counter Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women

Availability: Ready to download

For many young women, the only fairy-tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios. Once upon a time, these stories of magical transformation were meant for young women as they grew away from childhood and towards adulthood. They were told by their mothers and grandmothers and the wise women of the clan as they spun and wove and stirred their pot For many young women, the only fairy-tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios. Once upon a time, these stories of magical transformation were meant for young women as they grew away from childhood and towards adulthood. They were told by their mothers and grandmothers and the wise women of the clan as they spun and wove and stirred their pots and made their potions. The heroines of these old tales set out on a difficult road of trials to discover their true destiny. And, contrary to popular opinion, marrying a prince was not the only goal. These ancient tales of wonder and adventure are about learning to be strong, brave, kind and true-hearted, and trusting in yourself to change the world for the better. Meet the brave young women from tales of yore … Vasilisa who must try to outwit the fearsome witch Baba-Yaga. Katie Crackernuts who sets out to save her sister from dark magic. Flora, the gardener’s daughter, who marries a giant serpent to save a prince. Fairer-Than-A-Fairy, a princess who is kidnapped by an evil one-eyed enchantress. Lullala, in love with a prince cursed to be a lion by day and a man by night. Rosemary, a Scottish lass whose baby is stolen by the wicked faery folk of the Sidhe. Ursula, a princess replaced by a walking, talking automaton. These are not your usual passive princesses, waiting forlornly for their prince to come …


Compare

For many young women, the only fairy-tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios. Once upon a time, these stories of magical transformation were meant for young women as they grew away from childhood and towards adulthood. They were told by their mothers and grandmothers and the wise women of the clan as they spun and wove and stirred their pot For many young women, the only fairy-tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios. Once upon a time, these stories of magical transformation were meant for young women as they grew away from childhood and towards adulthood. They were told by their mothers and grandmothers and the wise women of the clan as they spun and wove and stirred their pots and made their potions. The heroines of these old tales set out on a difficult road of trials to discover their true destiny. And, contrary to popular opinion, marrying a prince was not the only goal. These ancient tales of wonder and adventure are about learning to be strong, brave, kind and true-hearted, and trusting in yourself to change the world for the better. Meet the brave young women from tales of yore … Vasilisa who must try to outwit the fearsome witch Baba-Yaga. Katie Crackernuts who sets out to save her sister from dark magic. Flora, the gardener’s daughter, who marries a giant serpent to save a prince. Fairer-Than-A-Fairy, a princess who is kidnapped by an evil one-eyed enchantress. Lullala, in love with a prince cursed to be a lion by day and a man by night. Rosemary, a Scottish lass whose baby is stolen by the wicked faery folk of the Sidhe. Ursula, a princess replaced by a walking, talking automaton. These are not your usual passive princesses, waiting forlornly for their prince to come …

