This is a wonderful world.
I started reading books with my sister’s eldest, let’s call her S6, and i did some research on childrens’ books. It’s much easier to find resources online for translations of non-greek books unfortunately. For our first book though i went to Public but i did not find that many options which caught my eye. There was an abundance of books with very little story and lots of illustrations. Even for children of ages 6-9. I was about to give up when i found a translation of Russian Folk Tales. There are about 8-9 stories in there with a beautiful illustration every 3-4 pages. After reading 3-4 of pages of the first story i grabbed it (and paid for it of course…).
Our experience with it was not great.
First of all the stories were quite similar to one another. Beautiful woman, czar, witch, marriage, After our 3rd story and our third straight “love at first sight” and marriage even S6 was frustrated.
“They got married again?!” she said.
A mistake we may have made is that we went through 4 of these in one sitting and that might not be the way to ago about it. Even so, they felt quite limited and old fashioned. Especially for young girls. As if the only fitting end to a fairy tale is finding a prince and getting married. Also the lady protagonist was usually a lady in distress figure and not a dynamic, independent woman. Maybe i should have expected this when i bought it.
Another thing that struck me was how dark these tales are. They had people dying and cut to pieces. Poems about boiling water in cauldrons and sharpening the knives. A witch’s fence was made out of human skulls and bones. Pairs of hands (with no bodies) doing chores around the house…. So those needed to be censored along the way with one or two slip ups on my part…..
In the end however she still enjoyed it and i have to say so did i. A lot. It’s quite different to read something aloud to/with someone and discuss things compared to the solitary experience.
After visiting a couple of more bookshops i got The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet . It was not my first choice (Where the Wild Things Are and Charlotte’s Web were) but it was still highly recommended. This is definitely a step up for us length and quality wise. Can’t wait!