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Tanglewood Tales (Wonder-Books #2)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  812 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, where his birthplace is now a museum. William Hathorne, who emigrated from England in 1630, wa ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1851)
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This is a delightful edition of Hawthorne's Greek mythology for young readers. With a heavy cloth imprint, 150 gsm premium paper, and the 1920s illustrations from Virginia Frances Sterrett, this is one of those books that takes pride-of-place on the bookshelf. Essentially a reprint of the 1921 Penn Publishing volume, this is a win-win for youngster and adult alike.

Mr. Hawthorne wrote these tales as a way to have the myths explained for younger ears. And I do mean "ears" as these stories are mean
Aug 01, 2016 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to these Greek myths as told by Nathaniel Hawthorne over a weekend. My kids listened to some of these as well and really enjoyed the ones that they heard. I'm sure they'll request that we download these again the next time we have a long car ride as we all enjoyed listening. The stories are written as if being told to young listeners, so they translate perfectly to audio format.

I always forget how many familiar story lines have origins in ancient Greece. These tales are truly timeless
Today, Nathaniel Hawthorne, former United States consul to Great Britain, is remembered more for his literary masterpieces like The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, less for his contribution to children’s literature. First published in 1853, this story is a sequel to a popular book called A Wonder Book. In both books Hawthorne retells Greek myths and covers the tales of the Minotaur, Pgymies, dragon’s teeth, Circe’s palace, pomegranate seeds, and Golden Fleece in this narrative. Haw ...more
This rare edition was a gift from my good friends Kevin and Erin, and is a sequel to The Wonder Book which I have yet to read. It's strange to see children's stories from the author of The Scarlet Letter and other somewhat morally-troubling novels. His goal here was to introduce Greek mythology in a palatable and slightly less violent form to children. Perhaps it was also to soften his "image" with his readership, which would explain the fictitiously framed narrator.

The story "Minotaur" is based
Kimber Hansen
Jul 10, 2008 Kimber Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Mythology and I have always enjoyed Hawthorn's writing. To have Hawthorn re-writing a few stories is a joy indeed!

This book went all too quickly. If it weren't for four children in the household at that time I probably would have completed this book in one day.

For some light reading and much enjoyment I highly recommend this book.
I've read most of Hawthorne's other stories and this was a disappointment. It was the dumbing down of a few myths and generally a bleak and borng book of not-so-very fairy tales for kids. The language was clearly stilted, perhaps because Hawthorne was trying to reign in his verbosity for a younger audience.
Apr 15, 2009 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first exposure to the Greek myths. I realize Hawthorne takes much license, but he managed to capture my imagination, and, given the myth aficionado I am today, I don't think it harmed me. Those who know me, of course, may disagree. No matter: I imperiously ZOT them all.
Marissa Martin
I didn't rate this because I chose to walk away from it. I won't say it was bad - the writing was fine. I just tend to prefer my fairy tales and myths with all the dark edges and dirty bits, so the cleanup wasn't to my taste. Hawthorne's child-proofing of the myths goes so far that he makes Ariadne stay with her father out of filial devotion, rather than running off with Theseus. I also found the use of Roman deity names in Greek myths annoying. While these may seem superficial reasons to walk a ...more
Hawthorne retells well known Greek myths in wonderful prose. The reader does feel he or she is at the Wayside Inn listening to the stories.
What I learned...

I learned that, for this book, Hawthorne deserves to go to that part of hell reserved for those who ruin a story in the retelling. The people responsible for the Disney HERCULES belong there as well, along with those who created Clash of the Titans.

My main problem is with the fact that he tires to make the greek myths APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS! That's the fun of them, reading them when you're a kid, and then years later, realizing..."Holy crap, those Greeks had some sick myths!"

Dec 28, 2011 Makayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and you will too if you love Greek Mythology. As soon as my grandma told me this book had Greek Mythology I quickly snatched it from her hands. I was able to quickly get into the book after the prologue(which confused me a little).

My favorite chapter was "The Pomegranate Seeds" which is a similar to the familiar story of Hades and Persephone but, is enriched with more detail and different characters. I just love a story with a good kidnapping scene, I don't know why but I do.
Jan 28, 2012 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"For fuck's sake, tell me why I can't be without you?!" I said nothing, just gave her a kiss on the fore-head. I knew she wouldn't stay away long, and I had waited. "Read me a fairy-tale, I need to sleep", still mad at me. I laughed, easy and content. "Ok", I said, smiling at us. "I don't know what's funny for you." Still mad, still fierce and silly all over. "Close your eyes", I commanded.

Hawthorne was the closest thing I had to a fairy-tale. I tried Kipling the first time she asked, and she to
John Lucy
Nov 25, 2013 John Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I will say is that Hawthorne is such a sneakily good re-teller of old myths and legends that it really is quite enjoyable. Kids and adults should find this collection of stories, which can read straight through as a novel because of the thread that Hawthorne weaves (the supposed story that he is the editor of some college student's stories), will find plenty in which to delight.

