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)