Illustrated by Ed Fisher.
Published by The History Press, 2019.
Folk Tales for Bold Girls is a collection of short stories from across the northern hemisphere. I enjoyed this anthology because, in a genre often dominated by heroic males rescuing defenceless damsels, these stories give females a voice. Each tale centres around at least one female protagonist and they’re more than capable of looking after themselves. Some are adventurous, many are clever or quick-witted, and others are brave. Molly Whuppie defeats a giant, Tipingi outwits adults who try to trap her, Ildiko solves tricky riddles, and Vasilisa ventures deep into the forest and holds her nerve when faced with Baba Yaga.
I liked how nearly all the stories were new to me – the folk tales which have been chosen are the lesser known ones. Despite this newness, there’s still a familiarity to the stories because they sit very firmly in the oral storytelling tradition; there’s magic, monsters, lots of repetition, and the rule of three.
I also enjoyed how story provenance was so varied; we have folk tales from Haiti, Nigeria, Russia and Hungary as well as the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Italy. There’s a folk tale from the first nation people of America, and one from the English gypsy tradition. Such diversity makes for a culturally rich book.
With its lively stories and feisty heroines, Folk Tales for Bold Girls is an engaging and entertaining read.
Suitable for children aged 8+
Thank you to The History Press for sending me this book to review.