I do recommend first reading "A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys." Not that it matters or anything, but you might fee
Sep 18, 2014 Bruce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully illustrated and bound, this volume of retold classical myths, suffers from Hawthorne’s infantilization of his young audience and dummying down of the text. His style, so elegant and arch in his adult works, turns to saccharine mush as he talks down to children.
Jul 18, 2014 Betty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to accept the archaic language, and the fact that Hawthorne felt free to alter the stories to make them, in his mind, more suitable for children. Once I got past these two issues, I enjoyed the book very much. But I think its appeal is pretty limited, and that it's not a book that most children would enjoy today.
May 09, 2016 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tanglewood Tales is one of those book titles I've known forever, while having no idea what it was about. I rather wish I hadn't bothered. No-one can quite kill the imaginative force of the Greek myths, but Hawthorne comes fairly near. I found the style insufferably coy and condescending.
Sep 12, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've put off reading Hawthorne's collections for children for the longest time but finally picked this one up on a rainy day. The didacticism that sabotages many of Hawthorne's works for adults is present here but seems appropriate in the context of tales told to children in part to teach them life lessons. The retellings of the ancient myths and legends are spry and clear-eyed, even if the "meta" frame of the New England storyteller and his interactions with his young audience is often too prec ...more
Katja Nielsen
I really liked this book! I love the Greek Myths but often find them rather difficult to get through. And that is where this book comes in and saves the day. I just want to read more!
Oct 31, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a retelling of Greek myths (Part Two to his previous Wonder Book). I enjoy children’s lit and old-fashioned, poetic language, which could both be strikes against this book for the average adult reader. However, if you are looking for a pleasant way to improve your knowledge of Greek mythology, this is a good place to start. Hawthorne had a knack for turning the immoral escapades of the Greek gods and goddesses into moral tales for children. And he did i ...more
May 13, 2012 Lilium rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was ok in general, however I really hated the fact that it was so heavily censored and simplified. I found Hawthorne's storytelling pretty amusing, and some parts are really funny, but in general I don't think it's good for the people who don't know the true version of greek myths to read it as it will give them a lot of wrong impressions. I hated the Golden Fleece story, as it was censored the most and ended so abruptly that even if I didn't know the real version I would be really disa ...more
Leah Eggimann
I rather enjoyed this book as more of a light read for my free time. I understand that Hawthorn meant this book to be a children's story book, but I imagined these fantastic fairy tales. I didn't like how hawthorn dumbed-down his writings. I feel like that dumbing down the writing really made the stories feel lazy. Other then that, I did enjoy the books. I love Hawthorns writing style and descriptive language. I would suggest this book for whenever you need something light to read.
Jan 23, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boys-books
Thoroughly enjoyable retelling of Greek myths and would be great as a read-aloud book for children (probably 6 and up). Hawthorne manages to weave in some moral lessons on courage, selflessness, and self-mastery without being too didactic. I enjoyed the first of the two books better, but taken as a whole, it was a great read.
Greek myths in a somewhat altered form, brought to the reader in a kind of americanized conversational tone. If I were into Greek myths right now, I would be more interested. But seeing as I am in restless ennui melancholic just-look-at-the-pictures-and-count-it-as-reading...well, that means a coffee table book with big colorful pictures. Hawthorne's going in my never-finished pile, for possible future focus.
Krisette Spangler
Dec 19, 2012 Krisette Spangler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Nathaniel Hawthorne rewrote some of the classic Roman myths in language that children could understand. This version has beautiful illustrations, and I would recommend reading it with your children. It includes the stories of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Theseus and the Minotaur, and other classic mythology.

He also wrote A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, which is also a book of mythology written for children.
This sequel to Hawthorne's The Wonder Book also retells popular tales from Greek myth in fun and engaging ways. Designed for children, some of the more salacious details are left out, but there's still plenty of adventure and slaying of mythical beasts. A solidly entertaining collection of classical mythology.
Mar 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this aloud to the girls. It was nice to read something so well written for a change. The language was wonderful and the retelling of the greek myths included in the book was interesting because the story of Circe (from the Odyssey) was the only one with which I was very familiar.
May 31, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While these tales were written for children, Hawthorne nails the reader's attention by embellishing the characters and with wonderful prose. Yes, there are a lot of "liberties" taken with these stories, they are very good. Fun and timeless. Worth every minute.
Jun 28, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read aloud with the 8 year old.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Tales and Sketches

In compilation only.

1) The Wayside: Introductory
2) The Minotaur
3) The Pygmies
4) The Dragon's Teeth
5) Circe's Palace
6) The Pomegranate Seeds
7) The Golden Fleece
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...

Other Books in the Series

Wonder-Books (3 books)
  • A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys
  • A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales

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