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Kay Nielsen. East of the Sun and West of the Moon

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Fairy tale finesse: Reviving East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Kay Nielsen's most ambitious illustration project. Step into a world of star-crossed lovers, magical winds, mischievous giants, and trolls, through some of the most exquisite illustrations in publishing history. In this gorgeous reprint, TASCHEN revives the most ambitious publication project of beloved Dani Fairy tale finesse: Reviving East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Kay Nielsen's most ambitious illustration project. Step into a world of star-crossed lovers, magical winds, mischievous giants, and trolls, through some of the most exquisite illustrations in publishing history. In this gorgeous reprint, TASCHEN revives the most ambitious publication project of beloved Danish artist Kay Nielsen, one of the most famous children’s book illustrators of all time. First published in 1914, East of the Sun and West of the Moon is a celebrated collection of fifteen fairy tales, gathered by legendary Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe on their journeys across Norway in the mid-nineteenth century. Nielsen’s illustration edition of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s tales is considered a jewel of early 20th-century children's literature, highly sought-after by art and book collectors worldwide. An original signed copy of the book sold at auction in 2008 commanded the highest price ever paid for an illustrated children’s book. This finely crafted reprint restores the stunning detail and artistry of Nielsen’s images to their original splendor. Featuring 46 illustrations, including many enlarged details from Nielsen’s rare original watercolors, the book is printed in five colors with a lovingly designed slipcase. Three accompanying essays, illustrated with dozens of rare and previously unseen artworks by Nielsen, explore the history of Norwegian folktales, Nielsen’s life and work, and how this masterpiece came to be.


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Fairy tale finesse: Reviving East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Kay Nielsen's most ambitious illustration project. Step into a world of star-crossed lovers, magical winds, mischievous giants, and trolls, through some of the most exquisite illustrations in publishing history. In this gorgeous reprint, TASCHEN revives the most ambitious publication project of beloved Dani Fairy tale finesse: Reviving East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Kay Nielsen's most ambitious illustration project. Step into a world of star-crossed lovers, magical winds, mischievous giants, and trolls, through some of the most exquisite illustrations in publishing history. In this gorgeous reprint, TASCHEN revives the most ambitious publication project of beloved Danish artist Kay Nielsen, one of the most famous children’s book illustrators of all time. First published in 1914, East of the Sun and West of the Moon is a celebrated collection of fifteen fairy tales, gathered by legendary Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe on their journeys across Norway in the mid-nineteenth century. Nielsen’s illustration edition of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s tales is considered a jewel of early 20th-century children's literature, highly sought-after by art and book collectors worldwide. An original signed copy of the book sold at auction in 2008 commanded the highest price ever paid for an illustrated children’s book. This finely crafted reprint restores the stunning detail and artistry of Nielsen’s images to their original splendor. Featuring 46 illustrations, including many enlarged details from Nielsen’s rare original watercolors, the book is printed in five colors with a lovingly designed slipcase. Three accompanying essays, illustrated with dozens of rare and previously unseen artworks by Nielsen, explore the history of Norwegian folktales, Nielsen’s life and work, and how this masterpiece came to be.

30 review for Kay Nielsen. East of the Sun and West of the Moon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Moira Macfarlane

    Get lost in a world of magic... creepy six-headed trolls, princesses looking for the perfect match, lazy young men coming of age just fine, ice bears and dark long nights filled with cold north wind and snowdrifts. Just what I like to read during the darkest period of the year especially because of the magnificent illustrations. And just take a look at that font... ♡ ▪️ This book is in every detail a perfect and beautiful designed reprint of East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914), richly illu Get lost in a world of magic... creepy six-headed trolls, princesses looking for the perfect match, lazy young men coming of age just fine, ice bears and dark long nights filled with cold north wind and snowdrifts. Just what I like to read during the darkest period of the year especially because of the magnificent illustrations. And just take a look at that font... ♡ ▪️ This book is in every detail a perfect and beautiful designed reprint of East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914), richly illustrated in art nouveau style by Kay Nielsen, and supplemented with a long introduction on his work and background information on the fairy tales origins. Kay Nielsen (Denmark, 1886 - 1957) was a grand illustrator at the beginning of the 20th century, known as the 'golden age of illustration' in Britain.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Truly a gorgeous book. The Kay Nielsen illustrations are like windows onto another world. When I was a youngster devouring books like this, East of the Sun and West of the Moon not only held me entranced with its Nordic fairy-tale sensibility, but also for the pictures, which changed my thinking about what was possible. In a very real way, it was my introduction to fantasy-sci-fi, and Nielsen's art deco inspired drawing has held a special place in my imagination ever since. If you have a young c Truly a gorgeous book. The Kay Nielsen illustrations are like windows onto another world. When I was a youngster devouring books like this, East of the Sun and West of the Moon not only held me entranced with its Nordic fairy-tale sensibility, but also for the pictures, which changed my thinking about what was possible. In a very real way, it was my introduction to fantasy-sci-fi, and Nielsen's art deco inspired drawing has held a special place in my imagination ever since. If you have a young child, or know one, you owe it to that child's imagination to give them this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lorianne Reuser