30 review for Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Bellhouse

    A beautiful book with an uplifting message - girls can do almost anything. Having read and loved all the Andrew Lang Coloured Fairy Books I suppose I was a natural fit for this book. It didn't disappoint. me. The tales are all little-known folk tales which are retold sympathetically by Kate Forsyth.Adding to the charm of the book are the delightful and almost magical illustrations by Lorena Carrington. You will probably want to keep a copy for yourself, but this book would make a wonderful gift for A beautiful book with an uplifting message - girls can do almost anything. Having read and loved all the Andrew Lang Coloured Fairy Books I suppose I was a natural fit for this book. It didn't disappoint. me. The tales are all little-known folk tales which are retold sympathetically by Kate Forsyth.Adding to the charm of the book are the delightful and almost magical illustrations by Lorena Carrington. You will probably want to keep a copy for yourself, but this book would make a wonderful gift for most teenage girls.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    When the same ten fairytales get told and retold and told once again, you could understand why children would get the wrong impression about the whole genre. Children, heck. Listen to how grown adults talk about fairytales when they’re writing their think pieces. Over and over again you’ll hear about how such tales are stuck in the past, encouraging stereotypes, keeping women locked in place. And often this isn’t an untrue assessment. Still, do you know how many obscure fairytales are out there? When the same ten fairytales get told and retold and told once again, you could understand why children would get the wrong impression about the whole genre. Children, heck. Listen to how grown adults talk about fairytales when they’re writing their think pieces. Over and over again you’ll hear about how such tales are stuck in the past, encouraging stereotypes, keeping women locked in place. And often this isn’t an untrue assessment. Still, do you know how many obscure fairytales are out there? European fairytales (which is usually what people are talking about when they discuss the form) are often rather gross and violent and wholly, thoroughly enthralling. They are also very weird. Author Adam Gidwitz of the Tale Dark and Grimm series has a wonderful piece on his website called In Defense of Real Fairytales where he explains just how important they are for children. Yet while our appetite for them hasn’t decreased, their mediums have. Fairytales, folktales and religious tales used to make up a significant chunk of the children’s book marketplace. Now you’re lucky if you can find ten good ones in a given year. I’ve found eleven for this year so far, and one of them fills a great gaping need. Books that group together strong women from history have never been more popular, or more prevalent than they are right now. So why not crank things up a notch and hand a kid a collection of fairy tales full of strong, clever, wily female characters that have to use their brains? If you’ve waited for such a collection, brimming over with strange stories and illustrated with even stranger art, this is the book you didn’t know you deserved until it arrived. Fairytale feminism, old school style. “I wanted to give my own daughter stories that taught her that girls could be just as clever and fearless as boys, and had just as much right to be the agent of their own lives.” So writes author Kate Forsyth in her introduction to this collection of seven fairytales. Don’t look for Snow White and Cinderella here. In this book the stories have names like “The Toy Princess” and “A Bride For Me Before a Bride For You.” Exploring multiple collections, Forsyth has found and retold, in her own voice, stories of girls that go on quests, defeat villains, outwit, outsmart, and generally outdo their opponents. There’s “Katie Crackernuts” about a sister who saves a young man and a cadre of servants from the fairies, all in the hopes of rendering her sister human once more. There’s the better known titular story “Vasilisa the Wise” with Baba Yaga front and center, and the truly obscure “Rainbow Prince” where a lost prince is the one in need of rescuing. Each story is accompanied by marvelous digital photography that combines natural elements, rendering everything in evocative silhouettes. Fairytale feminism isn’t a new concept. I’ve actually seen a couple books over the last years tackle the idea. Last year Power to the Princess: 15 Favorite Fairytales Retold With Girl Power by Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu took the usual suspects that Disney would usual toy with and rewrote them with a more empowering slant. And this year there was Cinderella Liberator by Rebecca Solnit which retold the old story (with Arthur Rackham’s original art, which was a nice touch) but through a distinctly feminist lens. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but I think what Forsyth is reminding us with Vasilisa is that while it’s perfectly fine to take these stories and make them our own, you don’t always have to re-invent the wheel. Books like this one, or like Fiesta Femenina: Celebrating Women of Mexican Folklore, retold by Mary-Joan Gerson, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, show us that strong female characters have always been around. They just don’t always get the loudest press. The selection process for these tales was fascinating to me from the get-go. Fortunately, Forsyth and Carrington have no qualms about giving you background information on each tale, crediting where Forsyth found it , why it was selected, and why Carrington chose to illustrate it the way she did afterwards. With her Doctorate of Creative Arts in fairy tale studies, Forsyth’s knowledge of the form has led her to search in collections by lesser known fairytale collections like those by Norwegian Peter Asbjornsen or one of Andrew Lang’s many Fairy Books. Seven, as it turns out, appears to be the perfect number of tales to select for a book of this length and size. You are, of course, left wondering what ended up on the cutting room floor. What stories almost made it? Which ones were too similar to the ones already selected? I can’t speak to that, but I can speak to two choices Forsyth made that I truly appreciated. The first was how she chose to rewrite some of these stories. First off, she’s transparent with her audience. In the story “Katie Crackernuts” the original Katie didn’t bother saving the servants lost in the fairy hill. Forsyth gives her that job, then explains what she, as an author, changed along the way. Many times, she doesn’t change anything, but as long as she explains when she does, I don’t mind a jot. The second choice I really liked was the order of these stories. When Forsyth and Carrington discovered “The Toy Princess”, they had to know that it would be the one to finish out the book. But how to begin? Well, since Vasilisa’s story is probably better known than the others in this collection that made it a natural jumping off point. And it all comes together. And speaking of coming together the silhouettes of this book quite literally do just that. Carrington’s digitally assembled photography is constructed out of separate photos, montaged together. Everything stands in dark silhouette and so adept is she at this form that she can make animals or people or fantastical creatures out of real bones and bracken, sticks and twigs and ferns and flowers. If your standard fairytale forces its characters to enter strange woods and forests, then it makes quite a bit of sense that your art would convey that environment. According to the Foreword, Forsyth purchased a piece of fairytale art from Carrington once, and when she wrote her to express her fandom, a friendship was born. Together, in tandem, the two women put this book together. Generally speaking, this is not how a book for children gets made. Editors very much prefer to pair authors with artists of their own choosing, but in this particular case I cannot imagine an editor that would be able to turn Carrington’s art away. Just look at that lion in “The Singing, Springing Lark”, with a mane like coral, a cattail like a cat’s tail, and knees enveloped in uncurled fungi. Look at the image of the mother in “The Stolen Child” falling down the cliff with two suspicious figures above her looking on and the babe’s chubby little hand reaching out for where she once was. This art either gets the tone of the book right or sets the tone. I haven't figure out which of the two it is yet. For the record, there are decades and decades worth of literary scholars out there willing to tell you precisely why fairytales are important and why we tell them. They’ll explain to you at length what it does for a child to see monsters put into symbolic terms. They’ll use words like “archetypal structure” and “psychoanalytic”. So why are collections of strong female characters in fairytale and folklore collections published so rarely these days? Plenty of them exist but in the wake of all these collected biographies of female heroes, wouldn’t it be desirable to have a couple collections of women of a fantastical nature as well? None of the women and girls in this book is the anti-Cinderella. A lot of them fall in love at first sight, and many marry without much forethought. They also protect their sisters, use their brains (and sometimes whips), create, defend, and ultimately win. Because once in a while, it’s nice to see the lady win. Don’t you think? For ages 6 and up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    It’s no great secret that I am a big fan of Kate Forsyth, her fairy-tale inspired novels for adults being among my favourite and most treasured reads. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a retelling of seven fairy-tales that are either little known or have been to a certain extent lost to the modern world. They feature strong and brave young women who save princes instead of the other way around, demonstrate admirable traits, and show that self-belief is a superpower to be It’s no great secret that I am a big fan of Kate Forsyth, her fairy-tale inspired novels for adults being among my favourite and most treasured reads. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a retelling of seven fairy-tales that are either little known or have been to a certain extent lost to the modern world. They feature strong and brave young women who save princes instead of the other way around, demonstrate admirable traits, and show that self-belief is a superpower to be reckoned with. Each tale is condensed in a way that can be enjoyed in a single sitting – or as a bedtime story. I particularly love stories that present faeries as dark and otherworldly, rather than as sweetness and light. They seem more credible, to me, and more in tune with ancient legends. My favourite from this volume is The Stolen Child, a tale that celebrates the love of a mother and her child, and demonstrates the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect that bond. While this was my favourite, I enjoyed each and every story. They were all so wonderful, a true celebration of girl power that I appreciate wholeheartedly. Kate’s talent with fairy-tale retellings truly knows no bounds. In her illustrator notes, Lorena Carrington points out that the illustrations are made from many separate photographs – some contain over 70, one in particular more than 100 – montaged together to create each final image. Everything is photographed against a backlight to create a silhouette, then digitally reassembled and placed within multilayered photographic backgrounds. The human figures are made from themselves, while the wild creatures are built up from tiny fragments of the landscape – twigs, bones and leaves all gathered from her backyard and bushland. She explains that throughout the book, the young women represented are her daughters Mari and Rosa, but in ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’, Kate’s daughter Ella was the model for the images. The overall effect is quite stunning, you can just gaze at the pictures for so long, there’s so much to see and marvel at. The end result is a beautiful book with the most unique and striking illustrations. Congratulations to Kate Forsyth, Lorena Carrington, and Serenity Press for the creation of such a treasured book. Thanks is extended to Serenity Press for providing me with a copy of Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women for review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nadia King

