Fireside Stories: Tales for a Winter's Eve
is an illustrated collection of traditional tales. This children's book is beautifully illustrated, with handsome borders and colorful story illustrations. The eight tales in Fireside Stories
, retold by Caitlin Matthews, come from Scotland, Russia, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Canada.
Fireside Stories: The Tales
According to Matthews, "Stories make us feel safe, stories give us wisdom. And there is no better time for stories than in winter." Each of the stories emphasizes a different aspect of winter and the months that precede and follow winter. Before each story, there is an essay by Matthews describing the event or holiday on which the story is based. For example, Matthews presents information about Christmas and introduces a "magical Christmas Eve story from Austria" in an essay before the story "Schnitzle, Schnotzle & Schnootzle."
Unlike the first seven tales, the final tale, "The Cailleach of the Snows," is not a traditional tale. Instead, Caitlin Matthews describes it as "a story of my own invention from the oral myths and legends surrounding Bride and the Cailleach."
Fireside Stories: The Illustrations
It's not surprising that the illustrations are sumptuous. The publisher of Fireside Stories
is Barefoot Books
, a publishing company dedicated to "Celebrating Art and Story." The borders that grace every page are filled with motifs from nature, including fern leaves and snowflakes. There are also several watercolor illustrations of each story.
Fireside Stories: My Recommendation
I recommend Fireside Stories
as a family read-aloud to share on cold winter evenings. The stories are generally ten pages long, including the introductory essay, a good length for sharing. Tweens will also enjoy reading the book on their own. Compare prices
. (Barefoot Books, 2007. ISBN: 9781846860652)