Barefoot Books is an award-winning publisher, renowned for its distinctive collection of books. Their hardcovers and paperbacks are enjoyed by both children and their parents. We love Barefoot Books and have quite a collection at home. Some are so well-loved that we need to keep the pages together with the scotch tape.
The World of Miss Clara Gift Set (Barefoot Books) is a splendid collection of three books: The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. All these titles have been beautifully illustrated by the French artist Claire Guiral aka Miss Clara.
Each book in the set is accompanied by a story CD.
All three books are illustrated in the same recognizable unique style. Miss Clara uses mixed media and digital technology to create a series of enigmatic collages, where 3D characters blend in with the paper cuttings, fabrics, splashes of paint and photos.
They remind me of Somerset Studio magazines on mixed media that I used to buy in the past when I was dabbling in the mixed media myself.
Each book is a pleasure to read and admire all the fascinating details of the illustrations.
"The Princess and the Pea" is adapted from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen and retold by Xanthe Gresham. Her style of writing is beautiful and very poetic.
Just listen, how the story begins:
"There was once a prince whose heart was skinless. It quivered like a leaf in the breeze and shone like sunshine on a drop of water. And sometimes such a faraway light would well in his eyes that the servants laughed behind their dusters"
This sensitive prince goes travelling around the world in search of a perfect partner. Of course, when you are looking for perfection, you are doomed to be disappointed. Or maybe not? One stormy night, a young girl seeks shelter at the palace. "Her eyes were the very colour of the rain, her hair tangled with the petals of storm flowers and water flowed in and out of her shoes". The queen makes up a bed for her, with twenty feather mattresses and twenty embroidered eiderdowns, and places a hard little pea under all the mattresses.
Even if you are familiar with Andersen's story, you will enjoy the masterful retelling of the tale.
And only imagine how wonderful it is to discover this story for the very first time?
While revisiting the old favourites, I thought to myself: I wish I have seen these mesmerising illustrations when I was a child. I would have loved them so much. I remember spending hours with books, reading and drawing, trying to copy the illustrations
The second book in the set - The Snow Queen - is another superb edition which retells a classic fairy tale by Andersen.
This story centres on the struggle between good and evil. An evil troll creates a mirror which reflects the bad and ugly sides of the human beings. The mirror gets broken, and the splinters of glass scattered themselves all over the world and continued their evil work. When boy Kay encounters the Snow Queen, she blows him a kiss and with it two splinters of the magic mirror. One enters his eye and the other, his heart. His best friend Gerda goes on a perilous quest to free Kay from the wicked palace and the world of the Snow Queen.
These illustrations are so atmospheric, I can almost feel the blasts of the cold wind.
The last book in the set -The Twelve Dancing Princesses - is a charming story of love and romance.
As every fairy tale, it starts with Once upon a time... Each of the twelve princesses was given the name of a flower. There is a mystery of the slippers reduced to rags and tatters every night. Where do the princesses go at night and how do they leave the palace unnoticed? Will the riddle be ever solved?
Miss Clara works her magic again with the miniature maquettes of princesses, the scenes and the outfits are ethereal and hauntingly beautiful.
Any of these books would make a splendid gift for Christmas or birthday.
Barefoot Books are offering my blog readers a special 25% off Christmas discount code. Just use the code MAXIMKA when you place your order at Barefoot Books.
The code will be valid for one week only, from Tuesday December 3 to December 9.
And that's not all!
Barefoot Books have kindly offered a great prize for my blog readers. One of my lucky blog readers will be able to choose any book from Barefoot Books collection.
If you would like to win this prize, please fill in the Rafflecopter form.
Only the first step is mandatory: all you need is to answer the question by leaving a comment (there is no right or wrong answer)
(if you login as Anonymous, please leave your Twitter name or FB name, so that I could identify you, I do not suggest leaving the email address in the comment)
All the other steps are optional, you don't have to do them all. All it takes to win is just one entry.
Only one entry per person is allowed (however, you can tweet daily to increase your chances).
The giveaway is open to the UK residents only.
Once the Rafflecopter picks the winner, I will contact them, if they do not reply within a week, the prize will be allocated to another person.
If you haven't used the Rafflecopter before, you might want to watch this simple video.
The giveaway will close on 15th of December 2013 (midnight from the 14th to 15th)
And the question is:
Please visit Barefoot Books and tell me in a comment below which book you would choose if you win.
(You don't have to make the final choice now, just pick any book you might enjoy, and the winner will have a chance to browse the shop again and choose what they want)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you enjoyed reading this review, you might like to have a look at my older reviews of
The Adventures of Achilles
The Barefoot Book of Mother & Daughter Tales
The Shape Song Swingalong
Disclosure: I received The World of Miss Clara gift set for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are mine.