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Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  52 reviews
For many young women, the only fairy-tales they know are the ones that have been retold by Walt Disney Studios.

Once upon a time, these stories of magical transformation were meant for young women as they grew away from childhood and towards adulthood. They were told by their mothers and grandmothers and the wise women of the clan as they spun and wove and stirred their pot
Hardcover, Special edition, 103 pages
Published December 7th 2017 by Serenity Press
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  200 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Sonia Bellhouse
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book with an uplifting message - girls can do almost anything. Having read and loved all the Andrew Lang Coloured Fairy Books I suppose I was a natural fit for this book. It didn't disappoint.
The tales are all little-known folk tales which are retold sympathetically by Kate Forsyth.Adding to the charm of the book are the delightful and almost magical illustrations by Lorena Carrington.
You will probably want to keep a copy for yourself, but this book would make a wonderful gift for
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales
When the same ten fairytales get told and retold and told once again, you could understand why children would get the wrong impression about the whole genre. Children, heck. Listen to how grown adults talk about fairytales when they’re writing their think pieces. Over and over again you’ll hear about how such tales are stuck in the past, encouraging stereotypes, keeping women locked in place. And often this isn’t an untrue assessment. Still, do you know how many obscure fairytales are out there? ...more
Theresa Smith
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2018
It’s no great secret that I am a big fan of Kate Forsyth, her fairy-tale inspired novels for adults being among my favourite and most treasured reads. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a retelling of seven fairy-tales that are either little known or have been to a certain extent lost to the modern world. They feature strong and brave young women who save princes instead of the other way around, demonstrate admirable traits, and show that self-belief is a superpower to be ...more
Nadia King
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best-selling author, Kate Forsyth retells seven forgotten ancient stories with strong and wise female heroes in her book, Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women. The female heroes in the book are role models for girls growing up today.

These ancient tales of wonder and adventure are about learning to be strong, brave, kind and true-hearted, and trusting in yourself to change the world for the better. –Kate Forsyth

Forsyth’s stories are accompanied by powerful and sometimes dark ill
(Eileen)  Dunn
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading fairy tales as an adult is like giving a child sweets! I felt utterly spoilt as I indulged in Kate Forsyth's retellings of the stories in 'Vasilisa the Wise... '. Equally compelling as the narrative are Lorena Carrington's superb illustrations. Some of the best bedtime stories I've read in a long time, this is a beautiful, quality edition. The hardcover book and reproduction of the images that I simply had to touch has become a favourite. I especially like the modern take on what can be ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The stories of seven brave young women.’

Once upon a time, in a century now passed, I read many fairy tales. I loved tales of magic transformation, of tricksy spirits and of success against the odds. I worried a little about the surfeit of evil stepmothers, and the fact that the goal for most girls seemed focussed on finding (or transforming) a prince. Sigh.

In this collection of seven tales selected by Kate Forsyth and Lorena Carrington, these young women are brave, clever and make a difference
Brydie Wright
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love it when a book catches your eye and you think, "I'm going to love that book", then you read it and you really do love that book. It doesn't always happen as some books don't always live up to the hype or the cover but this one does. You can't go too gar wrong with Kate Forsyth but her partnership with photographic illustrator Lorena Carrington and Serenity Press takes this book to another level. I love it so much that I reviewed this book for Enthralled magazine issue 2 (March 2018). You ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet female-focused fairy tales with beautiful pictures. In these stories, the princess always saves the prince. It was nice to see a book so focused on telling stories that girls can relate to.
Marie McLean
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this beautiful book as a birthday gift for my daughter, but in reality, it was as much for me as it was for her.

I regret that only one book survived my childhood. I don’t know what happened to the others. Or whether in fact I had any, other than library books. The one book that did survive is a fairy tale book – Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales. A beautifully illustrated, non-Disney collection of stories that I read over and over as a child, delighting in the colourful pictures. If only
Jody Ellis
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely little stories that begin with an overview and history of the tale. You then get the story and finish with some notes.

A fresh take getting back to the roots of tales long lost. It's really nice to have women take the lead too. I hate how modern fairy tales have warped women into helpless bimbos drooling over Prince Charmings who realistically don't do much to impress other than offer a dazzling smile and have a crown on their head.

My only regret is that there weren't more tales to be ha
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this collection of fairytales featuring heroines who don't wait to be saved, but instead take control of their situations with agency and determination. The stories are enchantingly written and capture the fairytale atmosphere well. The intriguing illustrations are well suited to the stories, and make a refreshing change from the images of bright cartoonish Disney princesses which are so ubiquitous. While my local library has categorised this as 'Young adult fiction', I think it ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These are some of the best fairy tales I have ever read! I have never heard any of them until I read this book and they were amazing! This book is a keeper you will want to read it again and again. The pictures are so beautiful you would want to hang them on your wall. I have read fairy tales all my life but nothing compares to these wonderful tales.
Emily Carlyn
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fantasy
Oh, this is stunning - both in story and illustrations. The style of illustration - photography, is beautiful. I really enjoyed the stories. It felt fun and light to read fairy tales again! Going to add to my library collection.
Corrinne Hills
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love. Proper fairytales told with language that speaks of history handed down over centuries and generations. Full of love and yearning, bravery, faith, trust and hope. Not glitterised and commercialised Disneyesque travesties. These will be the fairytales I tell my granddaughter.
James McArdle
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“What is less the image of an individual of flesh and bones than his simple silhouette? And yet, what does it not say? There is gold there, but the purest!” muses Johann Kaspar Lavater in his second volume of ‘Essays on Physiognomy’.

