Chronicle's Illustrated Folklore Tales

Collecting » Myths, Legends & Folklore » Chronicle's Folklore Tales

On this page: Overview and Review || Tales of Polynesia (2023) | Tales of the Sea (2022) | Russian Tales (2021) | Monstrous Tales (2020) | Tales of East Africa (2020) | Nordic Tales (2019) | Tales of Japan (2019) | Tales of India (2018) | Ghostly Tales (2017) | Celtic Tales (2016)

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About Chronicle's illustrated folklore tales series

These diverse folklore collections focus on a specific theme or culture, with each book collecting tales of magic and adventure from around the world. Every collection is paired with bold, lush illustrations from a contemporary artist (typically one illustration per story) and are presented in a luxe format complete with embossed, gilt and textured naked covers and a satin ribbon marker. The tales vary in length but are typically fairly quick and easy reads. The origin of the tale is usually included, along with clarification of foreign words where they are needed for context. The first book in the series was published in 2016, and new volumes continue to be released, on average one per year. You can purchase them from Chronicle Books directly (US shipping only), or I have also included links to other merchants below as well.

Review: These are lovely editions and would make fantastic keepsakes – they can be enjoyed by all ages. The main reason I am really drawn to these books are the illustrations – each volume has a different illustrator chosen for both their skill as well as a cultural link to the theme being explored, the artwork is beautiful, and presented in large, full-page format with decorative borders around the text also featured. Highly recommended!

Complete list of books in the series

Tales of Polynesia illustrated by Yiling Changues

Folktales from Hawai’i, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa

Published 05/23/2023, isbn 9781797217567

A collection of illustrated folktales showcasing the rich tradition of the Polynesian islands, featuring tricksters and creatures of earth and sea. List of tales TBC.

    The illustrator, Yiling Changues, is an illustrator who spends her time between Tahiti and Paris. You can see more of Yiling’s artwork on their Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Tales of the Sea illustrated by Maggie Chiang

    Traditional Stories of Magic and Adventure from Around the World

    Published 03/22/2022, isbn 9781797207063

    A collection of illustrated folktales from the seas around the world, featuring mermaids, dragons and giant squid from Norway to New Zealand and Ghana to Korea. The 16 tales included are:

    • The Betrothed of Destiny
    • The Three Copecks
    • The Disowned Princess
    • The Legend of Kae’s Theft of the Whales
    • The Fisherman and the Draug
    • Origin of the Narwhal
    • Kahalaopuna, Princess of Manoa
    • The Mermaid’s Vengeance
    • The Merman
    • The Old Man Who Became a Fish
    • Tom Moore and the Seal Woman
    • The Fisherman and his Wife
    • Thunder and Ananso
    • Benito, the Faithful Serant
    • The Black Pearl
    • The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad

    The illustrator, Maggie Chiang, is a Taiwanese American born and raised in LA, currently living in the Bay Area of San Francisco. You can see more of Maggie’s artwork on her website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Russian Tales illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova

    Traditional Stories of Quests and Enchantments

    Published 09/07/2021, isbn 9781797209692

    A collection of illustrated classics from Russian folklore that feature a mysterious girl born from the snow, a terrifying Baba Yaga, and a series of dauntless heroines and heroes willing to fight dragons and cross fiery rivers. The 15 traditional Russian folktales featured are:

    • Marya Morevna
    • Ivan the Peasant’s Son
    • The Smith and the Demon
    • Story of Vasilisa
    • Shmat-Raum
    • The Book of Magic
    • Ivan Tsarevich, the Fire-Bird and the Gray Wolf
    • The Baba Yaga
    • The Trarévich and Dyád’ka
    • The Seven Simeons, Full Brothers
    • The Ring with Twelve Screws
    • The Snow-Child
    • Sorrow
    • Wednesday
    • Frost
    • The Soldier and Death

