"A foreword by Neil Gaiman leads a veritable treasure trove of over one hundred English folktales gathered and commented on by Neil Philip."
A truly beautiful collection of over one hundred English stories, it just had to be included as a LoveReading Star Book and a Liz Pick of the Month. This treasury would make a perfect gift for anyone who loves the written word, there are tales of wonder and humour, villains and heroines, betrayal and absurdity, birth and death, all of life can be found in these pages, and the commentary adds depth and flavour. The enchanting cover welcomes the reader, and what follows is an absolute delight. This is the first book of English folktales I’ve consumed, nestled at home I have books on folklore featuring the world, and other countries of the UK (and Cornwall), and yet have somehow missed Neil Philip’s original treasury which first published in 1992. This updated version with a foreword by Neil Gaiman will be much loved indeed. Neil Philip’s introduction is fascinating, he explains how things have changed in the thirty years since he first published, now a new generation of writers, including non-fiction, and oral storytellers are weaving folktales into their writing and telling, he finishes his introduction: “In short, the English folktale, far from being moribund, is alive and kicking”. Folktales pack their bags and go travelling, as they meander along their way, they take on new appearances and it is common to see a variation of a tale in different villages, counties, and even countries. Neil Philip sets source notes, the original narrator and location where known, the type of tale is also included, then follows the folktale itself, and after comes a full explanation as to the origins and other fascinating slices of information. Sometimes I recognised elements or even the full stories, at others I came across an entirely new tale, yet could see the invisible thread that holds them all together. The Watkins Book of English Folktales has been collated with true wonder and love for the magic of storytelling, I can only recommend it with my heart and soul.