‘The stories are taken from those told by grannies to grandchildren in many countries and in many languages – French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Gaelic, Icelandic, Cherokee, African, Indian, Australian, Slavonic, Eskimo.’ In his preface to the final title in our Rainbow Fairy Book series, Andrew Lang describes the diverse origins of these tales. They vary from ‘The Ugly Duckling’ by Hans Christian Andersen to ‘The White Slipper’ – a reversal of the Cinderella story, in which the king loses his precious white slipper and offers his daughter’s hand to whoever finds it.
The introduction to this edition is by award-winning writer Sara Maitland, whose most recent book, Gossip from the Forest, explores the provenance of fairy tales. Tomislav Tomić is a Croatian artist and children’s author, whose detailed and lively artwork includes a decorated title page, illustrated endpapers and numerous black-and-white drawings. Like all the Rainbow Fairy Books, this volume is beautifully produced, with coloured top-page edges, and luxurious Caxton Wove paper.