Flashback Friday: Once Upon a Time . . .

Something a little different.  Those of you following may notice I missed posting this flashback by a few days.   I had a rather important event get in the way, which was the celebration of my daughter’s 3rd birthday.  That said, I didn’t want to proceed without adding in something for our flashback.

If you think back to when you began to read, and what books you were likely given as gifts, there were probably a few story collections among them–big beautiful books with pictures and stories to pore over for years after you received them.  Some of them may have been fairy tale collections.  This was mine:

Fairy Tales and Fables by Gyo Fujikawa (Grosset & Dunlap, unknown publication date)

Everyone, I think, should have a basic familiarity with fairy tales, fables and stories.  From the classics like Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs, to less well known tales, like Jorinda and Joringel, and the Moon Maiden, it’s one of the first exposures to storytelling, and fantasy, that children are likely to experience.  It also provides readers with a foundation of knowledge that is likely to come in handy in future reading.  But beyond that, it’s just a wonderful magical experience to discover these tales.

I recently came across this book again when looking for gifts for my daughter.  I saw this and immediately ordered it for not only my daughter, but my niece as well.  When the book arrived, I paged through it and felt the shock of seeing an old friend, or walking back into a place I’d inhabited as a child. I knew every story.  I knew the pictures by heart.  In fact, I realize that these pictures are the ones that color my mind when I think of these stories.  The entire book and it’s artwork is mapped in my mind, and unforgettable.  It really is a beautiful book, with lively illustrations, some in color, some in black and white.  They weave through the text and become part of the story, rather than set pieces to look at.

Fairy Tales and Fables by Gyo Fujikawa (Sterling, 2008)

It’s a marvelous collection, containing nursery classics like the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood and The Three Pigs (the proper version where the third pig tricks the wolf three times).  It has older classics like the Elves and the Shoemaker, Cinderella and Snow White.  It has folk tales like the Teeny Tiny Woman, and the Giant Turnip.  There’s a wealth of stories in here, all fairly short (except for Thumbelina) and easily read to a young child.  I tend to think it’s a wonderful thing to give a book like this as a gift . . . because it’s the kind of thing that just waits for the child to discover it, in their own time and at their own pace.  It can be loved and read again and again over years.  And maybe that child will grow up to be a person who loves books and stories, and in turn shares the book with her own children.

Do you have books you love to give?  Comments  welcome!


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on March 17, 2014, in Flashback Fridays, General Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My daughter and I love The MacMillan Treasury of Poetry for children…there are no limits on how many times you can enjoy the Pied Piper!

    • I’ll agree with that! I think it can be easy to overlook treasuries in our search for great stuff to recommend, but some of the collections are so useful to have, especially in that they allow a broad scope of exposure to so much.

  2. I love Jane Yolen’s gender-stereotype-busting but still traditional fairy tale collections “Not One Damsel in Distress” and “Mightier Than the Sword.” (“The Serpent Slayer” by Katrin Tchana, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman has simliar stories with better illustrations, but I like Yolen’s language better for reading aloud.) And though I’ve yet to buy it as a gift, the basic fairy tale collection that I read to my kids and recommend to every patron who comes into the library looking for that is “Fairy Tales” by Berlie Doherty, illustrated by Jane Ray. Lovely read-aloud text, emphasis on the importance of “And she said yes” instead of assuming that of course she wants to get married in every story. The illustrations are stunning and feature a multi-ethnic cast.

  1. Pingback: Flashback Friday: Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale . . . | Views From the Tesseract

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