Tales of the whimsical, the empowering, ‘the Peculiar’

Ransom Riggs, author of the New York Times best-selling “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” trilogy, gives us an inside look into peculiar history in “Tales of the Peculiar,” a collection of short stories gathered and annotated by peculiar scholar and former ward of Miss Peregrine, Millard Nullings (our “author” and a character we are introduced to in the first book of the trilogy).

With its publication timed carefully in order to coincide with the release of Tim Burton’s film adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Tales of the Peculiar” does its job of capturing the readers as they read through the history and stories of peculiars from around the world.

As described by Millard Nullings, “each story is part history, part fairy tale and part moral lesson aimed at young peculiars.”

Those moral lessons can be found in every tale, some being very peculiar-specific, but most being something everyone can take from. The empowering messages Riggs gives the reader through his whimsical and downright peculiar stories include: be proud of what makes you different; accept others for whom they are; and, ultimately, you can choose who you want to be.

Many of the short stories quickly became favorites of mine, but as someone who had read “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” perhaps my most favorite short story was “The First Ymbryne.” It offers background on the first ymbryne and the origin of time loops, something I wondered about throughout the first book of Riggs’ trilogy.

From start to finish, “Tales of the Peculiar” kept me reading. Even before the forward, written by Millard Nullings, a note from the publisher is written in warning that the book is “meant for peculiar eyes only,” and if you are not among the anomalous, the stories are “none of your business.”

As if a letter from the publisher isn’t enough to show the great attention Riggs gave to the creation of “Tales of the Peculiar” – stories aside – the book itself is a thing of beauty with a dark green hardback cover embossed with gold designs, a built-in ribbon bookmark and full-page illustrations by Andrew Davidson.

Typically I wouldn’t mention the design of a book, but this one was crafted so specifically as to feel like something you’d take right off a peculiar’s shelf, it is worth mentioning.

Important to note is the fact that one does not need to have read the “Miss Peregrine’s” trilogy in order to enjoy “Tales of the Peculiar,” nor is it a requirement to read before or after the trilogy.

Whether you have or have not read the trilogy, “Tales of the Peculiar” comes at my highest recommendation because you will still find plenty of new and exciting peculiar information and characters within it.

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