    Best-selling author, Kate Forsyth retells seven forgotten ancient stories with strong and wise female heroes in her book, Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women. The female heroes in the book are role models for girls growing up today. These ancient tales of wonder and adventure are about learning to be strong, brave, kind and true-hearted, and trusting in yourself to change the world for the better. –Kate Forsyth Forsyth’s stories are accompanied by powerful and sometimes dark ill Best-selling author, Kate Forsyth retells seven forgotten ancient stories with strong and wise female heroes in her book, Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women. The female heroes in the book are role models for girls growing up today. These ancient tales of wonder and adventure are about learning to be strong, brave, kind and true-hearted, and trusting in yourself to change the world for the better. –Kate Forsyth Forsyth’s stories are accompanied by powerful and sometimes dark illustrations from the talented, Lorena Carrington. The result is a gorgeous book full of symbolism and metaphor and hidden meanings. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a book of stories for young and old. The stories contained are not sanitised tales where princesses sleep until their princes come to rescue them from their slumber–Forsyth’s characters fight the monsters and save their princes. Stories included: Vasilisa the Wise – a Russian variant of Cinderella with a terrifying Baba-Yaga. Katie Crackernuts – based on an oral Orkney tale. A brave and clever girl saves her sister and a young lord. Katie’s solidarity with her sister is heart-warming. A Bride for Me Before a Bride for You – based on a nineteenth century Norwegian fairytale and tells the story of a young bride who bravely outwits a paint serpent. The Rainbow Prince – based on an eighteenth century French fairytale and tells the tale of a princess kidnapped by an old and wicked fairy. The Singing, Springing Lark (my personal favourite) – a beautiful variant of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I love the commitment of the girl who followed her husband (turned into a white dove by sorcery) for seven years by following a trail of blood and white feathers. The Toy Princess – this is the classic princess story turned upside down–the princess loses her royal status and finds freedom in honest work and a simple life. The Stolen Child – based on a Scottish oral folktale tells the story of a young mother who cleverly fights for her infant child. There are no knights in shining armour, no glass slipper or stolen kisses: just the ‘wild love and longing’ of a mother for her child. With its strong focus on female independence, it is a fairytale I’m very glad to pass onto my daughters. –Lorena Carrington Bravo Kate Forsyth, Lorena Carrington and Serenity Press for giving the world such a beautiful book! Theresa Smith of Australian Women Writers recently interviewed Kate Forsyth about Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women. You can read the interview here. Note: I loved this book so much I have bought six copies to share with the girls in my life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    (Eileen) Dunn

