Celebrating Fairy Tales From Around the World – Monkey Mini Reviews of a Time for Telling and a World of Fairy Tales

Way back in the last decade (*ahem* I mean last year 😉 ) I got into a discussion on fairy tales– defending them against the spurious claims that they aren’t diverse enough… which seemed somewhat ludicrous to me given there’s a whole world of fairy tales out there, outside the Western canon (I know, shocker 😉). Well, today I have the opportunity to prove my point further! Because while I was moving house, I came across a couple of old children’s books. Aside from fuelling a little nostalgia and thinking they’d be great for my nephews, I thought they were so lovely that they were worth sharing with all of you.


Time for Telling– kicking off the collection on “The King with Dirty Feet”, I was instantly glad I’d taken this trip down memory lane. What’s great about this collection is how it walks you through simple concepts, like the origins of shoes, and elevates them. It makes the world a richer place. Add to that the wonderful illustrations by Sue Williams and I thought this book was a real winner! Another massive positive is how great the rhythm is for children- they’re written in a way that rolls off the tongue, designed to be read aloud. Some of my personal highlights were: “Loawnu Mends the Sky”, with its excellent imagery and patchwork of beautiful ideas; the “Clever Rabbit and King Lion”, because I can’t help but root for the underdog; and “The Great Rain” for its sheer magic. Of course, as with every anthology, there were a mix of stories, some of which I wasn’t as keen on, but overall, I thought all the stories were beautifully told and very much enjoyed the immersive experience.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana


World of Fairy Tales– this immediately takes us on a voyage from Australia to the Arctic. Even better, these initial tales gave the feeling of the world waking up. From these origins, the stories then became populated with animals, mirroring an entire creation myth. As with Time for Telling, I had some personal favourites, including “Giants of St Michael’s Mount” and “Maui and the Great Fish”. There was also the added bonus of this having a few familiar tales, like “Beauty and the Beast”. I absolutely loved that this very much embraced the world of stories out there- not neglecting any corner. It was also quite novel that each of these tales came with explanations about their origins, really giving an interesting insight into cultures from which they arose. Now, I did feel this lent itself to a drier tone, which I imagine wouldn’t be as evocative for children. The smaller font also seems a little less kid-friendly. That said, the subtle illustrations had a real charm and I got a lot out of this as an adult. I’d say the order of these tales was the books’ greatest strength- beginning with the birth of the world and ending on a journey- as all good stories should.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


Okay reviewing children’s books is a little out of my comfort zone- but I hope that sparked some interest! What I’d like to know today is if you have any favourite myths or fairy tales from around the world? Let me know in the comments!

Unforgettable Bookish Memories Tag

Well today is pretty unforgettable for me because this my 500th post and I just saw that I reached 2500 followers– so first of all THANK YOU ONE AND ALL for following in the first place, sticking with me for all my ramblings, and for just being your *amazing* selves!

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I was tagged for this a while ago by the wonderful Lisa @A Book Calls, the creator of this tag (and all round blogging brainiac- seriously her discussion pieces are great!), and I just thought it would be a lot of fun to do!

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No. 1: The First Book You Ever Read (Or Was Read To You)

Gosh, I’m afraid I don’t remember the first book that was read to me or the first book I ever read. Here’s a selection of picture books I remember liking:

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All highly recommended for little ‘uns.

No. 2: The First Book You Ever Bought With Your Own Money

nicola and the viscount

Nicola and the Viscount– I bought it cos it said “by the author of PRINCESS DIARIES”- being a barely literate child I thought that meant it was the Princess Diaries (emphasis on the barely literate part). I ended up liking it more than I ever liked Princess Diaries- so I guess that’s a win?

No. 3: A Book You Stayed Up All Night Reading

Every good book ever 😉 But I’ll go with this one:

we were liars

No. 4: What Book Or Series Will You Never Forget?

hitler's canaries

I just checked goodreads and this only has a thousand ratings?! OH MY GOODNESS THIS BOOK IS SO UNDERRATED- WHY?!?! Based on true events, this is one of the best stories of humanity and hope I have ever read. It also comes with some intense *feels*, so get your tissues ready.

