Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods

Reviewed By  Ian Banks       May 30, 2017


Author  Craig Phillips

Distributor:      Allen and Unwin Childrens
ISBN:                 9781760113261
Publisher:         Allen and Unwin
Release Date:   May 2017  


Back in ancient times storytellers moving about the countryside, told tales of caution and fun to entertain the townsfolk and deliver the latest in news and gossip from far and wide.

Over time the stories were written down, accompanied by a drawing or sketch, but prior to this people used their imagination to create a picture, to embellish the tale told by the storyteller, to allow themselves to right to be frightened, in the nicest possible way. The other side of the tale had a more serious side, echoing caution, reflecting on pride, greed and bravery.

Many fables and fairy tales were told ranging over many years; many countries and having possibly as many interpretations as there were storytellers. Now Craig Phillips has joined their ranks, taking an ancient art form, turning it on its head, to bring once again to a new generation, tales of old, of wild and wonderful people and events, all still laced with the same caution of old.

With the advent of the graphic novel it has allowed modern day storytellers such as Philips free reign with their imagination to re-image characters such as the Boy who was never afraid, along with Fin McCool the Irish Giant who lives in a stone fort and Benandonner, of the Scottish Isles who decided to have a competition to see who was the biggest, noisiest and more fearsome of the two. Snow White and Rose Red also make an appearance in a tale which has, over the years, grown a little bit more.

Momataro is a lovey tale from Japan about a peach, a God, a group of mischievous monkeys and of course a stolen treasure and when transposed into graphic form, gives the lively tale a completely new concept. Glorious full page illustrations, give Thor and his ferocious foe the Frost Giants a fearsome countenance, and we also get to discover just what did happen when a brother and sister fall down a well.

Colourful, creative, vibrant and totally enjoyable, whether you are  young or old, Phillips has created, with obvious enjoyment, a completely modern take on tales gathered from around the world in Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods, which will no doubt, become a firm family favourite,