Nordic Tales is a large collection of stories and folktales brought together and illustrated by the wonderful Ulla Thynell. The stories range in length, theme, character, and plot. While I personally had not read any of them before, I was easily able to recognize the commonalities that they have with other old short stories. As with the Hans Christian Andersen works I’ve been reading lately, Nordic Tales has a lot of summaries, falling in love quickly without really knowing each other, and sends some great messages and some odd messages. I think this will always be a theme I find within stories from the far past. And yet I consistently find I love a great many of them and I deeply enjoyed the time I spent reading this new collection of stories, gathered from a number of different countries accompanied with brilliant artwork that really makes the stories stand out.
As often happens when I read a book that is a collection of different stories by many different authors, I found that some of them were rather exceptional and enjoyable for me to read while others felt particularly dull and boring. One thing that Nordic Tales did right was to begin the collection with a story that would intrigue and engage me, the account of three brothers who set out to find wives and the one brother who ends up marrying a mouse. While I will say that the brother seemed a little like a dolt and was at times somewhat hurtful in his thoughts (though I suppose that’s not uncommon anywhere), I deeply appreciated how he grew to care for the little mouse and eventually determined that the opinions of others did not matter in the slightest in comparison. And good things, of course, come to those who are good and kind to begin with.
Alternately, there were a few stories such as the elf princess story that I didn’t care for and would have preferred to skip. Ultimately, though, they didn’t really ruin the book as a whole. Rather I simply imagine that if I were to buy it at some point, I would simply skip those stories when I get to them. All in all, I had a lot of fun reading this collection. I imagine it’s possible to find many of the stories elsewhere, but it is really nice to have them all in one place, especially when it’s in a collection that has artwork I like and appreciate.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.