It is in this ambiguous borderland of the silhouette, a netherworld, that we find Lorena Carrington‘s imagery. Forsyth's fantasy writing has a planetary following and her alchemical amalgam of history and fiction is outstanding, but I would like here to concentrate o
Leife Shallcross
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my God, I love this book. Kate Forsyth's magical words and Lorena Carrington's jewel-like illustrations together create a truly bewitching new treasure trove of fairy tales.
I've discovered a couple of new tales, as well as some different versions of old favourites. And Lorena Carrington's illustrations are just something else. I loved them so much I now have a framed print of Vasilisa outside Baba Yaga's hut on my wall. *happy sigh*
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book so much! I loved the beautiful pictures and these stories of incredibly strong girls. They are kind, resilient and wise. Highly recommend to share with your friends and family.
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My 7 year old daughter and I devoured these stories! We loved reading about these girls and how they worked hard to solve problems. The problems were always solved with kindness and intelligence; never with trickery or cruelty (those antics were always saved for the evil witches or king of the fairies). Its so much fun to read a fairytale! And it is so well written, my daughter devoured every description.

We particularly loved Vasalisa's story; she escapes the evil Baba-Yaga's hut because the do
Stacy Mojica
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite Usborne book of all time!! My girls (ages 8 and 9) were enthralled by the faery stories in this book. They are super creepy. The 8 yo was creeped out a couple of times. But the creepiness and mystery were so fascinating to them that they would beg me to read another story after each one. This book inspired us to find other anthologies of faery stories, myths, legends, and oral folklore.
Kris Nusskern
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am honestly very impressed with this book. I love fairy tales, but am not a huge fan of stories showing that princesses need to be saved. This book gives us lesser known tales — ones of young women who learn to trust themselves through challenges that require bravery. I especially love the relationships in these stories that are often overlooked in other fairy tales, such as the love between two stepsisters. The last story, The Toy Princess, flips the fairy tale princess theme on its head by t ...more
Lyn Haines
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ancient folk tales beautifully illustrated Lorena Carrington and lovingly retold by Kate Forsyth.

Highly recommended.
The illustrations are stunning: layered photographs, mostly silhouettes against ethereal backdrops. They enhance the fairy tale atmosphere throughout each story.

The tales themselves come from European countries, but include seven tales that don’t quite fit the established princess-in-distress-who-must-marry-a-heroic-rescuer stereotype. There’s plenty of hasty romance and happy serendipity, but this is balanced by quick-thinking, observant, courageous heroines who might fancy a bit of romance, b
Shane Harcombe
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First book of the holidays!

This is a beautiful, inspiring collection of fairy tales. The tales chosen here are not the ones we are all familiar with, but instead tales and variations that have been lost over time. The characters we meet are also not the sweet, singing princesses waiting to be rescued that we often see in Disney movies, but curious, resourceful and brave young girls determined to take their destiny into their own hands.
I thoroughly enjoyed this short collection of 7 tales. The s
Lissa Sloan
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of seven tales that turn the stereotypical "princess waiting for rescue" theme on its head. They feature sisters, mothers, and maidens doggedly pursuing their goals with strength and heart. Some of these were (to me) old favorites like Vasilisa the Wise and The Singing, Springing Lark. Others were completely new. I especially enjoyed discovering The Stolen Child and the literary tale The Toy Princess. The tales are retold by Kate Forsyth, one of my favorite fairy tale writer ...more
Elizabeth Hopkinson
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cannot fully express how magical this book is. The choice of tales, the storytelling voice, the illustrations which remind me of Jan Pienkowski and Lotte Reiniger... Even the feel of the book in my hand. There were tales I had heard before and ones I hadn't. I like it that there are little notes on each story by the author and illustrator, saying why they chose the story, why they like it, and how they worked together on it. And I'm just so glad someone made a book to prove false the notion th ...more
Carol Hu
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A bit silly to say it as a legal adult but I fell in love with these fairy tales! It is a children's book but I could learn so much more from them than the disney stories. The twist/plot of the stories are also my favourites where a perfect ending is not just a princess getting married to a prince but to find who we truly are and what is important to us. What a blessing to have stumbled across this book! <3 ...more
Miz Lizzie
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really lovely collection of original re-tellings of fairy tales featuring independent, fierce young heroines. Besides the frequently retold and/or anthologized tales of Vasilisa and Kate Crackernuts, plenty of wonderful lesser-known tales are included. The artwork is evocative.
The re-tellings are superbly done. Chatty notes by both author and illustrator provide source material, information on changes and additions, and personal connections to the stories. The author is well qualified as both
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of fairy stories that beg to be read aloud.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
A perfect book.
Alenka of Bohemia
Very sweet retelling of several classic fairytales in which the girl saves herself (even if she needs some help by others, and the others are never the prince).
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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling author of 40 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'Beauty in Thorns', the true love story behind a famous painting of 'Sleeping Beauty'; 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler in WW

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