By: Chronicle Books
Illustrator: Ulla Thynell
Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books and illustrated by Ulla Thynell is a beautiful collection of 17 folk tales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Every tale varies in length, but most are fairly quick and easy to read.
The book is divided into three sections: Transformation, Wit, and Journeys. Under each title, the author has included where it originates, and a few tales have more information attached at the bottom of the page for more clarification of a word used, or a historical fact; for example, the word jöjking is a Finnish word which means to sing songs.
Many of the tales in this book were unfamiliar to me, while others reminded me of tales from childhood; for example, “The Old Woman and the Tramp” was very similar to “Stone Soup” with the concept and the lesson it teaches of kindness and sharing. Another familiar tale was “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”. Most contain folkloric characters we’re all familiar with including trolls, witches, dragons, giants, and talking animals of course. Some tales end happily, while others don’t.
The illustrations couldn’t be more stunning, in my opinion. Each tale has a one full-page illustration, and they’re all gorgeous; in fact, the cover is what originally pulled me in. A few favorites include illustrations from “The Boy Who Didn’t Know Fear,” “The Forest Bride,” and “Jack of Sjöholm and the Gan-Finn”.
Nordic Tales would be perfect as a winter read, and I know we’ll revisit this one over and over again. I always get hooked on folk and fairy tale books such as this because they remind me of old books from my childhood with the way they’re designed. Even though this isn’t technically a children’s book, these are books that I look forward to sharing with my own children: stories that not only enrich their lives, but mine. This makes for such an enjoyable reading experience, and a positive reading experience for a parent can be such an inspiration to a child. I was able to share the tales with my middle-grade children, and many with my youngest daughter as well. There are a few tales that may be too scary for younger children (some that involve death and scary witches), and a few are a tad enigmatic for young readers too, but most are great for all ages.
After reading Nordic Tales, we went on to purchase Celtic Tales and we’ll start that one soon. There’s even one called Tales from Japan we’re looking into. All of these are published by Chronicle Books, but have different illustrators.
If you’re a fan of fairy tales and folk tales, definitely check out this book. While a few of the tales weren’t as enjoyable as others, it’s a nice collection worth having on the shelf.
- Hardcover: 168 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 13, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1452174474
- ISBN-13: 978-1452174471
Trolls haunt the snowy forests, and terrifying monsters roam the open sea.
A young woman journeys to the end of the world, and a boy proves he knows no fear.
This collection of 16 traditional tales transports readers to the enchanting world of Nordic folklore. Translated and transcribed by folklorists in the 19th century, and presented here unabridged, the stories are by turns magical, hilarious, cozy, and chilling. They offer a fascinating view into Nordic culture and a comforting wintertime read. Ulla Thynell’s glowing contemporary illustrations accompany each tale, conjuring dragons, princesses, and the northern lights. This special gift edition features an embossed, textured case and a ribbon marker.
Thanks for reading my review of Nordic Tales. What are some of your favorite fairy and folk tales? Let’s chat in the comment’s section!