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Karel Čapek Fairy Tales

Region: Eastern Europe, Czech Republic

Author: Karel Čapek

Original Language: Czech

Translator: M & R Weatherall

Illustrator: Josef Čapek

Characters: Percy, Old Bailey Raven

Genre: Folktales

Descriptors: animals, classics

Age: 5+ years old


Karel Čapek Fairy Tales is a collection of 10 Czech fairy tales written by Karel Čapek and illustrated by his brother Josef Čapek. This collection includes such stories as “A Long Tale About a Cat,” “The Tramp’s Tale,” “The Bird’s Tale,” and more! In “The Bird’s Tale,” Čapek shares with young readers a secret about how very early in the morning, while humans are still asleep, the birds talk to each other in our language. Čapek gives his readers a sneak peek into what birds talk about by sharing a morning conversation between a group of birds before they go about their day. They talk about the shortage of grains, gossip about their neighbors (like that grubby little sparrow, Percy, who tried to fly from Twickenham, London to Egypt, but only made it as far as Tunbridge Wells), and even share the legend of how birds were taught to fly! One day, a meteor, or a “golden angel egg” as the birds call it, came falling from the sky. All different kinds of birds, other than the hen, took turns sitting on the egg to hatch it. Eventually, an angel hatched and rewarded birds with flight so they could fly like angels. The charming black-and-white illustrations are just as enchanting as the stories in this collection. The translators note that while it was necessary to change some of the Czech references while translating these tales into English, they tried their best to retain the “spirit and essence of the Czech original.” The stories in this collection are perfect for ages 5 and up! 

More About This Book

Reviewed: e-book by Pook Press (2013). ISBN: 9781447478034 290 p. 

Notes: For the purpose of this review, only one of the stories from the collection has been read. The story was written when Czech Republic was part of Czechoslovakia, which dissolved in 1993 into a number of independent countries.  


Resources: Amazon:  

Reviewed by Leah Byrnes

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