Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland

Kevin Crossley-Holland, illus. by Frances Castle. Candlewick, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0941-9
Retold by Carnegie Medal Crossley-Holland (Norse Myths), this collection of 48 British and Irish folktales presents both familiar and obscure tales in rich, vivid prose. In his afterword, Crossley-Holland writes that his intent was to “reclothe” stories he’d heard since childhood “in clean, bright, direct language,” with a specific audience in mind: his grandchildren. Many of the selections are short enough for a read-aloud at bedtime or in a classroom. Most contain just the right amount of creepy detail or eerie magic. In “King of the Cats,” nine black felines parade down a path carrying a coffin draped in black velvet. In a “Cinderella” variant, “Three Heads in a Well,” an exiled princess is rewarded for her kindness after she cares for a trio of decapitated heads she encounters in the wood. Usefully divided into categories, such as “Magic and Wonder” and “Tricksters and Fools,” all the usual otherworldly suspects appear, including: fairies, boggarts, ghosts, changelings, and giants. Silhouette-style, black-and-white illustrations from Castle (illustrator of Space Saver) reinforce the spooky, fantastical mood, and scholars will appreciate the endnotes identifying each story’s sources. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/18/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Children's
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