Review: The Lost Fairy Tales

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations



Book Title: The Lost Fairy Tales (available here)

Author: Isabel Otter

Illustrator: Ana Sender

Publisher: Little Tiger

Publication Date: August 2019

Reviewed by: Nia Talbot, Assistant headteacher and EYFS teacher


When I first received this book and read the press release, I was very excited to delve into these tales and they didn’t disappoint. I love the idea that women aren’t seen as damsels in distress as they are often represented in ‘traditional’ fairy tales, but that the women are instrumental in their own destinies or they are the ones who are saving the men. The 20 stories in this collection show the women to be heroines who are brave, clever and in control.


At the beginning of the book, there is an introduction and a story map that helps the reader to place the stories in the anthology but it also supports their understanding in relation to the cultural references in the tales. It is great to see such a range of cultures and countries represented here.


Isabel Otter uses some beautiful vocabulary choices as she retells these lesser-known tales and the stunning images that accompany each story really bring these tales to life. Ana Sender’s illustrations are magical and add another dimension to the text, especially reflecting the ethnicity of the characters.


As with any anthology, I have my favourite stories. The Chinese tale The Songs of Liu really resonated with me as it explored the power that music can play in breaking down barriers and bringing people together. I also loved The Magic Boxes, a tale from Iran, and the Canadian story The Sacred Waterfall.


This book is really an eclectic anthology of tales that is perfect for sharing in school. Each story is short, which means that they are great for reading for pleasure, guided reading work or for using as the basis for a unit of work. The tales are most suitable for Key Stage 2, but I think that the stories Bella and the Bear and The Coconut Shell are suitable for Year 2 as well as KS2.


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You can order The Lost Fairy Tales online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Nia for reviewing it.



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