    This is a treasure of a book that anyone with any interest in folktales, fairytales, and general whimsical wonder nerds to own. The illustrations by the great Kay Nielsen are definitely the biggest asset to this magnificent book - you spend more time puzzling out the intricacies of his art than you do actually reading the tales. But oh, what tales! I know little of Norwegian history or culture, but the magic in these stories will resonate with anyone who loves fantasy, whether it be from The Bro This is a treasure of a book that anyone with any interest in folktales, fairytales, and general whimsical wonder nerds to own. The illustrations by the great Kay Nielsen are definitely the biggest asset to this magnificent book - you spend more time puzzling out the intricacies of his art than you do actually reading the tales. But oh, what tales! I know little of Norwegian history or culture, but the magic in these stories will resonate with anyone who loves fantasy, whether it be from The Brothers Grimm or Tolkien.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    After putting off reading these for ten years and then receiving this 2018 edition as a gift, I can't NOT give it five stars, if just for the editing alone. These fairy tales are BANANAS—some make absolutely zero sense all the way through only to tie up rationally in the end!—and Kay Nielsen is just the most brazen and beautiful of the Golden Age illustrators, period. Noel Daniel did such a gorgeous job with this edition; from the essays to the grouping of the watercolors to the design. There ar After putting off reading these for ten years and then receiving this 2018 edition as a gift, I can't NOT give it five stars, if just for the editing alone. These fairy tales are BANANAS—some make absolutely zero sense all the way through only to tie up rationally in the end!—and Kay Nielsen is just the most brazen and beautiful of the Golden Age illustrators, period. Noel Daniel did such a gorgeous job with this edition; from the essays to the grouping of the watercolors to the design. There are also, inexplicably, stickers included. Loved it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I have an older edition of this from my childhood years and always enjoyed it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    JZ Ting

    A beautiful edition of fairytales, worth purchasing just for the illustrations.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Quiver

    Nielsen's illustrations are a unique Art Nouveau take on Beardsley's tall, curvy figures. Each image is at once reduced to a distinct foreground-background division (the background is often also plain black) and enhanced by a richness of the costumes (a feature Nielsen picked up during his career in theatre). The tales have a predictably happy ending and mostly follow the predictable pattern of triple actions (wishes, failures, deeds), though occasionally the plot can throw up a somewhat unusual Nielsen's illustrations are a unique Art Nouveau take on Beardsley's tall, curvy figures. Each image is at once reduced to a distinct foreground-background division (the background is often also plain black) and enhanced by a richness of the costumes (a feature Nielsen picked up during his career in theatre). The tales have a predictably happy ending and mostly follow the predictable pattern of triple actions (wishes, failures, deeds), though occasionally the plot can throw up a somewhat unusual combination of tropes in the middle. After a few pages, one learns that to become strong enough to wield the sword of the troll, the hero must drink from a flask near the sword, or to become healthy again after a beating, the hero must rub himself with an equally handy ointment. But there is a spirit of old to be read between the lines. Five stars for the illustrations. Much less for the stories. Which gives four—as a book I shall return to for the images.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    I rated this book so highly for the beautiful illustrations and I’m not a huge fairy tale person but the preface on how they played a huge role in the Norwegian language was so interesting! The Nordic fairy tales are characterized by literal and figurative ice and this comes through in the illustrations. I am only familiar with the Brothers Grimm tales which aren’t warm and fuzzy but the Nordic stories were so void of the predictable moral teachings that they were hilarious at times. I love how I rated this book so highly for the beautiful illustrations and I’m not a huge fairy tale person but the preface on how they played a huge role in the Norwegian language was so interesting! The Nordic fairy tales are characterized by literal and figurative ice and this comes through in the illustrations. I am only familiar with the Brothers Grimm tales which aren’t warm and fuzzy but the Nordic stories were so void of the predictable moral teachings that they were hilarious at times. I love how it’s like “yes if you want to marry the princess you must go get flogged by a troll duh”. Similar to other fairy tales there is a lot of bartering of unborn children and of course everything comes in threes!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maija

