Books: Story books

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A Year Full Of Stories by Georgie Adams, illus Selina Young, Orion pounds 20. Aimed at the under-fives, this has a new story or poem for each day of the year. Young's exuberant illustrations entice you to turn the pages.

The Orchard Children's Treasury, Orchard Books pounds 19.99. Mixing old and new, this treasury contains infant stories, picture stories, rhymes, poems, fairytales, legends and classic stories. They are divided into three sections: 'The Nursery Years' for the under-threes; 'The Early Years' for the under- sixes; and 'Stories For All', making it easy to dip into.

Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Neil Philip, illus Isabelle Brent, Little, Brown and Company, pounds 16. Fairies are fashionable and Neil Philip is their main advocate, with two books out this Christmas. Using fresh and direct language he captures their enchantment, whilst Brent's illustrations are reminiscent of a Book of Hours.

The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales by Neil Philip, illus Nilesh Mistry, Dorling Kindersley pounds 14.99. For the older fairy tale fan, more than 50 tales have been grouped to show how familiar themes know no geographical boundaries. The margins are used for background information on the tale's cultural setting.

Favourite Fairy Tales by Sarah Hayes, illus PJ Lynch, Walker Books pounds 12.99. Ten classic tales simply and elegantly retold. Lynch's illustrations are realistic yet magical (see the Frog Prince, below), many reflecting a Pre-Raphaelite vision.

The Puffin Treasury of Classics, pounds 19.99. Blake, Dickens, Frankenstein and Shakespeare rub shoulders with more traditional children's fare (Carroll, K Grahame, Arthur Ransome) in a lavishly illustrated volume.

Collins Treasury of Fairy Tales by Helen Cresswell, illus Sian Bailey, Collins pounds 12.99. Twelve traditional tales, including "Snow White and Rose Red". A sound introduction.

The Barefoot Book of Fairies by Rose Williams, illus Robin T Barrett, Barefoot Books, pounds 12.99. Eight stories where fairies act as mediators between human interests and natural forces. At the end of the book is a fascinating "Fairy Flora" which looks at folklore linking fairies, flowers and trees.

The Orchard Book of Opera Stories by Adele Geras, Orchard Books pounds 14.99. As an introduction to opera, this book is perfectly pitched. The eight operas chosen are vividly illustrated by different artists, and costume sketches act as a gentle reminder that although these stories stand alone they do come from the stage. There are also short, intriguing facts about the composers and their operas to introduce each tale.

The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales, Sherab Chodzin and Alexander Kohn, illus Marie Cameron, Barefoot Books pounds 12.99. 13 stories from the Asian Buddhist tradition which can be read on several levels and gently raise weighty questions.

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