Book Review,  Reviews

Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales – Jamila Gavin & Illustrated by Richard Collingridge

“Stolen Sister, brambly babe,
A night Princess grieves for her love.
Oddboy’s fiddle, golden carp
A lost king waits, the pathfinder comes.”

Prepare to enter a world of magicians, enchanted forests, talking animals and wicked witches . . .

Here are six magical stories to thrill and enchant you. Watch Blackberry Blue rise from the bramble patch; follow Emeka the pathfinder on his mission to save a lost king; join Princess Desire as she gallops across the Milky Way on her jet-black horse.

These beautifully written and original stories will delight readers of all ages, and the stunning illustrations by Richard Collingridge will take your breath away. (taken from Goodreads)

I love collections of short stories, especially when they are designed to let you jump right in and take something from their meaning. This collection of Fairy tales from Jamila Gavin was beautiful and full of the wisdom meant to be held within fairy tales, and it was a wonderful thing to read different stories from those I know. 
In the preface Jamila Gavin shares her passion for fairy tales and explains how she wanted this collection to be a show of how much the traditional European are still present yet not exclude the rest of the world, so that more diverse children could read the stories and think; “I could be the hero in that story, its me!” I loved this about the book and whats more it didn’t strike me as odd that the characters were in the way they described. I had a few issues getting my head around a couple of things because the image of some of the characters is so ingrained in my head from being brought up on traditional European fairy tales that I couldn’t help but see them one way; but I soon got over that. 
The collection of stories were fantastic. There are six altogether and I would have problems picking out my favourite to be honest, I loved them all for different reasons. The title story, Blackberry Blue, was brilliant and I loved how things worked out for Blackberry Blue… she was a very independent character and I found the values the story portrayed were easily ones that readers of all ages could appreciate. 
The Purple Lady was the next tale and I loved the feel for that. It was dark, as dark as a fairy tale can be. The main character Abu had to pay a severe price to get his sister back from the evil Purple Lady and it was heartbreaking, but it was also necessary. Then came The Golden Carp and Emeka the Pathfinder which were brilliant but were overshadowed by the arrival of Oddboy. 
Oddboy was a fantastic story about jealousy and deceit. I loved the whole thing and found it heartbreaking at the same time. The magician at the beginning of the book tricks and kidnaps a beggar boy and holds him prisoner in his mountain top castle, ordering him to play beautiful music for him. Knowing there is more just down the mountain Oddboy escapes but he cannot speak for the magician places a curse on him for leaving. It was awful the way people reacted to him because of this and I loved the way he put his soul into him music and played the violin as if it was his voice but then things start getting worse for him. The story will stick with me for a long time and I think that it will have the same effect on many others. 
All the tales are aided by beautiful illustrations done by artist Richard Collingridge. I loved what these brought to the stories, especially in the Purple Lady where you can turn the page to find a double paged boarder of eyes staring back at you and in Oddboy where the atmosphere of the Magicians castle comes to life. I doubt the book would have been the same without these and think that for the younger reader especially the images will be adored. 

Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales will be released on November 7th through Tamarind, a Random House Imprint. My copy was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

For more info or to buy the book please visit: 

One Comment

  • maya

    Ah, these sound brilliant! I love fairytales and the idea of having illustrations to accompany the stories is something I adore. Fab review!

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