Cover image for The little people : stories of fairies, pixies and other small folk
The little people : stories of fairies, pixies and other small folk
Philip, Neil.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York ; London : Harry N. Abrams, [2002]

Physical Description:
115 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 27 cm
Describes the origins, physical characteristics, dwelling places, activities, and special powers of different types of fairy folk from around the world. Illustrative traditional stories from various cultures are interspersed throughout the text.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR549 .P45 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Lavishly illustrated, this riveting survey of the little people of myth and legend is packed with intriguing tales about all kinds of fairy creatures, from fairy queens and brownies to lutins and mermaids to dwarves and trolls. Neil Philip has delved into the lore of northern Europe in search of stories of human encounters with fairies, from Cherry of Zennor, who unwittingly worked in a fairy household, to Thomas the Rhymer, who spent seven years in fairyland and was given the gift of prophecy. The author also includes a brief history of European fairy folklore. Accompanying these tales are sumptuous images of the fairy world by artists such as William Blake, Richard Dadd, John Anster Fitzgerald, Richard Doyle, and 19th-century children's book illustrators, supplemented with newly commissioned drawings by Jacqueline Mair. The Little People is a feast for the eye as well as the imagination.

Author Notes

Neil Philip is a writer, folklorist and poet. He is married to the artist Emma Bradford, and lives in the Cotswolds, England. Neil loves words, poetry, and the art of storytelling in all its forms. Among his many books are A Fine Anger, Victorian Village Life, The Cinderella Story, The Penguin Book of English Folktales, Mythology (with Philip Wilkinson), The Great Mystery, War and the Pity of War, The New Oxford Book of Childrens Verse, The Tale of Sir Gawain, Horse Hooves & Chicken Feet, and The Adventures of Odysseus. Neil has contributed to numerous journals, including The Times, and Signal: Approaches to Childrens Books, and has also written for stage, screen, and radio. His work has won numerous awards and honours, including the Aesop Award of the American Folklore Society and the Literary Criticism Book Award of the Childrens Literature Association.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-8. In this beautifully illustrated survey of fairy lore, folklorist Philip writes with the enthusiasm of a true believer: "What looks like a grass-covered hill to us, may be a palace of fairies." More comprehensive and for a slightly older audience than Tanya Robyn Batt's A Child's Book of Faeries [BKL D 15 02], Philip's title introduces a multicultural cast of fairies, including Scandinavian, Germanic, Irish, and British "small folk." The text refers to other writers' fairy yarns, including a story about W. B. Yeats, but it's strangely unclear whether the frequent lively tales that break up the commentary are written by Philip or are excerpted from other works. The only source notes refer to the beautifully reproduced, full-color artwork. Images by William Blake and Arthur Rackham are among the stunning illustrations included, and a note about fairy paintings offers more background on the visual history of the subject. Sophisticated but somewhat disorganized, this is an intriguing collection that's probably best suited for read-alouds and browsing. --Gillian Engberg

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up-This survey is both exhaustive and engaging. Philip defines fairies as "all kinds of magical beings who can take a human form" and confines his survey to the fairy folk of northern Europe. Each of the eight chapters begins with an explanatory note for the topic under discussion, be it "Fairy Neighbors," "Fairy Treasure," "Mischievous Fairies," etc., followed by brief but succinct retellings of tales that illustrate a particular trait or behavior. The book is handsomely decorated with full-color plates from 30 different artists, including Arthur Rackham, William Blake, Richard Doyle, Edmund Dulac, and George Cruikshank. Pencil drawings by Jacqueline Mair provide additional interest. Notes on fairy lore, fairy paintings, and a glossary of fairies are also included. In all, a well-written, attractive choice for anyone wishing to become better acquainted with this magical realm.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.