Gi­ants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts

Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews -

Craig Phillips, Allen & Un­win (JUNE) Soft­cover $19.99 (192pp) 978-1-76011-326-1

Craig Phillips of­fers ex­cel­lent graphic adap­ta­tions of well-known and ob­scure fairy tales alike in Gi­ants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods.

Phillips in­cludes char­ac­ters who might seem fa­mil­iar but are some­what re­moved from their most pop­u­lar in­car­na­tions: a Snow White who, along with her sis­ter Rose Red, ac­tu­ally looks like a child, and the Norse thun­der god Thor as a pread­o­les­cent. Other char­ac­ters, like the witch Baba Yaga and the gi­ant Finn Mc­cool, are a bit less ubiq­ui­tous in mod­ern cul­ture, and some, like the Ja­panese boy Mo­mo­taro or the un­named girl fea­tured in the Es­to­nian tale “The Devil Bride­groom,” will be com­pletely un­known to most English read­ers. The mix of fa­mil­iar and un­fa­mil­iar el­e­ments should main­tain the in­ter­est of even the most widely read fans of fairy tales.

The book’s full-color art is bright and ma­jes­tic, with grand views of the out­doors and an oc­ca­sional cas­tle, plus con­vinc­ing de­pic­tions of a great va­ri­ety of an­i­mals and myth­i­cal crea­tures. But the art is also friendly and car­toony enough that young chil­dren won’t be too fright­ened of the crea­tures that make up the book’s ti­tle.

These sto­ries, drawn from coun­tries around the world, en­ter­tain in their own right, but they also pro­vide a glimpse of the rich­ness of world lit­er­a­ture, pos­si­bly fos­ter­ing a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the same. Gi­ants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods is rec­om­mended for schools and li­braries ev­ery­where, and if Phillips is up for it, a sec­ond art­fully cre­ated com­pi­la­tion would be wel­come.

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