500 New Fairy Tales Found!


Once upon a time, the historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth collected fairytales in Bavaria, which were locked away in an archive until 2012.

On Sept 18, the English/German book version: Original Bavarian Folktales: A Schonwerth Selection: Original bayerische Volksmarchen – Ausgewahlte Schonwerth-Geschichten (Dover Dual Language German) will be available but you can preorder it now.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048649991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486499918

At 304 pages it’s difficult to imagine all 500 tales are there, so it may simply be the fairy tales that are brand new and ones that are wildly different versions of tales with which we are already familiar.

However, a definite New Read Must Have. Wondering what these tales are like? Here is one of the newly discovered stories – The Turnip Princess

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog.

The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.

One day, the bear was alone with him and spoke to the prince: “Pull the rusty nail from the wall, so that I shall be delivered, and place it beneath a turnip in the field, and in this way you shall have a beautiful wife.”

The prince seized the nail so strongly that the cave shook and the nail cracked loudly like a clap of thunder. Behind him a bear stood up from the ground like a man, bearded and with a crown on his head.

“Now I shall find a beautiful maiden,” cried the prince and went forth nimbly.

He came to a field of turnips and was about to place the nail beneath one of them when there appeared above him a monster, so that he dropped the nail, pricked his finger on a hedge and bled until he fell down senseless.

When he awoke he saw that he was elsewhere and that he had long slumbered, for his smooth chin was now frizzy with a blond beard. He arose and set off across field and forest and searched through every turnip field but nowhere found what he was looking for.

Day passed and night, too, and one evening, he sat down on a ridge beneath a bush, a flowering blackthorn with red blossoms on one branch. He broke off the branch, and because there was before him, amongst the other things on the ground, a large, white turnip, he stuck the blackthorn branch into the turnip and fell asleep.

When he awoke on the morrow, the turnip beside him looked like a large, open shell in which lay the nail, and the wall of the turnip resembled a nut-shell, whose kernel seemed to shape his picture. He saw there the little foot, the thin hand, the whole body, even the fine hair so delicately imprinted, just as the most beautiful girl would have.

The prince stood up and began his search, and came at last to the old cave in the forest, but no one was there. He took out the nail and struck it into the wall of the cave, and at once the old woman and the bear were also there.

“Tell me, for you know for certain,” snarled the prince fiercely at the old woman, “where have you put the beautiful girl from the parlour?”

The old woman giggled to hear this: “You have me, so why do you scorn me?”

The bear nodded, too, and looked for the nail in the wall.

“You are honest, to be sure,” said the prince, “but I shall not be the old woman’s fool again.”

“Just pull out the nail,” growled the bear.

The prince reached for it and pulled it half out, looked about him and saw the bear as already half man, and the odious old woman almost as a beautiful and kind girl. Thereupon he drew out the nail entirely and flew into her arms for she had been delivered from the spell laid upon her and the nail burnt up like fire. And the young bridal pair travelled with [her] father, the king, to his kingdom.

The End.

Yes, a bit weird, but wonderful. The prince is neither clever nor heroic. The old witch (princess) and the bear [the King, her father] are the brains. What the moral is, is up for grabs. Probably that young men rarely see what’s right in front of them!

A book in every home, and then some —

We read A Book in Every Home, and Then Some (an article by the consistently amazing David Bornstein of the NY Times) last week (May 16). But we felt its content so  important to publishers, consumers, and educators, we just had to mention it here again to make sure  that you had a chance to read it.  A follow-up piece, Publishers as Partners in Literacy, was run on May 20 (that Friday) and we encourage you to read that as well.  However, if you read nothing else, please read the footnote which we are publishing here.

The following content falls under the copyright of the NY Times!

Excerpted from: A Book in Every Home, and Then Some


. . . .


[1]study of close to 3,000 children in Germany found that the number of books in the home strongly predicted reading achievement — even after controlling for the parents’ education levels and income. And a massive, longitudinal study examining the educational attainment of 70,000 students from 27 countries found, surprisingly, that having lots of books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than the father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families.

Animated Alphabet

Too often in the holidays parents go for the cheap breakable “now” gift. This year  go for the “always” gift. A great book.  To that end, we recommend Marie Angel’s An Animated Alphabet.  A beautiful book that any parent can use to teach children about the natural world and their ABC’s.

Miniaturist painter Marie Angel working in the tradition of Medieval calligraphers creates a whole new level to the art of the  Abecedarium.

Almost thirty years ago, Marie Angel was commissioned by Philip Hofer of the Houghton Library, Harvard University, to create a new animated Alphabet. Harvard published the work however only in black-and-white.

Here it is reproduced as it should be: in full color. All twenty-eight drawings (every letter, plus title and colophon pages), printed in this small bijou of a book. A jewel not only for collectors of alphabet books but for also for any child.

Printed by Godine, — and no we are never afraid at FAB to recommend a great book by another publisher —  you’ll be able to explore more of the book through the magic of Google previews if you visit their site: http://www.godine.com/isbn.asp?isbn=1567920233

Softcover, 64 pages
ISBN 1-56792-023-3
1996, $12.95

And while you’re picking up this treasure for you child, pick yourself up a copy of Nature Illuminated, a 16th-century Abecedarium fit for a king, Rudolph II to be exact.

Available through J. Paul Getty Museum
64 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0-89236-472-5
1997, $14.95


Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Local Lad makes good

Roland Frieshlad is a local man who recently translated the poetic German children’s tale (no pun intended) Haschenschule by Albert SixtusFritz Koch-Gotha into English.


Rabbit School is one of those books young children will love and remember well into adulthood.  It’s beautiful pictures by Koch-Gotha, and memorable rhymes by Sixtus,  now made accessible by Frieshlad:

Almost seven! Don’t delay! Each one’s backpack, dark or pale, Bounces o’er a bunny tail.

make this a sure to please Christmas present for 4 and ups.

The story is simple. It’s the first day of school for two young bunnies living in the deep in the woods. A beloved old schoolteacher teaches them everything a good rabbit should know, including how to avoid the dangerous red fox who lurks in the forest.

First published in 1924, the book’s been a classic in German ever since.  It’s still in print in fact.  Sweden, Italy, and Rome (yes, there’s a Latin version!), have all enjoyed this little book. But now for the first time, it’s available in English — thanks to one Ventura dad that loved it so much, he translated it for his son (in 1996) back when he was in kindergarden.

It’s the best kind of book, loved by generations!  Start a new tradition this Christmas, give a great old book, that’s new to Americans!

Available everywhere, it’s the product of Godine. HB $14.99  ISBN 1567923836

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 5:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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