No. 5: A Book You Frequently Think About

man's search for meaning

Because I think the philosophy espoused is so powerful and positive and it’s just a wonderfully impactful book. It also doesn’t hurt that its philosophy has permeated into a lot of work I admire.

No. 6: A Scene That Has Haunted You For Years After Reading It


The *one* from Jude the Obscure– if you’ve read it, you know the scene. If you haven’t read it if you want to be slightly mentally scarred, I guarantee you’ve never read anything like it.

No. 7: An Unforgettable Character


Rebecca- which is possibly an odd pick cos she’s not really in the book- but we get so much characterisation through third parties that she grows into an enigma that she starts to overshadow the heroine… Gothic genius at its best.

No. 8: A Book That Changed Your Opinion About Something

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a single book that’s changed my opinion drastically- I feel like books are better at *waking you up* to things you didn’t know and help you fine tune your thoughts. So with that said, I’m going with:

noughts and crosses

I was about 11 when I first read it and this made me aware of things I had no idea about. I was actually discussing with a friend just a couple of days ago what a remarkable book this is- if you want a book about putting yourself in other people’s shoes then this is nothing short of perfect. It’s still one of my favourite books from childhood and something I definitely recommend for people looking for speculative YA.

No. 9: Share Another Random Bookish Memory 

When I first saw this question I had *no clue* what to answer, so I started casting my mind back and back… and I stumbled on a memory of the first time I read the Hobbit. Now, everyone knows I loved that book. It had everything I ever wanted in a book: dragons, adventure, elves, wizards, eagles! Picture me, a young and immature ape of about 9, so enraptured by this magical world that I couldn’t think of anything else. All I wanted to do was jam my head back between the pages of a book and read MORE. My mum, however, didn’t think it was good for me to be cooped up in doors, so she dragged me out of the house to go for a walk and we ended up in a little wood near where I lived. Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Tolkien based a lot of the landscapes on England, so naturally when I was out and about in something resembling a forest… I yelled “OH MY GOD THIS IS MIRKWOOD!” and ran off into the trees. I never came back 😉 (at least my mind didn’t). The end.

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With that- I tag:

Sam, Noriko, Katie, Beth, Nel, Book Beach Bunny, Liis, Mischenko, Step into a Book World, KellyLiterary Weaponry and Stephanie

And anyone else who wants to do it! Do you have any random bookish memories? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Genuinely Unsettling Children’s Stories

Sometimes children’s books are scary when we think about them (sometimes they’re scary even if we don’t think about them). So I decided to compile a list of books for children that are really quite terrifying and will make adults wonder if there isn’t a monster hiding at the back of their closet… In no particular order:

  1. The Witches – Roald Dahl

thewitchesTo be honest, it’s a Dahl book, nuff said. I could literally pick a whole selection of Roald Dahl’s books- but since this one legitimately gave me nightmares, I had to choose it.



  1. Hansel and Gretel – Grimm’s Brothers

Hansel-and-gretel-rackhamI remember learning Bettleheim’s theory of how children will avoid stories that they find too much for them, and man, I heard this story once and avoided it like the plague. I know a lot of the Grimm’s tales are much grimmer in the original form, but this one is terrifying no matter which way you spin it and will always be the scariest of any collection. Plus, it doesn’t help that as an adult, I’ve heard some even freakier psychoanalytic readings of this story.

  1. Goosebumps: Calling All Creeps! – R L Stine

calling all creepsAgain, a lot of Stine’s books are creepy, but this one takes the biscuit… or cake… Seriously this book will make you look at bake sales in an entirely different light… (spoiler alert: it’s also one of the few scary kids’ books where the bad guys are allowed to win)


  1. Tales of Terror – Pike

pike tales of terrorThough I read this as a child, this one is for slightly older teens… and there’s a reason! I know I scare easily- but these have got to be some of the freakiest stories I’ve ever read. Still, I reread them so many times (goodness knows why!) and they left me all tingly and terrified every time!


