The Book of Ballads

Books: Graphic Novel | Folk Tales | Fairy Tales

The Book of Ballads (2004)

Charles Vess, Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen

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

Rating: 6/10