Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Old Peter's Russian Tales” as Want to Read:
Old Peter's Russian Tales
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Old Peter's Russian Tales

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  42 reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Published 2003 by Jane Nissen Books (first published 1916)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Old Peter's Russian Tales, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Old Peter's Russian Tales

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  284 ratings  ·  42 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Old Peter's Russian Tales
Paquita Maria Sanchez
A couple of these were creepy-cool, but it's starting to feel like fairy tales are pretty much all the same no matter where you go. Women are assholes, men are emasculated by their asshole women, someone recommends you give her a good beating be she daughter, step-daughter, or wife, there's occasionally one good gal livin' a life of Cinderelly-Cinderelly (a virgin, no doubt) who ends up with some charming Prince/Tzar/football star, and all the gods and spirits of tides and wind and fire have to ...more
Monica Davis
More than merely a collection of short stories, this book sets the mood through using the character of a grandfather (Old Peter) telling tales to his two grandchildren. In between tales, we glimpse a bit of everyday family life through events and conversations in their hut in the forest.

As for the Russian folktales themselves, the theme of "three" frequently repeats: three brothers, three sisters, three princesses, a snake with three heads, etc. And quite a few stories are built around the main
Christina Reid
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant collection of Russian fairytales! Loved it! ( Note for parents/teachers - just be aware that a stepmother calls her stepdaughter a hussy and a whore in one story...your child may need an explanation!)
Jan 20, 2014 marked it as dnf-or-set-aside-for-now  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
This is an entertaining collection of Russian folk tales. I love that the tales are connected through the three characters: old Peter, and his grandchildren Vanya and Maroosia. He is telling the children these tales and there are small bits of conversation at the beginning and/or end of each tale.

We took our time reading this book and even had to bring it back to the library once in order to check it back out. We had heard some of the stories before, but many were new to us. Some were quite sta
Mary Catelli
A collection of fairy tales from Russian, rewritten for English children. . . .

You can tell the rewritting not only because it's done up in a frame story of Old Peter telling his two grandchildren, but because of literary effects in some of them. Still some interesting tales, variants on familiar Russian tales. And the tale of the snow child got combined with the tale of the Russian Snowwhite, who got lost in the woods and got offers from animals to guide her back.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Russian folktales and these are nicely retold by Arthur Ransome. I enjoyed the way he connected all of the stories by having a grandfather relate them to his grandchildren. I need to read about Arthur Ransome's Russian period, apparently he was suspected of being a spy and married Trotsky's secretary. ...more
Nov 30, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Arthur Ransome, author of the Swallows and Amazons series of books, collected these Russian tales and I finally found a copy in the library. Fun stuff!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nor'dzin Pamo
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
I remember these stories fondly from my childhood. My father read them to me when I was very young, and then I read them myself when I was a little older. I remember in particular being rather scared by the witch with iron teeth, Baba Yaga! Now, nostalgically reading these stories again as an adult and grandparent, they still hold their charm. My only irritation is the portrayal of women. As is so common in fairy tales and fables, women are either bad: ugly crones, evil sisters or step mothers, ...more
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an entertaining mix of old fairytales - some myths, some fables, but most just stories set in traditional Russia. It would be very interesting to see Russian versions of these and compare them to Arthur Ransome's edition/translation - just how far has he Anglicised it all? How much of the style is his, and how much Russian? Is the setting (Old Peter and his grandchildren, Vanya and Maroosia) Ransome's or is it something older?

Not as dark or as blunt as Grimm's fairy tales, these are stil
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A childhood favourite. Still got my rather threadbare copy and still enjoy reading it.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Read it for research. It's a very westernized approach to Russian fairy tales.
It didn't help much but it was short and got me into the "fairy tale" research mood.
Marc-Antoine Serou
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Amazing folks/fairy tales. Not quite appropriate for my kids yet (5 and 7y/o), but can’t wait to read it to them. A needed escape during these cold snowy days.
Lynne N
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous tales retold by a master storyteller.
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: read aloud to the 9yo, a story a day, every other week.

Comments: One of the wonderful aspects about this collection of Russian folk tales is that they are centred around Old Peter who looks after his grandchildren, a boy and a girl, because their parents are dead. Old Peter is known for his storytelling and the children are always clamouring for another story and sometimes Old Peter will start to tell one all on his. So at the beginning or ending of each story we have a littl
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now one of my very favorite fairytale collections. I love how the stories are framed by Old Peter's relationship with his grandchildren, whom he cares for as his own children since their parents are dead. Every night he returns to their hut and this is the sweet scenario that plays out:

"You are snug in here, little pigeons," [Peter] said.

