Rediscovering Old Gems

Another brilliant perk of being a parent (as if you needed more), apart from being legitimately allowed to play with toys again, is rediscovering all my old favourite books and sharing them with someone else who’ll appreciate them just as much.

Dean's Enchanting Tales from The Magic Forest

Dean’s Enchanting Stories from The Magic Forest  was one of those books I kept reading over and over again. I remember how I loved looking at famed illustrators Gillian and Ronald Embleton’s beautiful illustrations waaaaaaay back when.


Published by Dean & Son, which was famous for its “moveable books”, the book follows Hans and Gretchen on their morning walk through the enchanted forest next to their farmhouse. They encounter myriad magical creatures from flower folk to dwarfs and a talking lion. It’s divided into neat chapters should the book prove too much after a long day. Iris is really into bookmarks at the mo.




Unlike the Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson or Scheherazade tales, which all tend toward the macabre, Dean’s Enchanting Stories from The Magic Forest is pleasantly light and happy with only one mildly scary bit when a very naughty gnome leads the children astray in a gloomy, foggy bit of the forest. Although this also helps to teach Iris about not following strange men, so still a win!


This is one of a series of such books, all of which were illustrated by the Embletons and are all out of print. However a quick eBay search yielded copies of three of the four books. Now I need to find a vinyl record player for my seriously retro audio books!


3 thoughts on “Rediscovering Old Gems

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  1. Lovely story.

    Yes, I was heavily into fairytales. I had one book which I loved. One of my friends borrowed it when I was 12ish. She never returned it and I thought it was lost forever (in fact it faded from my memories). Then one day a few years ago we got back in touch and she returned my book. Now I sometimes read the stories to the boys.

    You can’t have stories like that with e-books. You can’t love an e-book or living book like you can one you can hold in your hands. Sometimes they make up a part of who you are and your history. Something you can share with your child. 🙂

  2. I so loved reading this blog because tonight, at 40 years old, I finished reading the last of the four books to my 2 and a half year old son who refers to them as Hans and Gretch (he’s already at the name shortening stage). I’ve loved every minute of rediscovering these books that I’ve lovingly preserved all these years. I stumbled across this blog looking to see if there were any more than the four I have. I love seeing how seriously we made sure we wrote our names in the designated spaces at the front. It’s great to find someone who loved these books as much as I did.

    1. Thanks Gillian! Wow, I didn’t even know anybody else knew about these books! I’ve been trying to find them online as mine are quite marked up but haven’t been able to. Yes, it’s so lovely to be able to legitimately reread all our childhood favourites again. Thanks for stopping by!

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