    The illustrator, Dinara Mirtalipova, is a self taught illustrator born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, now living in Ohio. You can see more of Dinara’s artwork on her website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Monstrous Tales illustrated by Sija Hong

    Stories of Strange Creatures and Fearsome Beasts from Around the World

    Published 09/15/2020, isbn 9781452182599

    Translated and transcribed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these tales celebrate the diversity of—and surprising resonances among—folklore traditions around the world. Features 24 tales from around the world:

    • My Lord Bag of Rice
    • The Blood-Drawing Ghost
    • The Demon’s Daughter
    • The Sobbing Pine
    • The Draiglin’ Hogney
    • The Iron Wolf
    • The Young Man Who Would Have His Eyes Opened
    • The Man-Whale
    • Nya-Nya Bulembu; or, the Moss-Green Princess
    • The Mermaid’s Lake
    • Kiviung
    • The Goblin Pony
    • The Three Chests: The Story of the Wicked Old Man of the Sea
    • The Origin of the Narran Lake
    • The Princess and the Ghouls
    • The Buso-Monkey
    • The Bird of Sorrow
    • The Unktomi (Spider), Two Widows, and the Red Plums
    • The Ogre
    • The Disobedient Daughter Who Married a Skull
    • A Dragon’s Favour

    The illustrator, Sija Hong, is a Chinese artist based in New York City. You can see more of Sija’s artwork on her website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Tales of East Africa illustrated by Jamilla Okubo

    Folktales from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania

    Published 03/10/2020, isbn 9781452182582

    Translated and transcribed by folklorists and anthropologists in the early 20th century, these stories evoke the magical adventure, distinctive beauty and irresistible humour of East African folklore. Features 22 traditional tales from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania:

    • The Hare and the Lion
    • The Monkey, the Shark, and the Washerman’s Donkey
    • The Story of the Hare, Ki-Kamba-Wa-paruku or Buku
    • Wokubira Omulalu mu Kyama
    • The Cat and the Fowl
    • The Story of the Ngu or Tortoise and the Kipalala or Fish Eagle
    • Kiwobe and His Sheep
    • The Story of M’Wambia and the N’Jengé
    • The Magician and the Sultan’s Son
    • The Story of the Girl Who Cut the Hair of the N’Jengé
    • Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter
    • Sifirwakange and Kasokambirye
    • Haamdaanee
    • The Ape, the Snake, and the Lion
    • Ndyakubi and Ndalakubi
    • A Tale Which Inculcates Kindness to Animals
    • The Tale of the Maiden Who Was Sacrificed by Her Kin, and Whom Her Lover Brought Back from Below
    • The Story of Mpobe
    • The Giant of the Great Water
    • The Story of the Lost Sister
    • Legend Regarding Origin of Fire
    • The Girl and the Dove

    The artist, Jamilla Okubo, notes an American, Kenyan and Trinidadian identity, and is based in Washington, D.C. You can see more of Jamilla’s artwork on her Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Nordic Tales illustrated by Ulla Thynell

    Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark

    Published 08/13/2019, isbn 9781452174471

    Translated and transcribed by folklorists in the 19th century, these tales offer offer a fascinating view into Nordic culture and a comforting wintertime read.

    Features 16 traditional tales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark:

    • The Forest Bride
    • East of the Sun and West of the Moon
    • The Magician’s Pupil
    • Hildur, the Queen of the Elves
    • The Widow’s Son
    • Toller’s Neighbours
    • Mighty Mikko
    • Old Nick and the Girl
    • The Way of the World
    • Death and the Doctor
    • “All I Possess!”
    • The Old Woman and the Tramp
    • The Honest Penny
    • The Boy Who Did Not Know What Fear Was
    • The True Bride
    • The Giant Who Had No Heart
    • Jack of Sjoholm and the Gan-Finn

    The illustrator, Ulla Thynell, is based in Finland. You can see more of Ulla’s artwork on her website and Instagram. Ulla occasionally also sells artist books from her website.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells


