Beloved Books: Brittany’s Favorite Fairy-Tale Book

June 22, 2021

If you were at our digital fairy-tale salon at the end of May, you’ll know that I have an absolutely adored book of fairy tales. When I was little, reading was a staple of our evenings. My mom, sister, and I would curl up in our bed to read a book – often this one – and our dear gray cat would join us (and bite the edges of the book if he felt like he wasn’t getting enough attention!) It’s one of my dearest childhood memories, and I spoke quite a bit about it at the salon.

Today, though, I thought I would share some of the beautiful illustrations from the book, as Sara did recently with one of her favorites. They’re some of my all time favorites, and I don’t see them online nearly as often as I should! The book is called My World of Fairy Tales: Stories from Grimm, Perrault, and Andersen retold by Jane Carruth. It was first published in 1976, but our edition is from 1978. We bought it at a flea market at my school, probably sometime around 1990. I’m pretty sure it had a dust cover at some point (and a spine, for that matter!), but I have no idea what happened to either!

Each storytellers’ tales are illustrated by a different artist or two: G. & S. Tourrett do Charles Perrault’s tales, Mary Dinsdale does the Brothers Grimm stories, and John Speirs does the Hans Christian Andersen stories. Each style is completely different, and really fits the style of the storyteller in a wonderful way.

Even the motifs throughout are beautiful (and weirdly formative for me… I will forever love images of flowers and jewels because of this image!)

Here are a few of my other favorites from the book –

So many gorgeous images that shaped my understanding of what fairy tales could be!

The other thing I love about this book, which I didn’t realize until much later, is that it doesn’t shy away from the more horrific elements of the tales (I know my Mom edited some of them while she was reading aloud!) AND Carruth includes several stories that really just aren’t that well known outside of fairy-tale super enthusiasts. For example, two of my favorite less-known Grimm tales, “Three Little Men of the Forest” and “The Witch in the Woods” are BOTH included here (which is, admittedly, probably why they are favorites of mine, but you see them so rarely elsewhere and they’re such good stories!) Other rare ones include “The Crystal Ball,” Andersen’s “The Garden of Paradise” and “The Elf Hill,” and Perrault’s “Ricky of the Tuft” and “The Three Wishes.”

Someday I hope to get the book rebound in a way that will let it last for generations. It’s such a beautiful, important text for me.

Do you have a favorite fairy-tale book, perhaps from childhood? Let me know in the comments (and be sure to link to pictures if you have them!)

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