    A beautifully designed book filled with interesting Norwegian fairy tales & gorgeous art by Kay Nielsen, but I found the typeface hard to read. My favourite tales were Prince Lindworm, The Widow's Son, and The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain. (The Blue Belt was such nonsense, though. What a weird story!) My favourite illustrations were the ones in The Lassie and Her Godmother, The Three Princesses of Whiteland, and the front cover illustration, which is from The Giant who Had No Heart in Hi A beautifully designed book filled with interesting Norwegian fairy tales & gorgeous art by Kay Nielsen, but I found the typeface hard to read. My favourite tales were Prince Lindworm, The Widow's Son, and The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain. (The Blue Belt was such nonsense, though. What a weird story!) My favourite illustrations were the ones in The Lassie and Her Godmother, The Three Princesses of Whiteland, and the front cover illustration, which is from The Giant who Had No Heart in His Body.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Five stars for the illustrations and, like, 1.5 stars for the tales. I got this as a Christmas gift in 2018--I wanted it because I read an article about how amazing the illustrations are. I unwrapped it Christmas day, looked at the illustrations--which really are amazing--and then set it on a shelf. A year later, I was like, "Why didn't I read the stories?" So I read them and they sorta suck. I read SO MANY FAIRY TALES as a child. I read every single fairy tale the Brothers Grimm collected. I read Five stars for the illustrations and, like, 1.5 stars for the tales. I got this as a Christmas gift in 2018--I wanted it because I read an article about how amazing the illustrations are. I unwrapped it Christmas day, looked at the illustrations--which really are amazing--and then set it on a shelf. A year later, I was like, "Why didn't I read the stories?" So I read them and they sorta suck. I read SO MANY FAIRY TALES as a child. I read every single fairy tale the Brothers Grimm collected. I read multiple translations. I read adaptations and expansions of fairy tales. I started rereading them a few years ago, especially looking for tales I might have missed (like these Russian Folk Tales) but the fact is, I've well and truly outgrown them. They're samey and repetitive and often super misogynist. They're not fun to read, and the only reason for me to read them now is to critique them, though at least they provide the basis for books I still love, like Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Héctor Contreras Miranda

    The tales are great, the illustrations are superb and honestly the smaller misnamed "hardcover" edition is so adorable I couldn't resist and just ordered the Grimm and Andersen books in the same size instead of the actual hardback versions. This edition has thick but flexible paper covers that are incredibly tactile and have no lamination or dust covers and IT IS GORGEOUS!!!!! AND CHEAP!!!!! However this only has 10 tales: East of the sun and west of the moon The blue belt Prince lindworm The lassie The tales are great, the illustrations are superb and honestly the smaller misnamed "hardcover" edition is so adorable I couldn't resist and just ordered the Grimm and Andersen books in the same size instead of the actual hardback versions. This edition has thick but flexible paper covers that are incredibly tactile and have no lamination or dust covers and IT IS GORGEOUS!!!!! AND CHEAP!!!!! However this only has 10 tales: East of the sun and west of the moon The blue belt Prince lindworm The lassie an her goodmother The husband who was to mind the house The three princesses of Whiteland The giant who had no heart in his body The widow's son The three Billy goats gruff The three princesses in the blue mountain The following stories missing: The lad who went to the North wind Sonia moria castle The princess on the glass hill The cat on the dovrefell One's own children are always the prettiest 6 of the black and white illustrations are also missing (including the leafs and birds design used at the end most of the tales in the original) and the end papers are faithful to the originals but the left and right edges are missing but there are many detailed full page views of the illustrations in the book and other works by Kay that all is forgiven. The book is printed in such a way that no matter how familiar you already are with the illustrations you can still discover new things in them. Oddly despite the fact that the colors in this book are probably closer to the original watercolors they are warmer than any other print and somewhat clash with the cold mood that permeates the idea of the north and the tales, something that the bluish tint of earlier reproductions captured so well. But the edition is so STUNNING that it's worth considering buying both sizes because it's worth every single penny and moment waiting for it to arrive after placing the order. The smaller flexicover also comes with six stickers. SERIOUSLY JUST BUY THEM NOW!!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lyuba

