More English Fairy Tales Author:Collected by Joseph Jacobs, Illustrated by John D. Batten Believing that you can't have too much of a good thing, Joseph Jacobs followed up his English Fairy Tales, which had established itself as a "kind of English Grimm," by refining more of the same rich ore for this sequel. Of course the pious folklorists deplored his "laying profane hands on the sacred text" of the originals, but our children are ... more »more realistic: they look at the gift, not at the source.
How rich the gift! Jacobs could have been Three Wise Men, so far-flung are the sources of the tales. As in the first book, there arc ample Notes and References corralled off in the back of the book, explaining the relation of the Pied Piper of Franchville to the Browning version, and dozens of other story themes and their variations from all over Europe and Asia. There are the cruel stepfather and stepmother stories; and answer-the-riddle-or-else stories: and save-the-king's-daughter stories: and, of course, the three-wishes stories. We get an English version of Cinderella ("Rushen Coatie"), with the three ugly sisters and the glass slippers, but no pumpkin or coachmen; and it's at church, not at a party, that she meets the prince. We also get a straight-faced listing of English and Celtic variants in various elements of the story.
The illustrations by John D. Batten vary in style from pre-Raphaelite to cartoon silhouette, and all are marvelously apt. He is especially good on dragons and Hobyahs (see page 118).« less