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Reviews for The Hidden Folk
Starred review: School Library Journal, Dec. 2004
In her introduction to this collection of magical tales, Lunge-Larsen traces the history of those "beings whose presence we feel but whom we cannot see." She explains that, like humans, "Some are kind and gentle; some are quick to anger and resentment," but all are hidden away. They are most likely to show themselves during "in-between" times, appearing at Midsummer Night's Eve or the winter solstice, or during the transitions from dusk to night and from dawn to day. Focusing on tales from northern Europe, the book is divided into sections on flower fairies, gnomes, hill folk, elves, dwarves, water horses, river sprites, and selkies. Each chapter begins with an overview and contains one or two brief stories. Genial asides appear in the margins and further elucidate each magical creature. The author draws on a rich tradition of legends and myths, retelling them in an accessible manner that will captivate readers. Handsome scratchboard illustrations decorate the pages with stylized figures and landscapes. The vivid hues and interesting textures make an eye-catching combination. Descriptive borders herald each section and highlight motifs related to its subject (e.g., the paragraphs on dwarves are framed by anvils, pick axes, shovels, etc.). A source note puts the tales in perspective.
Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
Kirkus, July 15, 2004
These very brief tales offer insight and warning: where you might find the hidden folk, how to treat them, and what might happen if you use them badly. From the flower fairies, readers learn how lily of the valley came to be, the uses of tulips and why parsley is bitter. A boy who mistreats the farm gnome called a "nisse" learns, tossed and muddied, why this is not a good idea. River sprites behind waterfalls teach fiddle-playing, but with a catch, and the selkie story is a familiar one to those who have seen The Secret of Roan Inish. These small, delightful tales are fabulously illustrated by Krommes's scratchboard pictures. She fills the linear patterns inherent in scratchboard design with rich and brilliant color at once cozy and majestic. It's very easy to see elves, gnomes, and dwarves being comfortable in such places.