    Beautiful edition of this collection of Norwegian folk tales. Kay Nielsen's illustrations are stunning and timeless! A truly exquisite piece of art! Beautiful edition of this collection of Norwegian folk tales. Kay Nielsen's illustrations are stunning and timeless! A truly exquisite piece of art!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica O'Toole

    This book is utterly beautiful, and clearly a labour of love. Though it was based on the original printing layout from 1914, it's the little touches added by the editor that really make it something lovely. The editor has added a nice little biography of the illustrator, Kay Nielsen, whose work is similar in atmosphere to that of Arthur Rackham, as well as some history about the original compilers of the Norwegian folk tales and their journey getting it published in England. It also includes a f This book is utterly beautiful, and clearly a labour of love. Though it was based on the original printing layout from 1914, it's the little touches added by the editor that really make it something lovely. The editor has added a nice little biography of the illustrator, Kay Nielsen, whose work is similar in atmosphere to that of Arthur Rackham, as well as some history about the original compilers of the Norwegian folk tales and their journey getting it published in England. It also includes a fairly short but fascinating overview of how the advances in colour printing finally made it possible for work of such detail and colour could be rendered into a printed work. Even at the back, there's a little rundown of how this book came to be, and what was envisioned for its layout. The cover, the endpapers, the high-quality paper and the beautifully printed illustrations all make this a little gem fo those interested in folk or fairy tales. That's even before you get to the tales themselves! I had heard of one of the tales inside before - The Three Billy Goats Gruff. And it's just as hilarious as I remember. All of the others were a mixture of hilarity and inspiration. According to the editor, the recurring themes of trolls princesses and the fight against good and evil (that is pagan and Christian) were all allegory for the introduction of Christianity into Scandinavia. They're not overbearing themes at all, and the stories are written in that very fanciful, and fairly comeidic tone, that the kinds of tales have. That and entirely matter of fact. A salmon asking for help, and the guy's like, oh sure, I'll help. The princess is like, yeah so the troll has six heads, and the guy's like, oh, meh, I'll deal with that. Drink some mysterious matter from some random horn to gain strength here, use a whistle to call a giant speaking eagle there. All in a day's work. These folk tale folk do not sweat it! Maybe one day I'll be privy to an original copy of the book this version is based on, but until then, an utterly enjoyable and enchanting addition to my collection and entirely recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gratsiela Borisova

    Beautiful drawings, quality print. That's it with the good words. This book doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it an art book? Is it a children's fairy tale book? It can't be a children's book since they used old English for the tales. It can't be an art book since quite a few of his works is so small, up in a corner of the page. You see, they had to make space for the endless boring lamenting about what a genius he was. Which took more than a half of the book, mind you! Yes, ok, I agree, but Beautiful drawings, quality print. That's it with the good words. This book doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it an art book? Is it a children's fairy tale book? It can't be a children's book since they used old English for the tales. It can't be an art book since quite a few of his works is so small, up in a corner of the page. You see, they had to make space for the endless boring lamenting about what a genius he was. Which took more than a half of the book, mind you! Yes, ok, I agree, but maybe let the work speak for itself? We can't see most of it right now. What it made it so boring was that it was only subjective opinion of the author, not facts. I'm no expert but I don't think this is how texts covering historical events work. Facts, even though boring by nature, are concise. Something sloppy that I noticed - they reused texts throughout the book. You just read something, and there it is again, as a description to an illustration. Just copy-pasted. Why? There are a million other things that could be put there - the size of the illustration, the medium used, the year created, etc. In the tales, the same happens with the quotes - you read something and then, right below it, there it is again. This time with bigger font. Why?! Not to mention sometimes the illustrations are placed in such an order that they spoil the story. Especially if you read their descriptions. The summary of the tales are full of spoilers too! And they're placed just below the title so you didn't even have the chance to start reading. But my biggest problem with this book was the font they chose to use for the body text. This font is for titles, it's not meant for prolonged reading! It made it so hard to read the book, it strains your eyes, I can't believe it passed any editorial checks. If it wasn't for the beautiful illustrations, I'd be giving this away. If you care only about them, you'll be fine.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaimie

