- Books, Literature, and Writing
Gem Classics Library Fairy Tales
Great Books Are Magical Childhood Companions
This page is about very special books that I owned as a child, lost in adolescence and rediscovered as an adult.
The Gem Classics fairy tale series by Jane Carruth is absolutely enchanting in every way.
When my husband and I decided it was time to start a family I tracked them down on Amazon in anticipation of sharing them with my future children because they were so very special to me when I was young. I had only previously owned two of the books, but in my research I discovered two more in the series and purchased them as well.
Upon reading the books for the first time as an adult I was surprised at how the stories and illustrations came flooding back to me. I was also surprised at how well written the stories were. They appeal to the adult I've become as much as the child I once was, and in my experience, it is a rare book that can maintain that sort of appeal.
Below I have detailed which stories are available in specific books as well as links to where you can get your own copies if you wish to. Though the books are no longer in publication you can obtain pre-loved copies for a fairly reasonable range of prices through Amazon.com, and I strongly recommend that you do because these books are true gems and the longer they remain out of publication, the more difficult they will be to obtain.
Charming Well Written Stories That Capture The Imagination
All of the stories in the series are retellings of folk and fairy tales. You will recognize many titles from the contents lists I've included below. They go back to the roots of Grimms where everything is not always sunshine and roses, which is one of the many reasons why they appealed to me so much as a child.
They're slightly morbid, slightly sinister, the way real fairy tales should be, reflecting the true and honest facets of human nature as well as the dangers of the world around us. Having said that, they're not over the top in any way and not every story has a dark element to it. Some stories clearly just celebrating the brighter facets in human nature and all have a moral to teach.
I've also recently discovered that they are an absolute pleasure to read out loud with a little cuddly person in your lap
Enchanting Illustrations Are A Very Important Component
There are 5 illustrators with very distinctive styles featured on alternating stories within the series, Mary Dinsdale, G. & S. Tourrett, Gerry Embleton, John Speirs and Donald Harley.
I've included the photograph above to give you a taster of the sort of quality pictures that you could expect to see. That particular illustration is repeated on the front and back end papers of each of the books. It's sort of a collage of various characters from selected stories from all four books arranged in a busy, visually engaging procession.
Inside the books there are colorful and captivating pictures on every page. Though the artist's styles differ, each illustration is a treasure in its own right, beautiful and marvelously detailed.
I'm not sure if the pictures appealed more to the budding artist in me or to my imagination but they are etched in my brain so deeply that conjuring them is nearly palatable, and I can still quite happily lose myself flipping through the books just taking in the illustrations.
Ruby Fairy Tales
The Bold Little Tailor
The Donkey Cabbages
The Elves And The Shoemaker
Jack And The Beanstalk
The Wee Man Of The Moors
The Witch And The Children
Get Your Hands On A Pre Loved Copy Of Ruby Fairy Tales On Amazon
The Ruby Fairy Tales book was my favorite and it's the one that I had for the longest until it met an unfortunate end in a flood.
If I have peaked your interest and you are considering obtaining one of these books I would suggest that you start with Ruby.
Sapphire Fairy Tales
Snow-White And Rose-Red
The Crystal Ball
The Flying Trunk
The Garden Of Paradise
The Little Mermaid
The Prince And The Emperor's Daughter
Three Little Men Of The Forest
Get Your Hands On A Pre Loved Copy Of Sapphire Fairy Tales Through Amazon
This is my second favorite book in the series and it's the other one that I had when I was little. I particularly love The Little Mermaid and Puss in Boots but all of the stories are fantastic.
Emerald Fairy Tales
The Brother And The Sister
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Jack The Giant Killer
The Little Drummer Boy
Hans And The Little Iron Man
The White Dove
Get Your Hands On A Pre Loved Copy Of Emerald Fairy Tales Through Amazon
I did not own this one when I was a child so my first time reading it was as an adult. The stories are just as rich and beautifully illustrated as the others .
Unfortunately, Amazon is being difficult about displaying the picture here but if you click the link you'll be directed to the corresponding entry on Amazon for the book, there are several copies available.
Diamond Fairy Tales
The Sleeping Beauty
Hansel And Gretel
The Proud Beetle
Little Tom Thumb
The Elf Hill
The Robber's Treasure
The Witch In The Woods
The Emperor's New Clothes
Get Your Hands On A Pre Loved Copy Of Diamond Fairy Tales Through Amazon
As with the Emerald collection I did not have this one when I was young but I can say that it follows suit with the others as far as overall quality is concerned.