Art Passions: Fairy Tales are the Myths We Live By Art Passions: Myth, Fairy Tale, and Fable
Art Passions: Fairy Tales are the Myths We Live By

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Featured Book

James Thurber, 13 clocks

Thirteen Clocks ~ James Thurber

Neil Gaiman thinks this is one of the best books ever. You'll enjoy reading it your children.

"Time lies frozen there. It's always Then. It's never Now.""

"Yes," said Hark, "but there are rules and rites and rituals, older than the sound of bells and snow on mountains."

"The night was lighted by a rocking yellow moon that held a white star in its horn. In the gloomy castle on the hill a lantern gleamed and darkened, came and went, as if the gaunt Duke stalked from room to room, stabbing bats and spiders, killing mice."

The Princess Saralinda fled from room to room, like wind in clover, and held her hand the proper distance from the clocks. Something like a vulture spread its wings and left the castle. "That was Then," The Golux said.
"It's Now!" cried Saralinda.
A morning glory that had never opened, opened in the courtyard. A cock that never crowed, began to crow. The light of morning stained the windows, and in the walls the cold Duke moaned, "I hear the sound of time. And yet I slew it, and wiped my bloody sword upon its beard."

13 Clocks at Amazon

The Folklore of Cats

Earlier Recommendations

Nine Lives: The Folklore of Cats

Katherine Briggs

The currently featured book is: Nine Lives: The Folklore of Cats


Cats have been busy since their tenure as gods in ancient Egypt. As we know, cats like to explore. In fact, a cat skeleton was found in a grave dating to 9,5000 BC on the island of Cyprus, where there was no indigenous cat population, so the cat must have brought the cat with them. Medieval monks wrote poems about their cats, and we've read poems had told our children nursery rhymes ever since. And some early Mother Goose versions of (1765) "Cat and the Fiddle" version used the word "Craft" rathe than "Sport":

Hey diddlle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle
The Cow jumped over the Moon
The little dog laugh'd
To see such Craft,
And the Disk ran away with the Spoon...

A Wolf at the Door

edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Daltrow

The currently featured book is: A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales. Like Golden Age children's anthologies, this book for eight to 12 year olds contains both stories and poems on a fairytale theme. Unlike the Golden Age anthologies, illustrations are not its focus. It is, I think, the perfect book for self-reflection on what sort of person one is and wishes to be -- before the cataclysm of adolescences arrives. And the underlying lesson of compassion is a welcome revisit at any age.

Why? This book makes me think of James Hillman's books for adults, The Soul's Code and The Force of Character. This books honors the supporting actors in Life's Story. Or does it shift the reader's orientation away from the only important person ("Me! The Star of the Show") to consider the more complex and feeling side of characters who have only been defined two-dimensionally (in life and literature)? What happens to the Wolf? Suppose Cinderella wasn't a perfect size 3? And how about those cast-off dwarves?

An excerpt from an included poem by Neil Gaiman, Instructions:

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope - what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped
to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.

A wolf at the door

Coloring Fairies

Coloring Fairies: Featuring the artwork of celebrated illustrator Niroot Puttapipat (PicturaTM)

Why? I was delighted to find this coloring book on Amazon. Niroot Puttapipat is by far my favorite living illustrator. His work comes to life for me and he always makes me smile. I have bought several books illustrated by Niroot at The Folio Society. One even sits on my fireplace mantel because the cover itself is so beautiful. Alas, these are collector's editions all, not only the limited editions, books that you sit beside your grandmother as you read them together, not books up close and personal. This is a low-cost coloring book, done in Niroot's trademark Golden Age style, warm and full of heart. It is a coloring book that teaches "seeing", as details and creatures appear as the lines are colored in. Amazon offers it as part of a set with Coloring Dragons and Coloring Medieval Times.

Reviewing this gives me an opportunity to post some of Niroot's illustrations.

You can find more of his illustrations at his wordpress blog, Himmapaan and on my Niroot Puttapipat board.

Fairies drawing by Niroot Puttapipat BBC Music Finale by Niroot Puttapipat Fox and Bird by Niroot Puttapipat Mother Goat by Niroot Puttapipat Illustration to the Rubaiyat by Niroot Puttapipat Illustration to the Rubaiyat by Niroot Puttapipat White Rabbit Illustration by Niroot Puttapipat Manjun the Mongoose drawing by Niroot Puttapipat Twelve Dancing Princesses by Niroot Puttapipat Illustration to Baba Yaga by Niroot Puttapipat Illustration to Baba Yaga by Niroot Puttapipat Crane and Snakes illustration by Niroot Puttapipat Illustration to the Red Fairy book by Niroot Puttapipat Three-Headed Dragon by Niroot Puttapipat