    Reading fairy tales as an adult is like giving a child sweets! I felt utterly spoilt as I indulged in Kate Forsyth's retellings of the stories in 'Vasilisa the Wise... '. Equally compelling as the narrative are Lorena Carrington's superb illustrations. Some of the best bedtime stories I've read in a long time, this is a beautiful, quality edition. The hardcover book and reproduction of the images that I simply had to touch has become a favourite. I especially like the modern take on what can be Reading fairy tales as an adult is like giving a child sweets! I felt utterly spoilt as I indulged in Kate Forsyth's retellings of the stories in 'Vasilisa the Wise... '. Equally compelling as the narrative are Lorena Carrington's superb illustrations. Some of the best bedtime stories I've read in a long time, this is a beautiful, quality edition. The hardcover book and reproduction of the images that I simply had to touch has become a favourite. I especially like the modern take on what can be learned from Kate's versions. I can't wait for my youngest granddaughter, just four years old at this point in time, to be old enough to read and enjoy the stories.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The stories of seven brave young women.’ Once upon a time, in a century now passed, I read many fairy tales. I loved tales of magic transformation, of tricksy spirits and of success against the odds. I worried a little about the surfeit of evil stepmothers, and the fact that the goal for most girls seemed focussed on finding (or transforming) a prince. Sigh. In this collection of seven tales selected by Kate Forsyth and Lorena Carrington, these young women are brave, clever and make a difference ‘The stories of seven brave young women.’ Once upon a time, in a century now passed, I read many fairy tales. I loved tales of magic transformation, of tricksy spirits and of success against the odds. I worried a little about the surfeit of evil stepmothers, and the fact that the goal for most girls seemed focussed on finding (or transforming) a prince. Sigh. In this collection of seven tales selected by Kate Forsyth and Lorena Carrington, these young women are brave, clever and make a difference to the world they each inhabit. Ms Forsyth has retold each story and Ms Carrington has provided the most perfect illustrations to accompany. The seven stories are: Vasilisa the Wise in which Vasilisa needs to outwit the witch Baba-Yaga if she is to survive; Katie Crackernuts who wants to save her sister; A Bride for me before a Bride for you about Flora, the gardener’s daughter, who marries a giant serpent in order to save a prince; The Rainbow Prince in which Princess Fairer-Than-A-Fairy is kidnapped by an evil enchantress; The Singing, Springing Lark about Lullala who is in love with a cursed prince who can only be in human form at night; The Stolen Child the story of Rosemary seeking to reclaim her baby after the baby is stolen by the faery folk of the Sidhe; and The Toy Princess in which Ursula the princess is replaced by an automaton. I don’t remember any of these stories from my reading last century. I would have loved them then, as I love them now. My favourite on this reading is The Singing, Springing Lark because of the efforts she makes to try to save her prince. But I will read these stories again: each of the young women is brave and strong. Each believes in herself. And the illustrations are perfect. In her notes, Ms Carrington writes that the illustrations have been made from many photographs. One particular illustration involved a montage of more than 100 photographs! This is a book to treasure, to share and to reread. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brydie Wright

    I love it when a book catches your eye and you think, "I'm going to love that book", then you read it and you really do love that book. It doesn't always happen as some books don't always live up to the hype or the cover but this one does. You can't go too gar wrong with Kate Forsyth but her partnership with photographic illustrator Lorena Carrington and Serenity Press takes this book to another level. I love it so much that I reviewed this book for Enthralled magazine issue 2 (March 2018). You I love it when a book catches your eye and you think, "I'm going to love that book", then you read it and you really do love that book. It doesn't always happen as some books don't always live up to the hype or the cover but this one does. You can't go too gar wrong with Kate Forsyth but her partnership with photographic illustrator Lorena Carrington and Serenity Press takes this book to another level. I love it so much that I reviewed this book for Enthralled magazine issue 2 (March 2018). You can read my full review at: https://www.enthralledmagazine.com/va....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    Short and sweet female-focused fairy tales with beautiful pictures. In these stories, the princess always saves the prince. It was nice to see a book so focused on telling stories that girls can relate to.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marie McLean

