Nordic Tales Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark: A Book Review
A Cover that Sells
Welcome back to Nordic Month where today I review Nordic Tales which contains folktales from the five main Nordic countries.
Back in August 2021, I was wondering through Barnes and Noble when I stumbled upon this book. Instantly, I knew I must have it as the beautifully illustrated and embossed cover drew me in.
Once I got it home, I kept staring at the cover excited to read the short stories inside. It was then I came up with the idea to have Nordic Month for the month of January. This book had brought me back to my time in Iceland just with the cover alone and I wanted to share not only my experience but the culture.
Overview of Nordic Tales
Nordic Tales contains 17 short folklore stories past down from generation to generation from the 5 main Nordic countries Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Demark. The tales are divided into three categories including transformation, wit, and journey with five to six short stories within each category.
The Cons of Nordic Tales
The tales were translated in the early 19th century and have not been updated since. This means simple phrases like 'once upon a time' read as 'once on a time'. I think it would've been wise to go through all the stories and grammatically fix the errors so it would make it easier on the readers to understand what was happening.
· The Last Story
All the tales were short and simple making them easy to follow. The last story, Jack of Sjoholm and the Gan-Finn, was quite opposite. It was almost three times as long as the other stories and very confusing since the translation was not clear. There didn't seem to be a purpose at the end of the story like the rest of the tales. It made the end of the entire book feel very long and boring.
Many of the stories, even though coming from different countries seemed very repetitive. The endings were very similar along with the magic. Most often times characters had to go through three trials so you kind of knew what was coming in the next story after reading two or three others.
· Telling and Not Showing
Once again, because these stories were translated many of them are written in a telling manner instead of showing us. Now this makes sense since these stories were often told in person and not written down, but for a book published in the 21st century I would expect them to add the appropriate descriptive words to help with the imagination of a young child.
The Pros of Nordic Tales
· Fantastic Illustrations
Not only was the cover beautiful but each story as its own illustration at the beginning of the tale relating to one scene or another within the story. Ulla Thymell, the illustrator, did a wonderful job incorporating symbols and designs of the Nordic culture into the illustrations.
· Short and Easy to Read
Most of the stories were roughly ten pages in length making it a great bedtime story for families. They were easy to read and any words or items in the story which could not be translated had a definition at the bottom of what it meant so you could still follow along.
· Where It Originated
Before each story it states which country the tales originated from. This made it easier to see the differences and similarities between the other stories which I found to be fascinating.
· Great For The Whole Family
This book is great for the whole family as there was a variety in monsters or evil villains along with the rating of each story varying from PG to R. Something for everybody to enjoy.
Overall Review Summary
Even though this books is only 157 pages, and each story is a fast read I found myself spreading out the tales to enjoy over the month of December when I would settle down for bed. The tales were fun and exciting but also heartwarming which was a great way to end the day.
Out of the three categories, I found myself more drawn to the tales with transformation or wit as they seemed more relatable with Norway as the front contender for best stories overall.
The last short story of the book should have been taken out as it seemed to stand out in a bad way when compared to the others as the remaining stories flowed together well.
The illustrations really made you curious as to what the next short story would bring as you tried to puzzle together the interesting creatures or locations found within the picture.
Overall, I give this book a 4.2 out of 5 stars. The nostalgia it brought back from my time in Iceland bumped it up the extra 0.2 lol
If you are interested great reads check out my children's picture book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss. You can purchase it on Amazon, in eBook, format for only $9.99! Or get a physical copy at Blurb.com for $32.99!