Writer: Jen Campbell (illustrated by Adam de Souza)
Publishing House: Thames & Hudson
Date of Publication: November 23rd 2021
Rating: 5 stars
“It just so happened that the gardener did know of a house with a thousand rooms. It sat on the top of a mountain, surrounded by giant trees. Inside, there were rooms filled with many different things. One room was filled with music. Another was filled with footsteps. One room was filled with a silence so loud that if you screamed into it, you would hear nothing at all. The house was also said to be full of ghosts, and it was because of this that no one lived there. It was owned by a prince who refused to enter it.”
First of all, read Jen Campbell’s Afterword. She says everything and I simply have no words to describe how much I adore her writing, her unique ability to marry the eerie with the sensitive, the menacing with the hopeful, the gruesome with the enchanting.
Exciting illustrations by Adam de Sousa.
The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers (Korea): A father has three sons but longs for a daughter. He wishes upon the moon and a girl is born. A girl with orange hair. The hair of a fox.
The Souls Trapped Under the Ocean (Ireland): A merman keeps the souls of drowned men and women in pots. A man falls in love with him and feels that something is not quite right…A tale of unbearable sadness and beauty and an atmospheric retelling of a classic Irish myth.
The House that Was Filled With Ghosts (Japan): A gardener finds a house with a thousand rooms to shelter the love she shares with an extraordinary woman. The house is special, each one of its rooms is unique. And the woman’s hospitality will be rewarded. This tale is the definition of tenderness, elegance, and the bond between ourselves and our houses.
The Boy Who Tricked a Troll (Norway): A Nordic tale about a boy who loved the dark and a troll that loved mushrooms a bit too much…
The Daughter Who Loved a Skeleton (Nigeria): A daughter learns that appearance doesn’t matter when it comes to finding a husband. A tale that is all sorts of wonderful and gothic and humorous.
The Princess Who Ruled the Sea (Inuit): A princess refuses to marry and her father punishes her in the most horrible way possible. But the sea is there to receive and shelter her.
“No,” said the husband slyly. “It is because they say that Death takes the best of us. So I’m hoping he will take you instead.”
The Husband Who Cheated Death (Egypt): A cruel husband tricks Death and sacrifices his wife.
The Adults Who Lost Their Organs (Germany): All the Butcher Surgeons wanted was a room to spend the night. But an innkeeper who doesn’t believe in magical and a forgetful cook are enough to put you in trouble.
The Kingdoms at the Centre of the Earth (Russia): A sister travels to the strangest places to escape her brother’s madness. A dreamy retelling of a Russian tale.
“She dived into oceans. She visited outer space. She flew with firebirds and she ate with vampires.”
The Wife Who Could Remove Her Head (El Salvador) : An idiotic husband tries to stop his wife from having her nightly adventures. But her head and her special children beg to differ in this wonderful tale.
The Man Who Hunted Children (South Africa): Two brilliant children and the force of Nature defeat a monster in human form in a terrifying and brilliantly gruesome tale.
The Son of Seven Mothers (India): A brave lad and an even braver girl avenge the terrible crime committed against seven innocent women.
The Girl With the Horse’s Head (China): A daughter misses her father so much that she promises to marry a horse if it brings him back.
…Never make ANY promises!
The Woman and the Glass Mountain (Spain): Such a beautiful, heart-warming tale! A woman braves ghosts and bears and evil magic for the love of a princess with books as her only weapon…
“Escape, dear child, and bring us food,” the wives said. “Escape, into the world, and set yourself free.”