    I bought this beautiful book as a birthday gift for my daughter, but in reality, it was as much for me as it was for her. I regret that only one book survived my childhood. I don’t know what happened to the others. Or whether in fact I had any, other than library books. The one book that did survive is a fairy tale book – Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales. A beautifully illustrated, non-Disney collection of stories that I read over and over as a child, delighting in the colourful pictures. If only I bought this beautiful book as a birthday gift for my daughter, but in reality, it was as much for me as it was for her. I regret that only one book survived my childhood. I don’t know what happened to the others. Or whether in fact I had any, other than library books. The one book that did survive is a fairy tale book – Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales. A beautifully illustrated, non-Disney collection of stories that I read over and over as a child, delighting in the colourful pictures. If only one book from my own daughter’s childhood was to survive, Vasilisa The Wise And Other Tales of Brave Young Women would have to be it. Vasilisa The Wise is a stunningly illustrated book, written for girls who are on the cusp of womanhood. It is a retelling of lost fairy tales, where the stakes are high, and the girl is always the hero. Faeries in this book are revengeful, powerful, nasty creatures. The stories are dark, as fairy tales were originally intended to be, and in each one, a brave young girl outwits the dark forces with intelligence, determination, and kindness. She is the one who saves the prince, or a best friend, or family member, and you can’t help but feel that if these girls were running the world, we would have nothing to fear. The author, Kate Forsyth, is a renowned storyteller. Her novels for adults are widely acclaimed and heavily researched, yet the historical details that convincingly plant the reader in another world are so cleverly woven into the story, you don’t notice they’re there. I loved her novel Bitter Greens, which retells the story of Rapunzel. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to read this version, having grown up in the era of Disney’s Tangled. My daughter has always preferred books with a strong visual component, and one of my favourite things about Vasilisa The Wise are the exquisite illustrations by Lorena Carrington. They are made from many separate photographs, montaged together to create each final image. Some of them contain over 70 individual photographs. The young women in the photographs are the illustrator’s and author’s daughters – something which, as a mother, makes my heart melt. The illustrations lend an other-wordly, whimsical and captivating feel to the book – it would not be complete without them. After each story, Lorena tells how she created the images for that particular tale. There are seven separate fairytales in the book (Kate believes that seven is mystical, magical fairy number), and each is short enough to be read in its entirety in one sitting – perfect for bed time. The stories are lyrically written, with a touch of rhyme and repetition in chants and spells, and sound lovely read out loud. I was lucky to hear Kate recite the story of The Singing, Springing Lark at the Perth Writers’ Festival, and I have to say, she is a very talented oral storyteller. In her foreword for the book, Kate Forsyth writes: For many young women, the only fairy tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios. Singing teapots, dancing mice and heroines with wasp-thin waists and sweet voices abound. And if they have encountered other fairy tales apart from the Disney collection, they are almost certainly stories that have been told by men. Charles Perrault. The Brothers Grimm. Hans Christian Anderson. The result has been that many wonderful old tales have been drained of their feminine power. Against a backdrop of dark forests, ogres and faeries, witches and wizards, and kingdoms and castles, Kate and Lorena give young girls back their power, inspiring wonder and imagination in the next generation of women. Vasilisa The Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a truly beautiful book, and a clever collaboration between two very talented artists. It was released in December 2017, and is published by boutique publisher, Serenity Press. I bought my own copy at the Perth Writers’ Festival, where it sold out – but you can purchase a copy from the publisher (link in my blog post at mariemclean.com, where you'll also see a couple of cute photographs...)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    https://ashleighmeikle.com.au/2017/12... https://ashleighmeikle.com.au/2017/12...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jody Ellis

