Folk tales

A Year Full of Stories

This is a wonderful collection of stories! Arranged month by month and celebrating special days and events from a range of cultures, traditions and religions from around the world, A Year Full of Stories really is a treasury!

Perhaps one of the reasons it appeals to me so much is that it reminds me of books I had as a child. There is a charming, almost old-fashioned, air about it from the 'This book belongs to...' on the opening page to the appendix at the back. Yet the events it highlights are a mixture of the traditional and the more modern. 'World Ocean's Day', for example, was started in 2002, 'World Wildlife Day' in 2014. 'Kwanzaa' in 1966 and 'World Water Day' in 1993. These sit alongside dates like St David's Day, Valentine's Day and Vesak.

The tales included have obviously been chosen with great care, matching events from one culture with stories from another. St Swithin's Day, for example, is marked by an African Bushman story, 'Elephant and the Rain Spirit' and World Water Day by a personal favourite of mine- 'Tidalik, the Thirsty Frog' from Australia.

However, a little further research or explanation might be needed with the placing of some events- Ramadan, for example, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but is placed in the June section-Islam following a lunar calendar. In 2017, Ramadan will start at the end of May.

Full of colourful illustrations, 'A Year Full of Stories' would make a perfect Christmas present for any family- or teacher!

A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World

Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr

Frances Lincoln      ISBN: 978-1847808592

The Glass Mountain


All the features of traditional tales can be found in this lovely collection of folk tales from Poland.

Told to Jan Pienkowski by the lady who lived next door to him when a child, he in turn told them to David Walser. In the best tradition of folk tales, David Walser has then added his own imaginings and details to these stories, making them his own.

Paper-cutting is a form of traditional folk art and the introduction shares how Jan Pienkowski learned these skills in his childhood. The book is full of these distinctive and bold illustrations that help to bring the stories to life. 

The result is a collection of pacey and well told tales that would be great for using with older children. There is a darker element to many of the tales which would compare well to some of the original Grimm stories and contrast well with modern versions, provoking much discussion about style and genre.  

Children could write their own versions of the tales, experimenting with changing the endings/ characters etc. There is also a very helpful pronunciation guide at the beginning; this would be excellent for encouraging children from Polish backgrounds to help others pronounce the words correctly whilst looking at the stories would value their culture and heritage. 

A great resource for those of us who love to share tales from around the world, 'The Glass Mountain' is a must-have for class and school libraries.


The Glass Mountain: Tales from Poland

Retold by David Walser, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski

Walker Books   ISBN:  978-1406348651