Picks and Pans Review: Fairy Tales

updated 11/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Terry Jones

Although he read English at Oxford and is an expert on Chaucer, Jones is most famous as a member of the Monty Python TV troupe (he's the Nude Organist and Dirty Vicar). He originally wrote Fairy Tales for his daughter Sally in 1978; there is indeed something homemade about them. There are a lot of heavy-handed moral tales, epitomized by "The Three Raindrops," which lasts only five paragraphs and ends up with a big raindrop, a well-shaped one and a pure one landing in a muddy puddle. The only really Pythonesque story concerns King Herbert XII, who was fond of sitting in a fountain nude, singing "selections of popular songs and shouting 'Radishes!' at the top of his voice"; he liked to dress up as a parsnip and throw Turkish dictionaries at people, too. Jones' tales are often charming, though—in one, a little girl is whisked from her bed by a creature called a fly-by-night, and another explains that the sun used to be a slightly deaf princess, so the birds sing loudly every morning to try to wake her. Michael Foreman, a veteran illustrator, provided 84 drawings that are models of economy in both color and line. They seem to brighten the pages almost musically. (Schocken, $14.95)

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