“So please enjoy these Tales – before a crackling fire on a chilly night, ideally, a snoring grimbear at your feet – but remember, too, their sensitive nature, and if you must read them aloud (which I highly recommend) make certain your audience is peculiar.”
– Ransom Riggs – Tales of the Peculiar, Foreword
Having read the trilogy of Miss Peregrine`s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, the legendary Tales of the Peculiar was a must-read which I was truly looking forward to. It is a collection of selected Tales of Peculiardom. Since the original Tales is a three-volume set of stories, this special selection by the peculiar Millard Nullings features the tales “The Splendid Cannibals”, “The Fork-Tongued Princess”, “The First Ymbryne”, “The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts”, “Cocobolo”, “The Pigeons of Saint Paul’s”, “The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares”, “The Locust”, “The Boy Who Could Hold Back the Sea” and “The Tale of Cuthbert”. Two of the stories might be familiar to readers who have read this series, which feels like catching up with old friends or rereading fairy-tales you came across in your childhood.
First of all, I adore how Riggs writes. The way he tells stories is fascinating, because not only does he use a lovable and almost tender voice to fabricate the Tales, but he also gives those stories a little twist by including his (sometimes pretty dark) humour. I enjoyed reading these stories immensely. Also, those of you who own a physical copy of the Tales: have you noticed the little notes in the beginning, stating the press (Syndrigast Publications) or the instructions on how to handle this book? I’ll give you a quick insight:
“Please don’t use this book as a coaster or a doorstop. Please don’t read the third story in this collection aloud backward. The publisher cannot be held responsible for what may occur.”
– Ransom Riggs, Tales of the Peculiar.
I thought that was hilarious because I’m really into those little details that drip with Riggs’s humour. And I may or may not have broken the rule about reading this particular story backwards, just for the thrill of it…
Another thing I love about the books of this series is how incredibly beautiful they are. The Tales of the Peculiar has a dark green cover with gold embroidered tendrils, featuring birds and locusts and other animals that can be found in the stories within. The inside is lined with golden patterned paper and the first page even has a stamp-like “Ex-Libris”-illustration for the reader to fill in his or her name.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the gorgeous illustrations done by Andrew Davidson. Each of them is black and white and fills a whole page announcing the beginning of a new tale. These illustrations are so intricate and delicate, you would not believe they are wood engravings. Each of them is a gem and to be honest, I had to stop before and after every tale just to marvel at them.
To anyone who loved the series “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” or knows someone who deeply enjoyed reading those books – I highly recommend “Tales of the Peculiar”, either as a gift for someone else or to treat yourself to it.
Author: Ransom Riggs
Title: Tales of the Peculiar
by Millard Nullings; illustrations by Andrew Davidson
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Press: Dutton Books
Year of publication: 2016