During my teacher training we were instructed to encourage students to read at home as it would develop their vocabulary knowledge , grammar awareness and will help them with creative tasks in GCSE exams for example. I always felt a bit uncomfortable telling students they should be reading as … and it feels strange to confess this as an English teacher especially …. but I hated reading! My parents would read to me ever night but when it came time for me to read independently I would refuse. It took me years to find a book that I actually found interesting (which was the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy if anyone wants to check them out) which developed to my English degree where I was reading two or three books at a time every three weeks however these weren’t books that I wanted to read for fun instead books I had to read for exams/assessments. Since then I have not been able to get back into reading for fun which is a massive shame but necessary in my opinion. The disconnect between me promoting reading but personally not being an active reader myself is a point of contention that many people who know me have laughed about on many an occasion!
Hidden Tales is a series of self-published collection of Twenty two fairytales that were produced by Bernard Quince and was super excited when I received a small sample of the stories to have a look at. The first thing that pricked my attentions was the incredible artworks that was drawn on the envelope the books were inside of. The hand drawn quirky dragon and wizard were so wonderfully adorable and set up the ideas of fantasy instantly which was a great inclusion! Generally speaking , the artwork itself in all of these stories are amazing! In fact, I actually wish that there were more of these amazing drawings with the stories as they are amazing. With the normal stories there is only pictures on the front of the stories that include fairies holding buttons which was an reflection of the narratives within the stories. However, in the cocktail inspired books (which I will talk more about later.) It is clear that Bernard is a very talented artist with these wonderful drawings and I just wished there were more images throughout and this would help to gauge the audience attention.
What is fantastic about these stories is that they have been perfectly crafted for a younger audience to help get them into reading. All of the books contain really short and simple sentences that would keep young children’s attention and is something that they themselves could read to help progress their literacy skills. There are also loads of dialogue throughout which leaves room from parents to showcase their acting skills with a range of characters and voices to again help keep the kids focus throughout which is only helped by the fact that the stories are only a few pages long. I do believe that these stories need a little more colour to help that more attention grabbing for their young audience as at that age loads of children select books to read based on the covers and so they need to be eye-catching and vibrant! I hope that the limited colour palette is due to the ones being sent being samples. As someone who has done many creative stories/essay throughout my life and the one thing I struggle with the most is proofreading. There are a few mistakes within these stories for example in some sentences there are full stops within speech marks and in the next sentence they are outside the speech marks. Children will be using these books to understand how the language works and so ensuring that they model perfect literacy is key and I know personally this reflection is something I personally struggle with so I know I would struggle with also. I was super impressed with one of the riddles used in these stories as it really surprised me! I really loved the cocktail book in this series which gives detailed instructions on how to make drinks inspired by the character within the other stories as this was a piece of me. However , I was a little confused as everything else was targeted to young children but this alcoholic inclusion is suitable for a more mature audience. Within one of the stories the two characters trade riddles to gain the magic button and one of them chirps in with “what does the letter t and islands have in common? … they are both in the middle of Water” which is a riddle that I have never heard of and is very clever to read!
Overall Hidden tales offers modern fairy tales with lovable and comical characters with some amazing drawings. The creators of this series has thought about the audience who would use their products but I do think that there are some small tweaks need to me made for it to be a focused target audience. I would rate these stories 4 stars and would recommend them to families who have young children! You can purchase some of these fairytales on Etsy and amazingly you can follow their YouTube channel where there are readings of the stories by Tinker himself! You can check out a greater range of their products by following this link – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TinkersTales