    Lovely little stories that begin with an overview and history of the tale. You then get the story and finish with some notes. A fresh take getting back to the roots of tales long lost. It's really nice to have women take the lead too. I hate how modern fairy tales have warped women into helpless bimbos drooling over Prince Charmings who realistically don't do much to impress other than offer a dazzling smile and have a crown on their head. My only regret is that there weren't more tales to be ha Lovely little stories that begin with an overview and history of the tale. You then get the story and finish with some notes. A fresh take getting back to the roots of tales long lost. It's really nice to have women take the lead too. I hate how modern fairy tales have warped women into helpless bimbos drooling over Prince Charmings who realistically don't do much to impress other than offer a dazzling smile and have a crown on their head. My only regret is that there weren't more tales to be has.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I really enjoyed this collection of fairytales featuring heroines who don't wait to be saved, but instead take control of their situations with agency and determination. The stories are enchantingly written and capture the fairytale atmosphere well. The intriguing illustrations are well suited to the stories, and make a refreshing change from the images of bright cartoonish Disney princesses which are so ubiquitous. While my local library has categorised this as 'Young adult fiction', I think it I really enjoyed this collection of fairytales featuring heroines who don't wait to be saved, but instead take control of their situations with agency and determination. The stories are enchantingly written and capture the fairytale atmosphere well. The intriguing illustrations are well suited to the stories, and make a refreshing change from the images of bright cartoonish Disney princesses which are so ubiquitous. While my local library has categorised this as 'Young adult fiction', I think it would be enjoyed by younger children and adults alike.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    These are some of the best fairy tales I have ever read! I have never heard any of them until I read this book and they were amazing! This book is a keeper you will want to read it again and again. The pictures are so beautiful you would want to hang them on your wall. I have read fairy tales all my life but nothing compares to these wonderful tales.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily Carlyn

    Oh, this is stunning - both in story and illustrations. The style of illustration - photography, is beautiful. I really enjoyed the stories. It felt fun and light to read fairy tales again! Going to add to my library collection.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Corrinne Hills

    Love, love, love. Proper fairytales told with language that speaks of history handed down over centuries and generations. Full of love and yearning, bravery, faith, trust and hope. Not glitterised and commercialised Disneyesque travesties. These will be the fairytales I tell my granddaughter.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James McArdle

    “What is less the image of an individual of flesh and bones than his simple silhouette? And yet, what does it not say? There is gold there, but the purest!” muses Johann Kaspar Lavater in his second volume of ‘Essays on Physiognomy’. It is in this ambiguous borderland of the silhouette, a netherworld, that we find Lorena Carrington‘s imagery. Forsyth's fantasy writing has a planetary following and her alchemical amalgam of history and fiction is outstanding, but I would like here to concentrate o “What is less the image of an individual of flesh and bones than his simple silhouette? And yet, what does it not say? There is gold there, but the purest!” muses Johann Kaspar Lavater in his second volume of ‘Essays on Physiognomy’. It is in this ambiguous borderland of the silhouette, a netherworld, that we find Lorena Carrington‘s imagery. Forsyth's fantasy writing has a planetary following and her alchemical amalgam of history and fiction is outstanding, but I would like here to concentrate on the occult way that illustration works in this book. While Carrington's work is widely appreciated amongst the community of folk tale scholars and authors, it is no fairy story from Disney’s Fantasyland. In ‘Dance Macabre’, one of her previous artworks from before she took up illustration, the encounter, of a vigorous young girl with a wraith made of leaves and twigs, is as of flesh and blood with crumbling phantom in a storm of dust. Death is a fragile apparition, and yet appears mighty. The young girl in her innocence twirls in its hands, but she may be leading, or taming, or dismembering, the devil; we do not know if they struggle or dance. Any parent would recoil at the spectre of young death the vision provokes, but with a puff of breath, the dismay, and this image of dust and dry leaves may be blown away. Carrington’s work straddles art and illustration, has been exhibited widely and now, in her collaboration with author Kate Forsyth, illustrates their ‘Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women’ (Serenity Press). It follows a long tradition of the use of silhouettes in the literature of fantasy. An example is her use of the silhouette to make of the fairy tale an allegory for puberty and adolescence to deal with the sense of change at that new stage in life. As a child we may have formed a steadfast idea of who we are in the world, but for those entering adolescence, Carrington says, “our sense of self can be all but annihilated. For a long time it’s a dance between the two. As we pull away from childhood, we have to rebuild ourselves, trying on all sorts of skins; cobbling together influences and ideas until we remake ourselves as adults. We are bone and feather, leaf and twig; a fragile tangle of scavenged treasures.” Such artistic and life insights brought Forsyth and Carrington together. Carrington finds the material of her silhouettes and layered backgrounds in the landscape around us, the bush in Central Victoria surrounding Castlemaine where she lives. For instance, from bones discovered by friends who brought them to her wrapped in a scarf, she painstakingly reassembled the skeleton of a fox on her light box, with the help of a book of animal anatomy. This she photographed, then undertook further, digital, reconstruction in Photoshop to make The Bridge of Skulls, an illustration of Forsyth’s satisfyingly sinister interpretation of the French eighteenth-century tale The Rainbow Prince. What is rare about this book is the extent of sisterly collaboration between author and illustrator, artists so often kept at arms-length from (or unknown to) each other in the industry. Carrington’s pictures are a suggestive shadow of Forsyth’s rich retellings of traditional tales of canny, self-actualising women.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leife Shallcross