Vanya and Maroosia had jumped up to welcome him, and when he opened his big sheepskin coat, they tumbled into it together and clung to his belt. Then he closed
Gill's likes reading
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourites
Looking through my library at home I found that I had not got this on my books I have read. My copy which is bound in blue leather, was chosen by me when I was about 10 years old after being given a book voucher from Sunday School.

The dog chewed it, and it is looking a bit sad, but this book took me through my childhood. I have never tired of reading it and even though it is a few years since I have read through it, each story stays strong in my mind. These are fairy tales which transported me t
Rebecca Ann
I loved this book of Russin fairy tales. The stories had rich language and a darkly magical atmosphere. Each story is told by Old Peter to his two grandchildren, and they sometimes interrupt the story. Think The Princess Bride. I didn't really care for that, but it wasn't too disruptive. Because it was written so long ago it has some issues like drinking vodka, wife beating, the word slut, and vague racist comments. It would be easy to edit those out for storytelling, though. My very favorite st ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I picked up this book as it was a reference for The Snow Child. I studied Russian language, literature, and culture in college, so I thought a book of Russian Tales would be appealing. And, I was right. I very much enjoyed these stories. There was one that I had actually read to my 4 yr old from a children's book that she had picked at the library. It is always interesting to see what themes exist in the stories of other cultures. The Russians seem to like the idea of throwing objects on the gro ...more
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This one is a lot of fun. It is a collection of short Russian folk tales written for English children. I have found the stories delightful. I have especially liked "The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple," "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship," "Prince Ivan, the witch baby, and the Little Sister of the Sun," "The Stolen Turnips, The Magic Tablecloth, The Sneezing Goat and The Wooden Whistle," "Little Master Misery," and "Who Lived in the Skull" so far. I have five stories ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
I was obsessed with fairy tales and myths as a child, and this collection is one that's stayed with me. I still own the book & even still read it periodically. Some readers may find the frame story of old Peter the forester with his grandchildren to be a little irritating, but it did not bother me. I think that children would enjoy it because it provides a picture, if an idealized one, of pre-revolutionary Russian rural life. I really enjoyed the flashes of dry wit in some of the stories. My ver ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I still enjoy fairy tales, so these were well met. It was interesting seeing the small differences that exist between cultures - The Golden Fish story, for instance, was nearly identical to an Irish legend that I read several months ago. It has its equivalents in English and American stories as well.

The book was well written, if dated, and would stand up rather strongly to being read aloud.
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
No doubt that Ransome is one of Britain's most respected children's authors, but this collection is simply very hit-and-miss. Being a russophile, I initially picked this up to get an insight into traditional culture. Instead I was mostly disappointed by the poor representation of the tales, confusing and just plain boring at times; these outnumbered the exciting ones, sadly. ...more

"And then there came in the thirty daughters of the Tzar of the Sea. Beautiful they were, lovely, and graceful; but twenty-nine of them passed by, and Sadko fingered his dulcimer and thought of his little river."

Abi Reynolds
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed 'Swallows and Amazons' and all the books that followed as I could relate to them as a child. This book was written before those during a period in Ransome's life that I know little about, but that I now want to find out more. The book is a series of Russian folk tales similar to Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, in that they have similar storylines and loosely a moral to them. ...more
Kathryn McCary
Good solid retellings of some Russian folktales by an English author. "Salt," included in the Childcraft anthology, was a great favorite in my childhood, and I was astonished (and delighted) to learn many years later that it had been written by the author of the Swallows & Amazons books. ...more
Laura Morrigan
This was one of my favourite books as a child, and has some of my favourite Russian fairytales in it, such as The Firebird.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
We read about half of these stories and we really liked them.
Savina King
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
given this gem of a book as a child, beautiful illustrations. A book to keep and treasure forever.
rachelish Slater
Loses a star for the stories which promote wife-beating, but overall interesting, charming and generally lovely.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
  • Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron
  • David Boring
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • Hobberdy Dick
  • Moominland Midwinter (The Moomins, #6)
  • The Mummy's Quest (The Universal Library, #1)
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1)
  • The Bromeliad Trilogy (Omnibus: Truckers / Diggers / Wings)
  • The Pre-Raphaelite Circle
  • The Valiant: Jaswant Singh Khalra
  • Alexis de Toqueville, Collection
  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
  • The Blue Flower
  • Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys
  • H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey & Maturin #3)
  • Tissues For Men
  • Puffball
See similar books…
Arthur Michell Ransome was an English author and journalist. He was educated in Windermere and Rugby. His family spent their summers at Nibthwaite, to the south of Coniston Water.

In 1902, Ransome abandoned a chemistry degree to become a publisher's office boy in London. He used this precarious existence to practise writing, producing several minor works before Bohemia in London (1907), a study of

Related Articles

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
112 likes · 35 comments