I love fairy tales, especially when they focus on female characters, and especially when they inspire some absolutely beautiful bindings, so I leapt at the chance to get on the blog tour for The Silver Moon Storybook, which ticks all of these boxes!
Book: The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn, illustrated by Megan MacPhie
Read before: No
Ownership: Hardcover provided by Love Books Group for review. All opinions my own.
This gorgeous book can only be purchased directly from the author , so if you’re intrigued, head over there to pick a copy up.
What darkness lies in the past of a little witch, cursed into the shape of a giant? Who will save a magical unicorn, imprisoned for generations in the castle of a tyrant? As the silver moon rises in the sky, an enormous clown and a powerful siren join a humble weaver and other enchanting characters in these haunting tales of illusion, discovery and love.
An exquisitely illustrated bedtime story for the age of #MeToo, The Silver Moon Storybook transforms themes of modern feminism into touching fables full of the magic and shadows of traditional fairy tales.
First things first, this book is so pretty. It’s a dust-jacket-less hardcover with beautiful silver foiling, and the deep purple colour just makes you want to pick it up and stroke it. The simple, whimsical illustration style continues all the way through the book, with almost every other page a full illustration, and many smaller drawings scattered throughout. The author mentions in the preface that this was originally conceived of as a colouring book, and it’s easy to see this in the simple, but surprisingly intricate black-and-white illustrations. This is definitely a beautiful book, and I could spend ages looking at it.
The stories, too, are deceptively simple – they are each the length of a traditional fairy tale, just a few pages, so would work beautifully read aloud as a bedtime story. There’s threads of interconnection between them all, with some characters popping up in multiple tales, but they would each stand alone if you wanted to read them in isolation. The writing has a classic fairy tale feel, but with more of a focus on emotional growth and healing than you would tend to get with, say, Grimm-style tales, which makes them feel a little more modern. The use of metaphor is strongly present, so the stories can be read on multiple levels, which should make this appeal to adult lovers of fairy tales as well as children.
Women, and especially women active in their own tales, is a major theme in all these stories, though there are some male protagonists too. There are no princesses here needing rescue, just women working to fix themselves and their worlds. It’s a book of quiet, feminine strength, rather than bold statements. These women don’t have to be warriors or witches to be powerful, but they do have to be true to themselves. A book of ‘feminist fairy tales’ could border on preachy, but I think that here, it’s the right side of the line, and I hope it inspires its readers to see that subtle, introspective strength as an equally valid form of feminism to the louder, more outgoing kind that makes the news.
It’s a gorgeous book. Four out of five cats.