    Oh my God, I love this book. Kate Forsyth's magical words and Lorena Carrington's jewel-like illustrations together create a truly bewitching new treasure trove of fairy tales. I've discovered a couple of new tales, as well as some different versions of old favourites. And Lorena Carrington's illustrations are just something else. I loved them so much I now have a framed print of Vasilisa outside Baba Yaga's hut on my wall. *happy sigh*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tien

    Loved this book so much! I loved the beautiful pictures and these stories of incredibly strong girls. They are kind, resilient and wise. Highly recommend to share with your friends and family.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    My 7 year old daughter and I devoured these stories! We loved reading about these girls and how they worked hard to solve problems. The problems were always solved with kindness and intelligence; never with trickery or cruelty (those antics were always saved for the evil witches or king of the fairies). Its so much fun to read a fairytale! And it is so well written, my daughter devoured every description. We particularly loved Vasalisa's story; she escapes the evil Baba-Yaga's hut because the do My 7 year old daughter and I devoured these stories! We loved reading about these girls and how they worked hard to solve problems. The problems were always solved with kindness and intelligence; never with trickery or cruelty (those antics were always saved for the evil witches or king of the fairies). Its so much fun to read a fairytale! And it is so well written, my daughter devoured every description. We particularly loved Vasalisa's story; she escapes the evil Baba-Yaga's hut because the dog didn't bite her (for Vasalisa had give it a bone), the cat didn't scratch her (because Vasalisa had given it a bowl of cream), the gate didn't lock her in (because Vasalisa had oiled it) and because the tree's limbs didn't whip her (because Vasalisa had watered it). We also loved the Norwegian Folktale "A Bride for me Before a Bride for You" -- long story short a gardener's daughter marries a serpent so her friend (the serpent's younger twin brother) could marry. The eldest had to marry before the youngest, hence "a bride for me before a bride for you!" She eventually breaks the curse with nothing short of love and affection, following her beloved around the globe for 7 years. We went to bed reading it, we woke up reading it. Your children will love it!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Mojica

    This is my favorite Usborne book of all time!! My girls (ages 8 and 9) were enthralled by the faery stories in this book. They are super creepy. The 8 yo was creeped out a couple of times. But the creepiness and mystery were so fascinating to them that they would beg me to read another story after each one. This book inspired us to find other anthologies of faery stories, myths, legends, and oral folklore.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris Nusskern

    I am honestly very impressed with this book. I love fairy tales, but am not a huge fan of stories showing that princesses need to be saved. This book gives us lesser known tales — ones of young women who learn to trust themselves through challenges that require bravery. I especially love the relationships in these stories that are often overlooked in other fairy tales, such as the love between two stepsisters. The last story, The Toy Princess, flips the fairy tale princess theme on its head by t I am honestly very impressed with this book. I love fairy tales, but am not a huge fan of stories showing that princesses need to be saved. This book gives us lesser known tales — ones of young women who learn to trust themselves through challenges that require bravery. I especially love the relationships in these stories that are often overlooked in other fairy tales, such as the love between two stepsisters. The last story, The Toy Princess, flips the fairy tale princess theme on its head by transforming a princess into an ordinary, *happy* girl. The illustrations that accompany the tales are equally striking, and unique. They are appropriately dark and mysterious, and I love the depth given by the multiple layers of photographs. They are truly pieces of art, and deserve real recognition of their own. Both the author and the illustrator provide their thoughts and background for each story, and I enjoyed knowing where each story originated and why it was chosen for this collection. In fact, I marked several of their references for my own future reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Haines

    Ancient folk tales beautifully illustrated Lorena Carrington and lovingly retold by Kate Forsyth. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The illustrations are stunning: layered photographs, mostly silhouettes against ethereal backdrops. They enhance the fairy tale atmosphere throughout each story. The tales themselves come from European countries, but include seven tales that don’t quite fit the established princess-in-distress-who-must-marry-a-heroic-rescuer stereotype. There’s plenty of hasty romance and happy serendipity, but this is balanced by quick-thinking, observant, courageous heroines who might fancy a bit of romance, b The illustrations are stunning: layered photographs, mostly silhouettes against ethereal backdrops. They enhance the fairy tale atmosphere throughout each story. The tales themselves come from European countries, but include seven tales that don’t quite fit the established princess-in-distress-who-must-marry-a-heroic-rescuer stereotype. There’s plenty of hasty romance and happy serendipity, but this is balanced by quick-thinking, observant, courageous heroines who might fancy a bit of romance, but who also rescue children and sisters and friends. I also really (really) appreciated the introductions to each story. Just a bit about where the story originated. And then even better were the author and illustrator notes after EACH story. I’m a total sucker for a good author’s note, so this was a little bit of heaven. Plus I learned that sheep are camera shy. Coming so close on the heels of Invisible Women, I can’t help wondering what our world might look like if fewer of our fairy tales were written by and for men. This book offers a hint.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shane Harcombe

