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The Blue Fairy Book Review by Courtney Larson

By Andrew Lang
Yesterday's Classics
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

Yesterday's Classics has published a lovely reprint of Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book. This reprint is very well done. The text is easy to read, the paper is of nice quality and feels good in the hand, and there are original black-and-white illustrations throughout.

I will warn right away that the fairy tales included in this volume are not the sweetened-up Disney versions that many are familiar with today. These are the original fairy tales, complete with the original endings. (Little Red Riding Hood is eaten by the wolf, for example.) If you have a sensitive child, you will want to consider pre-reading this book to determine if it is appropriate for your family. If you find it to be suitable, however, you will not be disappointed.

The Blue Fairy Book contains 37 fairy tales. Many of these tales are well known (such as "Cinderella," "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp," "The Sleeping Beauty," "The Forty Thieves," and "Hansel and Gretel"), while others aren't as common (such as "The White Cat," "Toads and Diamonds," "The Yellow Dwarf," "Why the Sea Is Salt," and "The Red Etin"). These enchanting teaching tales include ogres and witches, spells and talking animals, princesses and princes, and trolls and giants. The stories vary in length; some are as short as ten pages, while others run as long as almost 30 pages.

The Blue Fairy Book is an entertaining read-aloud for the whole family. It's also a fun independent read for older children or strong readers. (Because it is a reprint from 1889, there is some unfamiliar vocabulary.) The biggest endorsement for this book comes from my 8-year-old son. When The Blue Fairy Book first arrived in my mailbox, he was in need of a fresh book to read. He was a bit put off by the title ("Fairy book, Mom?"), but I convinced him to give the book a try--it is blue, after all. For several weeks following, he kept this book in his bed, under his bed, and in various other hiding spots, devouring many of the stories included.

Whether your family uses The Blue Fairy Book as a read-aloud or read-alone, the tales included are sure to delight the imagination.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2009