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The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World
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The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The Maid of the North weaves together tales about a woman's right to freedom of will and choice. In this collection of mostly nineteenth-century folk and fairy tales, Ethel Johnston Phelps's heroines successfully portray women as being spirited, courageous and smart. This type of heroine is not easily found in most collections; in most traditional folk and fairy tales we e ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 15th 1981 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (first published 1981)
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While the stories themselves are interesting, and the illustrations very evocative, the collection as a whole does not live up to the theme of "feminist" folk tales. The common theme here are stories featuring females (mostly pretty young ladies). Some are brave, some are resourceful. Nearly ALL of them go through their adventures only to become happily married in the end, forever after.

There's my problem with it. Most of the stories end at the point of joyous marriage, just with all the regular
Not actually a "men suck, who needs them anyway" collection of feminist tales, but rather stories where the heroine has a larger role to play (as opposed to, say, Sleeping Beauty, who is unconscious for much of the story) or rescues herself, rather than needing a Prince Charming, or where the heroine helps the hero considerably. Don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of fairy tales, but it's nice to see some that don't follow the predictable Disney format. Although the author admits to taking some ...more
Fiona Endsley
These tales are very beautifully and lovingly retold, "Fair Exchange" alone makes getting this book worthwhile. Though these stories are particularly beneficial for little girls to hear, anyone who enjoys a good story will find this a satisfying book.
Sam Grace
So I recently reread it, but I cut my eyeteeth on it which is probably why I love it so much. That said, so many great stories that I now force my husband to suffer through before allowing him to fall asleep at night.
Dec 13, 2008 HeavyReader rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, fans of spunky little girls
These feminist folks tales feature smart and spunky females; women and girls get the be the heroes here! Boys and girls should read these stories.
I was never huge into fairy tales as a child, but I think I would appreciated this collection greatly had I been. I can imagine these lesser-known and reworked traditional fairy tales are great for bedtime stories for younger children, and broken up enough to keep the attention of an independent reader to whom illustrations are not terribly important (in that not every story has one, they are nice in and of themselves). A great stepping stone for parents & children bored with the standard fa ...more
I reread this book, after not having read it for many years. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with fairy tales that have powerful women. No Sleeping Beauties or Cinderellas here, waiting for the handsome prince to rescue them. These women use their wits to solve problems, save their communities,and fight evil.
Lisa Overberg
"What a woman desires above all else is the power of sovereignty - the power to exercise her own will" (p. 40). So discovers Sir Arthur in the English tale, "Gawain and the Lady Ragnell." This collection of folk tales features strong, independent female protagonists who possess the self-confidence to solve the dilemmas they face. Readers meet fearless maiden hunters, a brave but hungry woman who acquires a magic stirrer that produces unlimited food, and a heroine named Duffy whose dilemma recall ...more
These read as if only inspired by tradition - the style of the retellings doesn't have the glamour and magic of the truly old tales. The book is designed to look like a scholarly text, to be used in Women's Studies programs, but the notes are much too brief. I, personally, didn't care for the artwork.

I'd be more likely to recommend a brand-new story about a kick-a* woman who makes her own way her entire life, instead of being satisfied with these stories about women who were admired simply becau
A must-read for those who are tired of Cinderella and her passive friends.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the fables and tales from this anthology. The feminist twist was very nice although I wish there had been more research done on how these tales were considered by the different cultures they were told in. Also the treatment of women in those cultures, aka the reality of the tales.
All of the stories were absolutely fascinating, some I had heard before, others not, but they were all very well retold.
Jun 16, 2008 Travis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, girls and their allies.
Well ediited and very readable folks tales with female protagonists from around the world. Some of them may be debatably feminist, but they are good stories, features women in girls in the spotlight, usually being clever and strong. Worth having and reading. The diversity of cultures represented is also a plus.
This collection includes several tales that I have read elsewhere. While most of the tales have a line at the end of story saying that heroine married, becoming a wife is not the quest of these stories. The collection also shows different types of women doing things in different ways.
Alexandra Chauran
This was a collection of myths, some of which I had heard, some which were new to me. Many of these focused on powerful female main characters. They weren't particularly well told. The best feature of this book is that the myths were from diverse cultures.
A beautiful collection of female-friendly folk tales. All featuring powerful female characters who decide their own fate. A great suggestion for children, boy or girl.
Loved reading folk tales I hadn't heard before. I also don't want my daughter exposed to many of the Disney fairy tales, so this is a great alternative
Lauren RM
Love it. Stories with strong female characters from all over the world. Thank God I was raised on these and not womangetsrescuedbyknight stories.
So nice to find folktales and fairytales about women. It's a good collection, fun and readable. Good stories.
I'll have to buy this one to read the stories to my children! They are all great!
Jan 12, 2009 Sally marked it as to-read-library-has  ·  review of another edition
JoDean marked to read another book by this author. Library has this one.
Feminist children's lit. Good.
Nov 23, 2012 Carmen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
recommended by Kris Santjer
Christina C
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