Kevin Crossley-Holland reviews Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

The author and poet Kevin Crossley-Holland, whose book ‘The Seeing Stone’ (first of his ‘Arthur’ trilogy) won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2000, has praised ‘Seven Miles of Steel Thistles’:

“Katherine Langrish is a wonderful companion for an excursion into the otherworld of traditional tales. Highly readable, sharply perceptive about individual tales as well as engaging with wider motifs, this book (developed from a popular and long-running blog) is always down-to-earth, no matter how high flown the subject matter. We know we’re in safe hands when we’re invited to consider why folk-tale fools and saints can be rather frightening, or to take account of who is telling a story and why, to reflect on how some reports of ghostly happenings (as opposed to structured stories) are almost impossible to discount, and to recognise the role of princesses in fairy tales (‘They tell us to be active, to use our wits, to be undaunted, to see what we want and to go for it.’) The book is so generously furnished with apt quotations as to seem at times almost like an anthology, and it will appeal to absolutely everyone fascinated by the staying power of folk tales, fairy tales and ballads. A fine book with a long life ahead of it.”