The Book of Ballads (2004)
To create The Book of Ballads, Charles Vess worked with some of the biggest names in fantasy, to recreate a graphic rendition of some of the best known songs of folklore. Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Emma Bull, Jane Yolen… It’s like a who’s who of fantasy authors. So I really wanted to love this book.
But I didn't, and I freely admit that the fault is all mine.
I don't "get" written poetry. It does nothing for me. I enjoy watching Shakespeare plays, but reading Shakespeare all but gives me a headache. As much as I love music, reading poetry puts me to sleep. So I thought that Charles Vess's Book of Ballads would help--that it would be more like watching a play than reading poetry. And I have to say that it did help some, but still I felt lost, like I was missing something.
Which of course I was.
There were some that had been rewritten in a way that I was more likely to get: The Three Lovers by Lee Smith I quite liked, and also The Black Fox, by Emma Bull. The rest were interesting, but I felt like the point was just beyond me. Rhyme and meter that I love in music, I completely miss in the written word.
So the art work is, of course, exemplary, although I didn't care as much for the lettering--for some reason I found it hard to read.
So I'm really sorry that I didn't enjoy this more, but please don't let the fact that I'm a heathen stop you from enjoying this collection, and I wish that my brain worked in such a way that I would have enjoyed it more.
Despite the cover, these are definitely not acceptable for young children.
Published by Tor