Friday, 7 June 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week ending 7th June 2013 - "Father and Daughter Tales" by Josephine Evetts-Secker and Helen Cann (Barefoot Books)

We've come to the end of our exploration of 'daddy' books to tie in with our #ReadItMD13 theme week of "Celebrating brilliant dads in books" and so it seems fitting to make our book of the week a book that we've enjoyed immensely since it arrived, and will dive into for years and years to come.

When I was a child, I remember story collections like Aesop's Fables, and big fat volumes of deliciously written and illustrated Grimm's Fairy Tales. It's nice to see something of a revival in books like these, and this is no exception.

Amongst the familiar stories that you've seen told and adapted so many times, there are translated stories from around the world that are all new, utterly scintillating and just the right length to snuggle down with just before tucking your daughter (or son!) into bed at night.

We started with the stories we knew, like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Frog Prince" before exploring our particular favourite - "The Invisible Grandfather" which is a real belter of a tale full of twisting fortunes, supernatural happenings and with a solid moral underpinning the excitement.

This book has now been reprinted (it was originally published in 1997) and it's beautifully illustrated and presented.

Several folk have criticised its heavy reliance on standard fairy tale cliches, young women wowed by good looks and good fortune, evil step-parents, wicked magical folk but I feel that the stories were never meant to be a lifestyle guide - and you could argue that historically, our legends and tales passed down through generations will never really be pure to their source if we mess around with them too much and politically correct them at every turn.

As you'd expect from Barefoot Books though, you will find that each treatment of a traditional tale is sensitive, and always with the child who is reading (or having it read to them) in mind. The language is as vibrant and multi-hued, and multi-cultural as the beautiful painted illustrations and so this is definitely a book to treasure and keep, and tell and re-tell whether you're a dad, a mum, boy or girl.

Charlotte's best bit: "The Invisible Grandfather" and "The Bear in the Woods" - both very similar stories but each with deliciously rich character descriptions.

Daddy's favourite bit: Also really enjoyed "The Invisible Grandfather" and "The Frog Prince" (we came to the conclusion that the princess who married the frog was actually the baddie in the story, not the goodie!)

(Kindly sent to us for review by Barefoot Books)