Faeries, Goddesses, Spirit-Stars Reading Themes

More Books on Fairies, Fabulous Creatures, and Magical Beings

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Myra here.

For our current theme, I managed to find quite a number of books about fairies and nature spirits. This actually made me realize how connected our current theme is with our previous one on Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras.

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I had every intention of reading these three books, but as life would have it, I was not able to find the time to go over each and every one of them in detail, but I thought that it would still be best to share them with you, dear friends, since they may be to your liking.

IMG_0113The Barefoot Book of Fairies: Nature Spirits from around the World

Retold By: Rose Williams Illustrated By: Robin T. Barrett
Published by: Barefoot Books, Bath, 1997
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

This book contains a collection of stories about fairies from China (The Herb Fairy), France (The Magic Fountain), Japan (The Stone-cutter’s Wishes), Ireland (The Golden Spear), the Himalayas (The Mountain of the Moon) just to cite a few. Unlike other fairy books that I have featured thus far, this one does not just describe each fairy in encyclopedic detail but firmly anchors each magical being to the ancient civilizations from which they come from through richly-illustrated stories.

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In the Foreword of the book, the author explains:

In mythology, fairies or spirits often appear as agents between the world of human affairs and the invisible powers of the natural world. During our everyday lives, we witness changes in nature as the seasons pass, but those who live in very close contact with nature, as our ancestors did and as many traditional peoples continue to do, recognise that there is an inner as well as an outer aspect to these changes.

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Fairies are the characters in stories who illuminate the inner aspect – their activities often reveal the intimate connection between human beings and the world of nature.

I like the multicultural nature of this book and it also comes with a list of sources at the end of the book and where they adapted the narratives from.

The Big Book of FairiesIMG_9716

Written ByDenise Despeyroux Illustrated by: Sara Ruano
Published by: Sterling Publishing Co., 2009
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Quite similar to The Barefoot Book of Fairies, this Big Book of Fairies is also a complation of stories about fairies gathered from all over the world. The section on forest fairies contain stories from Ireland/Scotland (story of Tam Lin), and highlight the differences between trooping and solitary fairies in The Legend of Knockgrafton. There is also a detailed description of the oldest fairy named Lagree from France:

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and Fairy Queen Titania popularized in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The section on Water Fairies contains the stories of Melusina, and the Gwragedd Annwn from Wales described as “the most beautiful and sensuous of all the fairies” and the lovestory between Niulang and Fairy Zhinu from China.

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I am also glad that fairy godmothers finally have a representation through this book with stories about Cinderella’s and Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers, the shape shifting fairies in The White Doe and Mab the Fairy Queen in Queen Mab’s Veil. 

According to the author in the book’s Introduction:

The eleven fairy stories in this book explore many aspects of fairy life: What does their magic kingdom look like? Is there a separate fairy kingdom or do we share the same world? How does time pass for these creatures? Do they live forever? What are their customs? How do they dress and what do they eat? What happens when humans disobey their laws? Is it possible for fairies and humans to fall in love?

These questions, among others, would be answered through this book. The illustrations are simply beautiful.

IMG_0234Fabulous Creatures and Other Magical Beings

Writer: Joel Levy    Editor: David Gould     Art Editor: Simon Daley
Published byCarroll & Brown Publishers, Limited, 2004.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

If I had a lot of time in my hands, I would not have let this one go. I think that this is a rare book and a fabulous find. However, this book requires a great deal of time, commitment and effort, as this is essentially an encyclopedia (or a cryptozoology) of fantastical creatures that kind of reminded me of our previous theme when we featured bestiaries, chimeras, and otherworldly hybrids that are perceived to be monstrous by ordinary mortals.

This volume is said to be collated and produced under the auspices of The Cryptozoological Society of London and begins with a Taxonomy Guide that neatly divides the book into scientific categories. It starts off with Insects, molluscs and amphibians which includes the likes of the Kraken and Sinbad the Sailor. The section on reptiles contains sea serpents, dragons, wyverns and drakes. Birds contain the phoenix, rog, thunderbirds, and simurgh among others. I liked the hybrids most of all as it reminded me of our previous theme with griffon, chimaera, basilisks among others.

The section that is particularly relevant to our theme can be found under hominids where the elves, nymphs, fairies, leprechauns and banshees can be found.

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There is a detailed description of fairy history and a prety exhaustive timeline from c.3000 BCE, the different types of faries, fairy magic, as well as fairy antidotes. But what really caught my eye was this gorgeous full page spread of a map fragment said to be part of Thomas the Rhymer’s map of Fairyland. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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To know more about the book, allow me to quote from the jacket flap:

Fabulous Creatures and Other Magical Beings is an impressive collection of testimonials, letters, photographs, drawings, maps and historical documents that the members of The Cryptozoological Society of London have accumulated during years of exploration, investigation, and research. 

This treasure trove of rigorously and meticulously researched facts and findings opens our minds and eyes to parts of our world that are full of extraordinary creatures and fabled beings from myths, legends, and beyond.

Do you have other titles that you would like to recommend to us for our theme? We would be happy to hear them.

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

6 comments on “More Books on Fairies, Fabulous Creatures, and Magical Beings

  1. Can’t get enough of these fairies and elves 😀

    Like

  2. COOL!!! I love this theme! 😀
    P.S. I made the fairy wings that Ms. Suela posted the instructions for my sister for Christmas. They came out great! 😀

    Like

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