endure the imp that she thinks is her child. Will she get her own baby back again? The haunting "Mermaid of Zennor" casts a spell that makes you believe in true love. Each of the ten tales is preceded by an introduction and followed by related myths and superstitions, but throughout, it's the salty tone of Climo and her love of the tales that resonates with readers.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-These tales are well chosen and retold in a lively manner that makes them beg to be read or told aloud. Each one centers on a magical being, some easily recognizable (giants, fairies, witches, sea people) and others less well-known and peculiar to the area, such as the Knackers who live deep within Cornish mines, the helpful Piskies, and the spiteful Spriggans. Every tale is preceded by an explanatory note about the magical creature that appears in it, followed by a page of local lore and folk sayings. Variations of familiar stories appear, such as "The Cornish Teeny-Tiny" and "Duffy and the Bucca," (the Bucca is a devil-like creature, but the devil himself "never crossed the Tamar River into Cornwall"). In an afterword, Climo credits the 19th-century collections of tales in which she found these stories and the old "droll-tellers" from whom they were originally collected. A glossary of Cornish words is appended, but there is no pronunciation guide. Full-color maps on the endpapers and Venti's atmospheric paintings that accompany each story round out a thoroughly pleasing folktale collection that will provide storytellers with lively variants of old favorites and interesting new selections to add to their repertoire. Children will enjoy these stories for their twists of plot and mischievous fairy folk.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The legends of Cornwall come alive in this collection of tales about dull-witted giants, foot-tall piskies who tend to horses, mean and mischievious spriggans who lay horrible spells and turn mild-mannered babies into ill-tempered changelings, playful knackers who assist miners with their tiny pickaxes, kind-hearted fairies, ghosts of drowned sailors, and witches "who were scattered throughout the Cornish countryside like raisins in a loaf of bread." Climo (The Persian Cinderella, p. 628, etc.) includes a glossary of the words sprinkled in bold type throughout the book, a colorful map, plus wicked hints on how to scare off spriggans, ward off witches, and bring about luck or love with magical number combinations. Venti's full-color paintings bring the strange physical attributes of these unearthly creatures to life. The knackers' crooked noses and glowing yellow eyes, not to mention the spriggans' pointed ears, wart-covered faces, and withered bodies will send chills up children's spines. Perfect for storyhour, this collection should be read aloud by dim flashlight on a stormy evening. (map, glossary) (Folklore. 7-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395869680
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 7 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Bacon Venti lives in Cushing, Maine.
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