Just Imagine

An Illustrated Treasury of Swedish Folk and Fairy Tales

Authored by Various
Illustrated by John Bauer
Published by Floris Books

This is a centenary version of the classic book, which contains Swedish folk and fairy tales combined with John Bauer’s atmospheric fairytale illustrations. The book contains short stories about Trolls & Tomtes, Brave Girls & Boys and Kings & Queens as well as information about the life of John Bauer.

The stories, although Swedish in origin and therefore will be unfamiliar to most children, are based on a similar structure to all folk and fairy tales which will be familiar. They cover themes such as transformation, quest and sacrifice with the backdrop of the Swedish landscape such as woods and mountains but introduce characters such as trolls, gnomes and crofters.

This book is a really interesting collection and would allow pupils to learn about folk and fairy tales beyond the usual Rapunzel and Hansel & Gretel and look at how the physical geography of a country is represented in stories from that place. The story structure could be compred to stories form a range of cultures and provide a clear structure which pupils could then use to write their own versions. I used one of the stories The Prince without a Shadow to plot the structure of the quest and then the children compared and contrasted this to Where the Wild Things Are. I would definitely have a copy on my bookshelf, especially in Key Stage 2 both for the illustrations and the stories.