The Blue Fairy Book

Andrew Lang

Illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk

Introduced by Joan Aiken

A wonderful collection of fairy stories selected by Andrew Lang at the end of the 19th century and fully illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk for this Folio edition.


The Blue Fairy Book – so popular in its day that it went on to launch an entire series (the Rainbow Fairy Books) – has all the ingredients one would expect to find in a collection of fairy tales: the bewitched and the beautiful, the fearful and the brave. The good are as true-hearted as they are fair, and as heroic as they are handsome, but not everyone lives happily ever after, and even the prettiest of princesses cannot be happy if she forgets to keep her word.

Production Details

Bound in blocked cloth

Set in Founder’s Caslon

400 pages

Frontispiece and 14 colour illustrations, two-colour decorative title page, 2  full-page black & white integrated illustrations and numerous black & white tail pieces

Printed endpapers

Coloured tops

Plain slipcase

10˝ x 7½˝

The greatest collections in the English language

Between 1889 and 1910, Andrew Lang oversaw the translation and editing of hundreds of fairy tales from around the world. Today his Rainbow Fairy Books are widely regarded as the greatest collections to be published in the English language. And The Blue Fairy Book started it all.

The stories in the Rainbow Fairy Books were collected by Andrew Lang at the end of the 19th century, a gathering of many of the best-loved tales from his childhood – ‘old stories’, Lang calls them in his preface, ‘that have pleased so many generations’. They include the best of the English tradition, favourites from the Brothers Grimm, Perrault, The Arabian Nights and Gulliver’s Travels, as well as lesser-known tales and new re-tellings such as Lang’s own ‘The Terrible Head’, which is based on the Greek myth of Perseus and the Gorgon. Reared on Scottish border ballads told by his old nurse, Lang was reading by the age of four and devoured ‘every fairy-tale I could lay my hands on’. He was enthralled by trolls and witches, by stories of changelings and devilish hunts. Later the tales of Shakespeare, Homer and Dickens were to fire his imagination, along with his friendships with Kipling, J. M. Barrie, E. Nesbit and Conan Doyle. And thus, ‘almost by accident’, Lang produced The Blue Fairy Book, with the help of his wife, Leonora.

A handsome edition

The original Rainbow Fairy Books were illustrated by Henry J. Ford, mostly in black and white, but for the Folio edition we turned to prolific artist and illustrator Charles van Sandwyk. His How To See Fairies was published by Folio in 2018 and the first printing sold out in a matter of weeks. His charming, full-colour illustrations adorn the pages of Lang’s tales, alongside exquisite black-and-white chapter headers and tailpieces that complement the delicate gold-blocked binding artwork, also hand-drawn by Van Sandwyk. This edition is completed with an introduction to Lang’s life and works by Joan Aiken, beloved author of many historical and fantastical books for children and adults.

Classic Stories in this Collection

The Bronze Ring
Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess
East of the Sun and West of the Moon
The Yellow Dwarf
Little Red Riding-Hood
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood
Cinderella; or, the Little Glass Slipper
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
The Tale of a Youth who Set out to Learn what Fear Was
Beauty and the Beast
The Master-Maid
Why the Sea is Salt
The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots
Felicia and the Pot of Pinks
The White Cat
The Water-Lily. The Gold-Spinners
The Terrible Head

The Story of Pretty Goldilocks
The History of Whittington
The Wonderful Sheep
Little Thumb
The Forty Thieves
Hansel and Grettel
Snow-White and Rose-Red
The Goose-Girl
Toads and Diamonds
Prince Darling
Blue Beard
Trusty John
The Brave Little Tailor
A Voyage to Lilliput
The Princess on the Glass Hill
The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou
The History of Jack the Giant-Killer
The Black Bull of Norroway
The Red Etin

About Charles van Sandwyk

Charles van Sandwyk was born in South Africa and raised in Canada; he taught himself calligraphy and intaglio printing as a teenager. His first self-published book appeared when he was just 20, and won a national award. Since then his work has been archived by the National Library of Canada and treasured by private collectors across the world. Van Sandwyk has produced illustrations for the Folio editions of The Blue Fairy BookThe Wind in the Willows and How to See Fairies (which he both wrote and illustrated). A limited edition of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk, was published by The Folio Society to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first edition. It sold out rapidly.

About Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken, daughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken, was born in 1924 in Sussex, England. Educated privately, Aiken worked as a librarian for the UN Information Centre from 1943 to 1949, and then as a features editor for Argosy magazine from 1955 to 1960. In 1953 she published her first collection of short stories for children, All You’ve Ever Wanted, and went on to write more than 60 books for children and adults. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, published by The Folio Society in 2015 and the first book in her James III series, established her reputation as a writer of fast-paced and humorous adventure stories. In 1968 she was awarded the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and named commended runner-up for the Carnegie Medal for The Whispering Mountain, a prequel to the James III series. In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to children’s literature. Aiken died in 2004.


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