    This gorgeous edition of Norwegian folktales as illustrated by Kay Nielsen might be an absolute shoe in for my top books of the year list. Taschen’s art publications are always of high quality, but they surpassed themselves with this lush reprint. Nielsen’s illustrations are showcased alongside their accompanying stories wonderfully and the introductory essays provide some much appreciated context on the importance of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s work to collect and chronicle the folktales of Norway, so This gorgeous edition of Norwegian folktales as illustrated by Kay Nielsen might be an absolute shoe in for my top books of the year list. Taschen’s art publications are always of high quality, but they surpassed themselves with this lush reprint. Nielsen’s illustrations are showcased alongside their accompanying stories wonderfully and the introductory essays provide some much appreciated context on the importance of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s work to collect and chronicle the folktales of Norway, so it is easy to see how this book was a smash hit when it was first published and why Taschen chose to reimagine it for the modern market. What I liked most about this book (besides the illustrations and quality of publication, of course) is the fact that the stories are actually readable. Many collections of this sort either cater to a child audience or become too academic in their transcription, in addition to collecting too many stories of the same sort which quickly becomes tedious to read in any attempt to read the collection cover to cover, but each story stands well alone and is easily accessible by readers of any age. My only small complaint is that Taschen chose to have captions for the images taken straight from the text of the stories, which I felt was alternatingly pointless (readers can either easily identify the match between image and text, or the specific image can apply to many parts of the story) and a wasted opportunity to provide more context and commentary extraneous to the text of the stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Despite having a Calla edition of this book, when I saw this edition it didn't take me long to give in to temptation. It is a beautiful book, as it promised to be. Nielsen was a fantastic artist; the details and colours within his illustrations are just stunning. That is to take nothing away from the black and white illustrations, these are brilliantly detailed, conveying just as much emotion as the coloured ones. The size of the book is on the larger size. Whilst this would make it difficult to Despite having a Calla edition of this book, when I saw this edition it didn't take me long to give in to temptation. It is a beautiful book, as it promised to be. Nielsen was a fantastic artist; the details and colours within his illustrations are just stunning. That is to take nothing away from the black and white illustrations, these are brilliantly detailed, conveying just as much emotion as the coloured ones. The size of the book is on the larger size. Whilst this would make it difficult to easily transport it, for reading on the go, it means instead that you are encouraged to curl up, rest it in your lap, and be taken away to magical, far away lands. The only downside, and the only way that this edition could have been improved, was the slipcase designed for the book. Rather than being a solid, sturdy way to protect the book, this slipcase is more like thick paper. It feels rather flimsy, just covering the front, back and the tops and bottom; both ends are open, rather than the more solid slipcases. Whilst this is only a minor issue, given that so much attention to detail has been given to the rest of the book, it is surprising that this was overlooked. Having said all of that, as expected, this is an exquisite edition of classic fairy tales. For anyone who either loves the Golden Age of book illustration, or for those with a passion for fairy tales, this is sure to make a welcome addition to their collection. I will certainly treasure it for a long time to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Stanifer

    Everything about this collection of classic Norwegian (Norse) folktales is lovingly crafted. Featuring the stunning illustrations of Kay Nielsen (an early Disney illustrator who had already had quite the impact before he joined the Mouse House), you'll gape at the detail in much of the artwork if you're anything like me. The tales themselves are intriguing, of course, but I almost find the story behind their creation even more fascinating than the tales themselves. The volume opens with a short b Everything about this collection of classic Norwegian (Norse) folktales is lovingly crafted. Featuring the stunning illustrations of Kay Nielsen (an early Disney illustrator who had already had quite the impact before he joined the Mouse House), you'll gape at the detail in much of the artwork if you're anything like me. The tales themselves are intriguing, of course, but I almost find the story behind their creation even more fascinating than the tales themselves. The volume opens with a short biography of the two Norwegian folklorists (Asbjornsen and Engebretsen) responsible for chasing the tales all over the wilds of their native Norway. The legwork they apparently put into their quest puts them in a category above even the famous Grimm brothers. The title story is a variation on the Beauty and the Beast motif, featuring a monstrous polar bear. It is very close to the Cupid and Psyche version of the story that inspired C.S. Lewis's final novel, Till We Have Faces. My favorite story was probably The Widow's Son. The watercolor of the young man charging into battle is as dramatic as a freeze frame out of a modern Hollywood war epic like Braveheart. Very, very impressive work. This is a piece of literary history that deserves to be widely read. Appreciate it for the interest of the tales themselves, yes--and perhaps even more for the influence this collection has had on so many writers and artists since.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrada

