Book Review: Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts – Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods, by Craig Phillips

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_giants_trolls_witches_beasts.jpgWhat a great book this is.  It blew my socks off with its originality and uniqueness.

If you love stories about giants, trolls, witches and beasts who are up to no good you will love this. It includes stories from all around the world, some of them traditional oral tales.  Craig Philips uses his own words to tell these stories, and brings them to life using his stunning illustrations. Some seem familiar while others are not. Vasilsa the Brave, from Russia is a great story that bought to mind the story of Cinderella. A wicked stepmother and horrid stepsisters – and of course a happy ending.

One of my favourite stories was Thor and the Frost Giants, a story from Scandinavia. A story that starts with “once upon a time”. Thor was bored but being only ten years old he had to do as he was told by his parent. A birthday lunch for Aegir the Sea King’s and his annoying daughters. The only pot large enough to brew mead for all the gods of Asgard is owned by the frost giant Hymir, but no one was brave enough to venture to Hymir’s castle to borrow it – except Thor and his friend Tyr,  Hymir’s son. Thor’s father forbids it as he feels his son at ten years old is far too young.  Thor decides to ignore his father’s wishes, wanting to prove to him that he was more then old enough to accomplish the task.

This book bought to mind my copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from when I was a child and now being enjoyed by my grandchildren. Giants, Troll’s Witches, Beasts is a much more exciting book with fabulous graphics which I can see becoming a classic.

I read some of these stories to my seven-year-old granddaughter Abby.  She loved these stories and asked if she could take it home so Mummy could read it to her again.  Of course, I relented.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts:  Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods
by Craig Phillips
Published by Allen & Unwin Children’s
ISBN 9781760113261


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