________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 17 . . . . April 23, 1999

cover Tales of Wonder and Magic.

Berlie Doherty (Compiler). Illustrated by Juan Wijngaard.
Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by the University of Toronto Press), 1997.
109 pp., cloth, $26.99.
ISBN 1-56402-891-7.

Subject Headings:
Fairy tales.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Valerie Nielsen.

**** /4

In her introduction to Tales of Wonder and Magic, a collection of 10 stories from many cultures, master storyteller and distinguished author Berlie Doherty writes, "A magic story...casts a speller on readers, so they can't get it out of their minds or their dreams. In every one of these stories we find something marvellous or strange happening, a power or mystery that cannot be explained, but can only be wondered at."

      image Widely considered one of the finest children's writers working today, Berlie Doherty has won the Carnegie medal twice --once for Granny Was a Buffer Girl in 1987, and a second time in 1991 for Dear Nobody. In this outstanding collection, she has gleaned 10 magical tales from Africa, Australia, Canada, the United States and the British Isles, including one of her own creation, "The Girl Who Couldn't Walk." Each tale is powerfully told, in language that, although simple enough for a grade five reader, carries a rhythm and inflection unique to its cultural setting. Most of these tales come from ancient sources and have been told and retold, in one form or another for hundreds of years. Virginia Hamilton tells a tale of slaves escaping from their unbearable lives through magic, ("The People Could Fly") as though it was actually being remembered. Stories of ordinary folks using magic to defeat monsters, as in the Aboriginal story "Mirragen the Cat-Man" and "The Bogles and the Moon," are deeply satisfying to young and older readers alike. There is violence and cruelty in these stories, but, in many, if not most of them, love proves to be the strongest magic of all as it defeats powers of evil and rewards the brave and the faithful.

      The illustrations, done in gouache by Juan Wijngaard, are spectacular. Details representing the art of each culture are worked into full page paintings and also into clever perpendicular borders which set off the print on each page. Tales of Wonder and Magic is a visual delight. Its texture and text are so appealing that it is unlikely to spend any time languishing on the shelf. Teachers in upper elementary and middle school who are continually on the look out for fairy and folk tales to enrich and extend their language arts program will be delighted by this volume. Elementary teachers and storytellers will be pleased to note that each tale is short enough to be read aloud in half and hour or less. Tales of Wonder and Magic is a not-to-be-missed addition to any folklore collection.

Highly Recommended.

Valerie Nielsen is a recently retired teacher-librarian who lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364