Review of The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales

The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales
compiled and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen
Intermediate    NYRB    136 pp.    g
11/21    978-1-68137-582-3    $24.95
e-book ed.  978-1-68137-604-2    $14.99

Here are collected (and reissued from the 1971 original) twelve literary fairy tales from several different European traditions, including Hans ­Christian ­Andersen’s “The Nightingale”; ­Barbara Leonie Picard’s “The Three Wishes”; Seumas ­MacManus’s “Feather o’ My Wing.” Readers may recognize Katharine Pyle’s “The Dreamer” because of Uri Shulevitz’s picture book The Treasure, and Ruth Manning-Sanders’s “The Seven Simons” contains the gist of The Five Chinese Brothers without the racism. The voices of these master storytellers are unfailingly distinctive and involving; frequent full-page-plus illustrations in the Provensens’ inimitable style provide robust accompaniment. A foreword by Joan Bodger (author of How the Heather Looks) explaining the ­difference between a ­literary fairy tale and a folktale is a delightful bonus.

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

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

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