A genuinely beautiful collection that begs to be read aloud—or told—again and again.


Some familiar tales and some that are less so make up this elegantly designed and produced collection with Scottish roots and branches.

The volume sits nice and flat when opened, the type is large and clear, and the soft, evocative pictures range from full double-page spreads to tiny, exquisite images around the page numbers (a tuft of grass, a sprig of berries and a turnip, among other designs). Each of the 11 stories opens with a page of muted color on the left on which some lines from the coming tale are inscribed in a paler version of the hue. On the right, the name of the tale and a brief description of its source are framed in an image that carries and echoes through the pages. “The Wee Bannock” recalls “The Gingerbread Man,” and “Whuppity Stourie” brings to mind “Rumpelstiltskin,” but the rhythms and much of the detail reflect their Scottish sources. There’s a lovely, brief story from Sir Walter Scott, “The Goshawk and the Brave Lady,” that touches on the enmity between England and Scotland and in which the heroine rescues herself for her own true love. Breslin supplies a selkie story. Most of the Scots words are clear in context, but there is a strikingly informative glossary as well.

A genuinely beautiful collection that begs to be read aloud—or told—again and again. (Folk tales. 7-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8631-5907-7

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.



A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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