Review of The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe

The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe
by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe; trans. from Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally
Intermediate    University of Minnesota    320 pp.    g
9/19    978-1-5179-0568-2    $34.95

Asbjørnsen and Moe first published their Norske folkeeventyr (“Norwegian folktales”) as a pamphlet in 1841; through the decades, they added tales and revised editions until in 1866 they reached the full contingent of sixty stories. Here, for the first time, all sixty have been translated into English (previous collections have contained about half that). With an enthusiastic foreword by Neil Gaiman and a thorough and informative translator’s note by Nunnally, the collection includes tales “about magic spells, mountain-sized trolls, resourceful princesses, and the intrepid young boy named Ash Lad.” The retellings are lively and clearly work to retain the flavor of the originals. The stories range from pourquoi tales to rousing adventures to domestic dramas to a few that, as Nunnally puts it, are “just plain odd.” A valuable collection for scholars and readers alike.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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