    First book of the holidays! This is a beautiful, inspiring collection of fairy tales. The tales chosen here are not the ones we are all familiar with, but instead tales and variations that have been lost over time. The characters we meet are also not the sweet, singing princesses waiting to be rescued that we often see in Disney movies, but curious, resourceful and brave young girls determined to take their destiny into their own hands. I thoroughly enjoyed this short collection of 7 tales. The s First book of the holidays! This is a beautiful, inspiring collection of fairy tales. The tales chosen here are not the ones we are all familiar with, but instead tales and variations that have been lost over time. The characters we meet are also not the sweet, singing princesses waiting to be rescued that we often see in Disney movies, but curious, resourceful and brave young girls determined to take their destiny into their own hands. I thoroughly enjoyed this short collection of 7 tales. The stories are unfamiliar and intriguing and they are wonderfully illustrated, with dark, haunting photos adding atmosphere throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed every story and am keen to share them with my classes next year.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lissa Sloan

    This is a collection of seven tales that turn the stereotypical "princess waiting for rescue" theme on its head. They feature sisters, mothers, and maidens doggedly pursuing their goals with strength and heart. Some of these were (to me) old favorites like Vasilisa the Wise and The Singing, Springing Lark. Others were completely new. I especially enjoyed discovering The Stolen Child and the literary tale The Toy Princess. The tales are retold by Kate Forsyth, one of my favorite fairy tale writer This is a collection of seven tales that turn the stereotypical "princess waiting for rescue" theme on its head. They feature sisters, mothers, and maidens doggedly pursuing their goals with strength and heart. Some of these were (to me) old favorites like Vasilisa the Wise and The Singing, Springing Lark. Others were completely new. I especially enjoyed discovering The Stolen Child and the literary tale The Toy Princess. The tales are retold by Kate Forsyth, one of my favorite fairy tale writers, and author and illustrator notes are included for each tale. Lorena Carrington's silhouette illustrations are gorgeous and imaginative. Highly recommended for the fairy tale fan!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hopkinson

    I cannot fully express how magical this book is. The choice of tales, the storytelling voice, the illustrations which remind me of Jan Pienkowski and Lotte Reiniger... Even the feel of the book in my hand. There were tales I had heard before and ones I hadn't. I like it that there are little notes on each story by the author and illustrator, saying why they chose the story, why they like it, and how they worked together on it. And I'm just so glad someone made a book to prove false the notion th I cannot fully express how magical this book is. The choice of tales, the storytelling voice, the illustrations which remind me of Jan Pienkowski and Lotte Reiniger... Even the feel of the book in my hand. There were tales I had heard before and ones I hadn't. I like it that there are little notes on each story by the author and illustrator, saying why they chose the story, why they like it, and how they worked together on it. And I'm just so glad someone made a book to prove false the notion that all girls in fairy tales just sit about waiting for a prince to rescue them. They totally don't! In fact, often the prince is waiting for a girl (or boy) to rescue him. Thank you, Kate and Lorena!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carol Hu

    A bit silly to say it as a legal adult but I fell in love with these fairy tales! It is a children's book but I could learn so much more from them than the disney stories. The twist/plot of the stories are also my favourites where a perfect ending is not just a princess getting married to a prince but to find who we truly are and what is important to us. What a blessing to have stumbled across this book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miz Lizzie

    A really lovely collection of original re-tellings of fairy tales featuring independent, fierce young heroines. Besides the frequently retold and/or anthologized tales of Vasilisa and Kate Crackernuts, plenty of wonderful lesser-known tales are included. The artwork is evocative. The re-tellings are superbly done. Chatty notes by both author and illustrator provide source material, information on changes and additions, and personal connections to the stories. The author is well qualified as both A really lovely collection of original re-tellings of fairy tales featuring independent, fierce young heroines. Besides the frequently retold and/or anthologized tales of Vasilisa and Kate Crackernuts, plenty of wonderful lesser-known tales are included. The artwork is evocative. The re-tellings are superbly done. Chatty notes by both author and illustrator provide source material, information on changes and additions, and personal connections to the stories. The author is well qualified as both a scholar of fairy tales and an oral storyteller. The perfect collection for anyone wanting to read or tell traditional stories of young women seeking their fortune and battling their demons on their way to their happy ending, which might or might not include a prince, but he's beside the point.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    A wonderful collection of fairy stories that beg to be read aloud.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    A perfect book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.