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The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-couch ; Illustrated by Kay Nielsen

The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-couch ; Illustrated by Kay Nielsen


New York : Portland House, 1988. Hardcover. 163 pages, [24] pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm. In original dust jacket with firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.

Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch
Illustrated by Kay Nielsen
With 24 plates in full color

Children will be captivated by this assemblage of fairyland residents and fanciful adventures, and parents can take great pleasure in introducing this volume to them.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch leads the wide-eyed youngster through the fabulous and unfamiliar terrain of fairyland, all the while maintaining a light, breezy tone that is exceedingly engaging. Enthralled readers can accompany Prince Souci as he makes his escape from the Iron King's sinister cell with the help of a magic ball of string, aid Prince Bismarck in his search to discover just why it is that a soldier stands guard in the middle of a barren plot of grass, or simply share in the joy of the goodhearted Felicia when she finds her poor, cotton frock transformed into a gorgeous robe of silver brocade.

Quiller-Couch's laughing, conspiring voice reassures us that the schemes of ill-meaning fairies, cruel monarchs, and miscreant ghosts will not, in the end, harm our heroes and heroines. For in this make-believe realm—as we hope it is so in the real world—good triumphs over evil. This charming collection, then, provides much more than wonderfully told stories—it offers models of behavior for young children to follow. These tales demonstrate the value of honesty, hard work, and kindness, and show the wisdom in considering the consequences of actions before taking them.

Quiller-Couch's lighthearted yet purposeful tellings of these fairy tales are but half of this volume's allure. Kay Nielsen's glowing, full-color illustrations distill the essence of fairyland and its inhabitants. Whether it be the pale, minimalist drawing of a forlorn princess who has not smiled once in a whole year or the rococo depiction of a dandyish prince who takes to his sickbed when he does not get his way, these images linger in the mind's eye. Together, in The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales, author and artist create dazzling, imaginary worlds in which children and their parents will long to tarry.

SIR ARTHUR QUILLER-COUCH was the author of numerous books for children around the turn of this century, including The Splendid Spur, Fort Amity, and Fairy Tales, Far and Near.

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