  1. The Doomspell – Cliff McNish

doomspellI read a couple of McNish’s actual scary books when I was older and they had me sleeping with the light on- ironically though, nothing beats how absolutely mind-blowingly scary the witches are in this book!! I mean, if you thought the witches are scary in the Witches try reading this!!


  1. Tales of the Peculiar – Ransom Riggs

tales of the peculiarI saw online that this was aimed a 12+… 12+? Seriously? I read this when I was double that age and it freaked me out!! Okay, excusing the fact that I am a scaredy cat, this is actually an awesome collection.


  1. Coraline – Neil Gaiman

coralineAhh so many of Gaiman’s books are creepilicious and even though this may be aimed at a younger audience, it’s actually the most unsettling one I’ve read so far.



  1. Through the Woods – Emily Carroll

through the woodsAnother one aimed at 12+… I get the reasoning, since it doesn’t have anything graphic (no pun intended) in it, but I still don’t know if this would have scarred me as a twelve year old or just made me mature faster (and probably left me with even darker appetites in literature)


  1. Another Me – Cathy Macphail

another me macphailWhile not my favourite of Macphail’s books, she is definitely underrated (although I believe this one’s getting turned into a film) and this one genuinely scared me, because it had me thinking “what if”- speaking of which…


  1. Brother’s in the Land – Robert Swindells

brothers in the landApparently books like these about the nuclear apocalypse were all the range in the sixties, so when I excitedly told my mum about this book, she shrugged her shoulders at me. I, however, have found these books have gone out of fashion, so for me this was exciting, fresh and terrifying. Also, this is another author I believe is *massively* overlooked- sure, his books may not be new, but if you’re looking for scary reads you can’t go wrong with books like Abomination or Stone Cold.

So agree with my list? Disagree? And do you have any unsettling children’s books that come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

What To Read When You Have No Time

Right, so you may (or may not) have noticed my absence in the last few days. I’ve not been online much at all cos I’ve been busy busy busy! This has also meant I haven’t had much time to read- which is no good at all!! (and it looks like my schedule’s only gonna get more manic- ahhh!) But in the midst of all my panicking, I’ve also had a think about the kind of books that are good to read when you have no time- I thought I’d share these thoughts with you. Enjoy!

  1. Fluffy books

second chance summer

Yes, contemporary romance is my go to relaxation genre- because what could beat a seriously sappy story where the only real drama is “will they/won’t they?” They’re the perfect distraction when you’re too busy to think!

  1. Something you’ve read before


Okay- the theme here is quickly becoming not having to think- but if not thinking is what you’re looking for, then an old favourite is exactly what you should be reading. Cos when we pick up a beloved book we know exactly what’s gonna happen and how it’s gonna make us feel- and sometimes that’s just what we need.

  1. Novellas


These were practically designed for when you’ve got no time! Short books make for a brilliant quick read when you’ve only got a few minutes to spare. I love using these opportunities to read something I’ve been meaning to read for ages, but that won’t fill up to much time.

  1. Thrillers that aren’t too wordy


This is a bit of a curveball- cos a lot of the time books like this are too engrossing to put down. But when you need to unwind, a thriller is just the ticket. And while a slow burning thriller won’t do, I’ve found books that you can just whiz through suit me best when I don’t have much time to read.

And when all else fails…

  1. Children’s books

kipper's book of weather

Especially when there’s only one or two words on each page!

Hope you liked that! Let me know what books you like to read when you have no time and I’ll see you soon (I hope!)

Quote Challenge- Day 1: Children’s Books

Hello there! Hope you’re having a magical Monday! (or a terrific Tuesday depending on where you are in the world). I was tagged by quite a few people for this one, so I figured, I’d better take the hint and do it already.

The rules are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a Quote for 3 consecutive days
  3. Nominate 3 bloggers each day

A *MASSIVE* thank you to:

Louise Loves Books

Percy Reads

Book Adventures



Check ’em out! They’re all awesome!


Alrighty then- I am really excited about this post, cos I’ve decided to share some of my favourite quotes from children’s books. So without further ado:

peter pan fairies quote

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you're mad

I tag:



Books at Dawn