Thursday, August 8, 2019

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland

Between the Worlds, compiled by Kevin Crossley-Holland,  features a wide variety of folktales from Britain and Ireland. Like most readers, I generally skip right past the Foreword but I am so glad I read this one! The author provides some fascinating background history on the origin of folktales and the reasons Europeans began to write them down.

Following the Foreword, readers will find a pronunciation guide to help them navigate some of the archaic and regional vocabulary.  The book has tales organized within the following categories:

  • Magic and Wonder
  • Adventure and Legends
  • Fairies and Little People
  • Power, Passion, and Love
  • Wits, Tricks, and Laughter
  • Ghosts

Most of the tales were totally unfamiliar to me.  I was very grateful that the author included end notes with some explanation of the origin of the tale and insight into the meaning of some.  The book offers an interesting glimpse into times long past and how previous generations viewed the world.  The title is well chosen as the tales have an "other worldly" quality.

And don't miss out on the Afterword. The author finishes off the book with a very entertaining admonition, "Why Everyone Needs to Be Able to Tell a Story."  Storytelling has certainly become a lost art and hopefully Between the Worlds will help foster a renewed interest in the telling and sharing of tales.

Because many tales are rather odd, and some a bit disturbing, I would recommend these tales for middle grades and above. I encourage parents to pre-read the volume and find some appropriate selections to enjoy reading aloud as a family.  Between Worlds will be available October 8, 2019--giving you plenty of time to grab copies for Christmas gift-giving.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Between Worlds for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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