Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales: Throwback book review

Cover art by Brian Froud, Abrams Books, 2014

I think that everyone who loves fairies knows and loves the fairy art of Brian Froud. The English illustrator became world famous with the publication of the 1979 art book “Faeries” which was co-authored by Alan Lee. In 2014, I reviewed “Brian Froud’s Faerie’s Tales.” Here’s my review.  

“Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales” by renowned fairy artist Brian Froud  was published by Abrams. This beautiful coffee table book was authored by Brian Froud along with his wife Wendy, who became famous when she created Yoda for “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” The book includes fairy art by Brian Froud and fairy dolls created by Wendy Froud.

There is an aged tree that stands guard between the human world and Fairy land. The fairies call it the Parliament Oak. Brian and Wendy Froud, referred to by the fairies as “the Two,” invited the fairies to come and have their portraits painted by “the portrait painter to the fairies.” The fairies not only obliged, but were very intent on sharing their stories with the humans.

The king and queen of the fairies appoint a “mischief maker” fairy called Finn to coordinate this gathering of fairies at the Parliament oak. Because the fairies are such ancient beings, many of them have forgotten their stories. Finn gets the idea to employ a family of “Dusters,” fairies who dust long forgotten memories to reveal them.  The Dusters gather fairy stories from humans, and bring them back to help the fairies remember, and tell the stories from their points of view.

As each fairy sits for their portrait, they tell their tale. Many of these stories are quite dark, yet still enchanting. The fairy stories are interspersed within the over-arching story of Finn and the Dusters. Finn, being a mischief maker can’t help himself, and sets out to make a bit of fun by having his uncle Hellebore, a trickster, bring his collection of “lost” fairy artifacts to the fairy gathering and lay them out for their owners to claim. In the mayhem, the young dusters, Ela and Epi sneak away for an adventure, and get trapped inside a human mind. Their parents, Finn and Hellebore must find and rescue them before they are trapped forever.

Along the way, the fairies’ tales are shared along with haunting paintings of them by Brian Froud, and charming fairy figures by Wendy Froud. The sheer number of fairy paintings by Brian Froud for this book is astounding. Some of them are full page portraits, others are smaller, several appearing on a single page. They are entrancing, mysterious, and mystical.

Verdict: Buy it. “Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales” is a must-have for lovers of fairy stories and fairy art. The book is printed on nice, heavy coated stock, and is of superior quality. This book is made to last, and will need to because everyone who sees it will be drawn, as if by magic, to pick it up and take a journey into Faerie. The suggested retail price is only $35.00, but always offers a great discount.

Parts of this article originally appeared in my National Fairies Examiner column.

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