    Full disclosure: I bought this book for the illustrations. I saw an exhibition of Kay Nielsen’s work in Boston last fall and I fell hopelessly in love with it. My favourite illustrations were the ones he made for this collection of Norse fairytales so when I found out Taschen had published it in this very pretty edition, I bought it. And of course, since I bought the book, I thought to myself, well, I might as well read the stories too! I was a bit afraid of how tedious I would find them since I Full disclosure: I bought this book for the illustrations. I saw an exhibition of Kay Nielsen’s work in Boston last fall and I fell hopelessly in love with it. My favourite illustrations were the ones he made for this collection of Norse fairytales so when I found out Taschen had published it in this very pretty edition, I bought it. And of course, since I bought the book, I thought to myself, well, I might as well read the stories too! I was a bit afraid of how tedious I would find them since I haven’t been able to stomach children’s literature for a while now, but some of the stories were quite fun and interesting albeit a bit repetitive (everything comes in threes!). Nielsen’s illustrations certainly help make the reading quite magical and I wish he had had more chances to do animation, I think his style was so suitable for it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Some of the weirdest fairy tales in the world were brought to evocative life by Kay Nielsen in the 1910s. His fantastically elongated style drawn in vivid colors not yet seen on the printed page was so indelible that his illustrations have become an essential component of any edition of these classic Scandanavian tales, even today. The stories themselves are classics for a reason, particularly The Widow's Son, The Three Princesses In The Blue Mountain, and the title tale, but I enjoyed this part Some of the weirdest fairy tales in the world were brought to evocative life by Kay Nielsen in the 1910s. His fantastically elongated style drawn in vivid colors not yet seen on the printed page was so indelible that his illustrations have become an essential component of any edition of these classic Scandanavian tales, even today. The stories themselves are classics for a reason, particularly The Widow's Son, The Three Princesses In The Blue Mountain, and the title tale, but I enjoyed this particular edition because it had a great forward on Nielsen's life & the commissioning of The East of the Sun..., and included restored, high-def detail shots of the illustrations.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A cool surprise! The book is gorgeous and the illustrations are mesmerizing. I figured the fairytales would be pretty terrible but they were really interesting! There are typical plots involving quests, magic, trolls, etc. but interesting intersections with Christianity (the Virgin Mary pops up in one story), and a surprising amount of agency in the female characters. Girls save princes from spells, men ask their wives opinion and respect them, mother-in-laws like the women their sons wed. Truly A cool surprise! The book is gorgeous and the illustrations are mesmerizing. I figured the fairytales would be pretty terrible but they were really interesting! There are typical plots involving quests, magic, trolls, etc. but interesting intersections with Christianity (the Virgin Mary pops up in one story), and a surprising amount of agency in the female characters. Girls save princes from spells, men ask their wives opinion and respect them, mother-in-laws like the women their sons wed. Truly shocking stuff.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley T

    4.5 this is a wonderfully illustrated and nicely translated book of Norwegian tales. For once I actually read the preface and information about the artist and those sections of the book were interesting as well. Kay Nielsen’s illustrations are absolutely divine, though I will say they seemed slightly pixilated / fuzzy on some pages. The tales themselves were nicely told. I was surprised by one tale that was basically a gender swapped version of Cinderella. Overall this copy would make a great gi 4.5 this is a wonderfully illustrated and nicely translated book of Norwegian tales. For once I actually read the preface and information about the artist and those sections of the book were interesting as well. Kay Nielsen’s illustrations are absolutely divine, though I will say they seemed slightly pixilated / fuzzy on some pages. The tales themselves were nicely told. I was surprised by one tale that was basically a gender swapped version of Cinderella. Overall this copy would make a great gift to any child, lover of illustration, or folklore fan.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aleesha

