Book Review: Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books & Ulla Thynell (Illustrator) #NordicTales #ChronicleBooks #FolkTales #FairyTales #BookReview

Nordic Tales

By: Chronicle Books

Illustrator: Ulla Thynell


My Review:

Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books and illustrated by Ulla Thynell is a beautiful collection of 17 folk tales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Every tale varies in length, but most are fairly quick and easy to read.

The book is divided into three sections: Transformation, Wit, and Journeys.  Under each title, the author has included where it originates, and a few tales have more information attached at the bottom of the page for more clarification of a word used, or a historical fact; for example, the word jöjking is a Finnish word which means to sing songs.

Many of the tales in this book were unfamiliar to me, while others reminded me of tales from childhood; for example, “The Old Woman and the Tramp” was very similar to “Stone Soup” with the concept and the lesson it teaches of kindness and sharing. Another familiar tale was “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”. Most contain  folkloric characters we’re all familiar with including trolls, witches, dragons, giants, and talking animals of course. Some tales end happily, while others don’t.


The illustrations couldn’t be more stunning, in my opinion. Each tale has a one full-page illustration, and they’re all gorgeous; in fact, the cover is what originally pulled me in. A few favorites include illustrations from “The Boy Who Didn’t Know Fear,” “The Forest Bride,” and “Jack of Sjöholm and the Gan-Finn”.


Nordic Tales would be perfect as a winter read, and I know we’ll revisit this one over and over again. I always get hooked on folk and fairy tale books such as this because they remind me of old books from my childhood with the way they’re designed. Even though this isn’t technically a children’s book, these are books that I look forward to sharing with my own children: stories that not only enrich their lives, but mine. This makes for such an enjoyable reading experience, and a positive reading experience for a parent can be such an inspiration to a child. I was able to share the tales with my middle-grade children, and many with my youngest daughter as well. There are a few tales that may be too scary for younger children (some that involve death and scary witches), and a few are a tad enigmatic for young readers too, but most are great for all ages.


After reading Nordic Tales, we went on to purchase Celtic Tales and we’ll start that one soon. There’s even one called Tales from Japan we’re looking into. All of these are published by Chronicle Books, but have different illustrators.

If you’re a fan of fairy tales and folk tales, definitely check out this book. While a few of the tales weren’t as enjoyable as others, it’s a nice collection worth having on the shelf.


Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 13, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452174474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452174471

From Goodreads:

Trolls haunt the snowy forests, and terrifying monsters roam the open sea.

A young woman journeys to the end of the world, and a boy proves he knows no fear.

This collection of 16 traditional tales transports readers to the enchanting world of Nordic folklore. Translated and transcribed by folklorists in the 19th century, and presented here unabridged, the stories are by turns magical, hilarious, cozy, and chilling. They offer a fascinating view into Nordic culture and a comforting wintertime read. Ulla Thynell’s glowing contemporary illustrations accompany each tale, conjuring dragons, princesses, and the northern lights. This special gift edition features an embossed, textured case and a ribbon marker.

Thanks for reading my review of Nordic Tales. What are some of your favorite fairy and folk tales? Let’s chat in the comment’s section!

25 thoughts on “Book Review: Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books & Ulla Thynell (Illustrator) #NordicTales #ChronicleBooks #FolkTales #FairyTales #BookReview

  1. starjustin

    I think it’s great that you share so much with the kids. I hear them talk about the books they read and how much they enjoy the stories.
    This one sounds so interesting. I’m glad you remember the books you read in childhood. Makes you the reader you are today and the kids are learning to be. 🙂👍🏻❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought so too, Cathy! Honestly, my pictures and review don’t do this book justice. Celtic Tales is by Kate Forrester, but I think she’s mainly the illustrator? It’s confusing the way it’s listed. ❤🧡💛 Happy Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I quite fancy the Celtic Tales, just wanted to make sure I was looking at the right one. It is confusing, as she’s listed as the author and illustrator – perhaps she’s both! Happy Friday to you 💕💛💕

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I just opened my copy and see that she is listed as the illustrator, text adaptation by Mirabelle Korn, and it’s designed by Emily Dubin. Chronicle is still listed as the publisher though.

          The illustrations are so very different in Celtic Tales. Very similar to the cover without much detail. I still think we’ll enjoy it. Let me know if you get it! 😉 Thanks, Cathy!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a lovely book. I used to love when my dad read us a story out of an anthology before bed. He passed when I was only 8, but that is one thing I remember fondly. This would be a great book for my son to read out of to his kids. Thanks for sharing this one, Jen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like a wonderful book. Thank you for posting about it. I have a book from my childhood that was tales of the Norse gods and goddesses which was so very different from what I grew up around, and had remained with me till this day. This book sounds very similar, though it seems to encompass many more countries and cultures. I’m going to have to check it out. You always share the most amazing books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How cool! Have you read it yet? I’m excited to check out the Japan book too. The illustrations in this book are beautiful. I noticed the illustrations in Celtic Tales are very different. 😉


  4. What a gorgeous book! I would love to read this one & flip through the illustrations. It’s so fun that the tales all originate from somewhere else & that each location is written under the title. Cool to know there are more out there, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: September 2019 Review #Books #BookReviews #Music #Birthday #News #Art #September – ReadRantRock&Roll

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