    Tales of Japan illustrated by Kotaro Chiba

    Traditional Stories of Monsters and Magic

    Published 04/23/2019, isbn 9781452174464

    Drawn from the works of folklorists Lafcadio Hearn and Yei Theodora Ozaki, these traditional tales of monsters and magic are by turns terrifying, enchanting, and poetic. Features 15 traditional Japanese folktales:

    • The Dream of Akinosuké
    • The Jelly Fish and the Monkey
    • Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach
    • The Happy Hunter and the Skillful Fisher
    • The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child
    • The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi
    • Yuki-Onna
    • Diplomacy
    • Mujina
    • A Dead Secret
    • Rokuro-Kubi
    • The Tongue-Cut Sparrow
    • The Farmer and the Badger
    • The Story of the Old Man Who Made
    • Withered Trees to Flower
    • The Mirror of Matsuyama

    The artist, Kotaro Chiba, is based in Nigata, Japan. More of Kotara’s illustrations can be seen on his website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Tales of India illustrated by Svabhu Kohli and Viplov Singh

    Folktales from Bengal, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu

    Published 02/27/2018, isbn 9781452165912

    Transcribed by Indian and English folklorists in the nineteenth century, these epic quests and magical fairy tales boast an irreverent sense of humour and an array of bold, inspiring heroines.

    Features 16 traditional tales from Indian folklore:

    • The Bear’s Bad Bargain
    • The Brahman Girl That Married a Tiger
    • The Soothsayer’s Son
    • The Rat’s Wedding
    • Gholam Badshah and His Son Ghool
    • The Ghost-Brahman
    • Bopoluchi
    • The Son of Seven Mothers
    • The Indigent Brahman
    • The King and the Robbers
    • The Brahmarakshasa
    • Life’s Secret
    • Eesara and Caneesara
    • The Lord of Death
    • Prince Lionheart and His Three Friends
    • The Beggar and the Five Muffins

    The illustrators Viplov Singh and Svanbhu Kohli are based in Goa, India. You can see more of their art on their websites here and here, and Instagram here and here.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Ghostly Tales illustrated by Bill Bragg

    Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age

    Published 07/25/2017, isbn 9781452159270

    Penned by some of the greatest Victorian novelists and masters of the ghost story genre, this collection of tales transports the reader to a time when staircases creaked in old manor houses, and a candle could be blown out by a gust of wind, or by a passing ghost. Features 7 short tales:

    • Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad – M.R. James
    • The Old Nurse’s Story – Elizabeth Gaskell
    • The Signalman – Charles Dickens
    • The Body-Snatcher – Robert Louis Stevenson
    • The Captain of the Pole-Star – Arthur Conan Doyle
    • The Phantom Coach – Amelia B. Edwards
    • The Screaming Skull – F. Marion Crawford

    Illustrator Bill Bragg is also known for illustrating several Folio Society books. You can see more of his art on his website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

    Celtic Tales illustrated by Kate Forrester

    Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales ; Illustrations by Kate Forrester

    Published 08/30/2016, isbn 9781452151755

    A collection of Celtic fairy tales and stories of enchantment translated and transcribed by folklorists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Features 16 tales from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales:

    • The Clumsy Beauty and Her Aunts
    • Master and Man
    • The Kildare Pooka
    • Little White-Thorn and the Talking Bird
    • The Giant’s Stars
    • The Witch of Fife
    • Assipattle and the Mester Stoorworm
    • The Seal Catcher and the Selkies
    • The Soul Cages
    • The Basin of Gold and the Diamond Lance
    • The Brownie of Fern Glen
    • The Red-Etin
    • Teig O’Kane and the Corpse
    • The Witch of Lok Island
    • The Black Bull of Norroway
    • Meredydd and the Wyvern

    The elegant silhouette art is by British illustrator Kate Forrester, who is also known for her Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Children’s Classics series covers. You can see more of her artwork on her website and Instagram.

    → Look for a copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Blackwells

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