    I feel in love with Kay Nielsen’s art after seeing an exhibit at the MFA. His style is beautiful and that alone makes the book wonderful! If you, or someone you know, is a fan of beautiful illustrated books (bonus if they love fairytales) then I can not recommend this book enough. As for the fairytales, they were short and pleasant, I read a few before bed each night. They’re formulaic and there’s a lot of repeated themes, tropes, and lines but the content is fresh if you’re not familiar with No I feel in love with Kay Nielsen’s art after seeing an exhibit at the MFA. His style is beautiful and that alone makes the book wonderful! If you, or someone you know, is a fan of beautiful illustrated books (bonus if they love fairytales) then I can not recommend this book enough. As for the fairytales, they were short and pleasant, I read a few before bed each night. They’re formulaic and there’s a lot of repeated themes, tropes, and lines but the content is fresh if you’re not familiar with Norwegian tales. At the end of the day, the true standout of this book is the art!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    The stunning illustrations are what first caught my eye and made me want to read this collection, but of course the stories are also beautiful. I had read very little Scandinavian folk tales before this, and I enjoyed that while there are some of the same themes you find in more well-known tales like Grimm's, they have their own tropes and characters unique to this culture. Some are definitely odd and a little violent, but they are also comic and heroic. The stunning illustrations are what first caught my eye and made me want to read this collection, but of course the stories are also beautiful. I had read very little Scandinavian folk tales before this, and I enjoyed that while there are some of the same themes you find in more well-known tales like Grimm's, they have their own tropes and characters unique to this culture. Some are definitely odd and a little violent, but they are also comic and heroic.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katerina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30973/... Interesting fairy tales, if very structured and a bit repetitive (they sure do love that magic rule of three!). I can't say I was too impressed, comparing this to other collections of fairy tales I know. I still think the title tale is the best from this collection, and that one's worth the read. Read on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30973/... Interesting fairy tales, if very structured and a bit repetitive (they sure do love that magic rule of three!). I can't say I was too impressed, comparing this to other collections of fairy tales I know. I still think the title tale is the best from this collection, and that one's worth the read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Moorea Corrigan

    A very beautiful illustrated edition of these old tales. East of the Moon, West of the Sun and Prince Lindworm were my favorites. I particularly liked the intro with info about the history of Norway and Kay Neilsen. However, a lot of the captions were just repetition of the text, which I didn't like much in these introductory sections, as they seemed kind of lazy and repetitive. The print quality of the artwork is sublime though. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 A very beautiful illustrated edition of these old tales. East of the Moon, West of the Sun and Prince Lindworm were my favorites. I particularly liked the intro with info about the history of Norway and Kay Neilsen. However, a lot of the captions were just repetition of the text, which I didn't like much in these introductory sections, as they seemed kind of lazy and repetitive. The print quality of the artwork is sublime though. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4

  26. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    Featuring fifteen Nordic tales from the Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe collection (the Scandinavian equivalent of the Brothers Grimm), this reprint of the 1914 edition, sporting the illustrations of Kay Neilsen, is more than literature. It immerses the reader into a heightened exposure to the Norwegian folk culture through the visualization of the golden age of illustration.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The illustrations alone are worth 5 stars - it's an extremely pretty book. The introductory sections of the book are interesting, giving background on the collection and the illustrator. The stories themselves are, like most fairy tales & folk stories, strange and fantastical with familiar elements and repeated motifs. The illustrations alone are worth 5 stars - it's an extremely pretty book. The introductory sections of the book are interesting, giving background on the collection and the illustrator. The stories themselves are, like most fairy tales & folk stories, strange and fantastical with familiar elements and repeated motifs.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rati Mehrotra

    A gorgeously illustrated collection of traditional Norwegian folk tales. This was my last Christmas present to myself, and it did not disappoint. I bought it especially for the illustrations by artist Kay Nielsen, a gifted Danish illustrator who spent his final years in poverty, his work no longer in demand. :-(

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    The illustrations by Kay Nielsen are glorious. This was my first foray into Norwegian folktales. The ones in this volume were collected in the 1800s by two Norwegian folklorists. Lots of princesses and knights and poor younger sons. Oh, and don't forget the trolls! The illustrations by Kay Nielsen are glorious. This was my first foray into Norwegian folktales. The ones in this volume were collected in the 1800s by two Norwegian folklorists. Lots of princesses and knights and poor younger sons. Oh, and don't forget the trolls!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Phillias

    trim and approachable. delightful presentation.

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