Friday, August 15, 2014

Thistle and Thyme by Sorche Nic Leodhas

This is one of my three books for the second mini-challenge of the Newbery Challenge. This is a collection of tales and legends from Scotland that was a Newbery Honor book in 1963.

The stories are all relatively happy ending stories, which is a nice change from most myth collections. The stories in this collection revolve mainly around marriages although a couple are about tricking the fair folk or demons. In the introduction the author talks about how the stories started as word of mouth in Scotland and were passed down by different clans, by monks, and by traveling storytellers. She also mentions that some were written for special events like weddings and one was part of the author's own heritage, it was one her grandfather told her.

I loved all of the stories and raptly read each one. Most had a bit of humor to them. In one story, the one the author's grandfather told her, a man and his bride trick a water kelpie who had cursed the lady. At first the lady could not speak a word because of the kelpie, then when she tried to undo the curse, she could not stop talking. Since water kelpies have to repeat what people say, the lady sat for an entire day by the water kelpie's home, until finally the water kelpie was too tired to keep up and the lady returned to normal.
 I also liked another story that was kind of a twist on the Little Mermaid. In this one, the lady was a seal and a prince fell in love with her. The prince married her and she could stay with him as long as he wasn't cross with her. If the prince became angry with her, she had to leave everything in her new life behind. He became frustrated with her, because she was always busy with her son, and said some not very harsh words, but harsh enough, and she had to leave her family. Things sort of turn out okay for the couple in the end, but it had a bit of a bitter twist to the happy ending.
The first story was also good and was about a laird's lass who fell in love with the gobha's son. A laird is a lord and a gobha is a blacksmith and it involved some trickery on the part of both the lass and the lad to end with a happy ending.

Even though this is an older Newbery, it was very good, although it would appeal more to adults and teens who like a more classic tale than children. It is interesting to look at the older Newbery's and see that the audience in today's time would not necessarily be the same as when the books were published. The next book I will review for this challenge, A Wrinkle in Time, is one of the few exceptions.
Overall I enjoyed this greatly and it is a 5 cups of cocoa book for me!

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