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Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Time Lord Fairy Tales (Hardback)


Author: Justin Richards
Illustrations: David Wardle
Publisher: Puffin Books
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 92002 5
Publication Date: 01 October 2015

Be enchanted by fifteen captivating brand-new stories based within the Doctor Who universe, which draw on mysterious myths and legends about heroes and monsters of all kinds, from every corner of time and space. From “Frozen Beauty” to “Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday”, these are tales that might have been told to young Time Lords at bedtime, and are filled with nightmarish terrors and heroic triumphs that will be sure to capture the imagination. Featuring specially commissioned illustrations, in a beautiful paper cut-out style, these dark, beautiful and twisted stories are an enchanting gift for Doctor Who fans of all ages...

Once upon a time, there was a television show, and that television show lasted for a very long time. For some of that time it was very popular… and at other times less so. One day, an evil television executive put a curse on the show, and it fell into a deep, deep sleep. It slept for many years, until it was eventually awoken by a kiss from a brave producer. The revived show seemed stronger than it had ever been before, and over the years a great many books were written about it.

The trouble was, so many books had been written about it that it became difficult to come up with an original new angle on the subject. Then one day, a clever writer called Justin Richards had an idea: he would combine the worlds of the television show with those of classic fairy tales. He knew that the two would fit together perfectly. After all, had not another writer, named Steven Moffat, once said: “For me, Doctor Who literally is a fairy tale. It’s not really science fiction. It’s not set in space, it’s set under your bed.”

In this book you will find a cryogenically sleeping beauty, the Eleventh Doctor standing in for Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, a trio of Sontarans with increasingly robust stockades, the Second Doctor acting like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and a Zygon disguised as a girl’s grandmother. Other featured monsters include the Weeping Angels, the Wirrn, the Krillitanes and the Cybermen. Sometimes the Doctor Who element of the story takes a little while to become apparent, which is all part of the fun. On other occasions it is delightfully obvious from the start, as in “The Three Little Sontarans” and “Andiba and the Four Slitheen”.

The opening page of each tale includes a small woodcut-style illustration by David Wardle, which gives away little that the story’s title has not already disclosed. A full-page picture later on in each story complements this and adds further details, such as the identity of the baddie (which has by this point been revealed within the text – so no peeking!) or the presence of an incarnation of the Doctor (who does not appear in every story).

On the downside, despite being a hardback, the book’s cover is rather prone to scuffing and other damage. My own copy already has a couple of bumps on the corners, and the black finish is worn away to white on the sharp points of the boards. Goodness only knows how it would fare in the hands of a clumsy seven-year-old!

That imperfection aside, this volume is sure to make children of all ages happy ever after.


Richard McGinlay

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