Tales of the Peculiar

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Tales of the Peculiar Book Poster Image
Gore, sweetness in kids' tales from Miss Peregrine's world.

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Kids say

age 10+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Occasional references to normal-world historical events, such as the black plague and the building of St. Paul's Cathedral, and subtle connections of historic figures with the Peculiar world.

Positive Messages

There's more than a bit of irony and complexity to some lessons here, especially as they're intended to help peculiar children come to terms with who they are. Some tales are cautionary (unwise choices lead to bad results), while others praise such qualities as leadership and use of your talents to benefit others (the book, supposedly edited by series character Millard Nullings, is dedicated to Miss Peregrine and features other notable creators of time loops). Kindness, friendship, forgiveness, and courage in helping your loved ones are also important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters are more positive than others, especially when they're all peculiar. But as they face adventure, hardship, curses, and more, they come to terms with their unusual powers and find ways to connect and help their loved ones. Some standouts: compassionate Ollie, who turns into whatever he empathizes with, and crotchety Farmer Hayworth, who avoids a lot of trouble by being content with what he has.

Violence

Some stories are much more violent than others. One story involves peculiars who can regrow body parts if they're cut off and the perhaps-too-good-to-be-true deal they make with a group of cannibals. In "The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares," a young peculiar girl finds herself in mortal hand-to-hand combat with a serial killer. In "The Locust," a young peculiar man's refusal to harm animals, and his father's brutal violence to the insect the boy's befriended, have fateful consequences. A giant turns to stone, while other characters have other unexpected transformations. Some battles and combat in which characters are killed.

Sex

Two characters fall in love, get married, and have children. Two lifelong friends of opposite sex "shared a house (but never a room), for they loved each other in a steady, companionable way."

Language

References to "excrement," "poop." A character calls others "idiots."

Consumerism

There's an obvious tie-in with the Miss Peregrine series, as the book's dedicated to Miss Peregrine and one of the series characters is the "editor." But it's tastefully done.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional brief mentions of characters being intoxicated, as in "drunk as skunks."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tales of the Peculiar, by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children), is a collection of stories allegedly meant for peculiar children trying to make sense of the world and their place in it. It follows the time-honored tradition of sharing/inventing children's tales much loved by characters in a book series (see Tales of Beedle the Bard). Supposedly edited by series character Millard Nullings, and dedicated to Miss Peregrine herself, the stories range from dire warnings to happily-ever-after. As we've come to expect from the Miss Peregrine series, there's creepiness aplenty in these fables (such as the folks who make a nice living for themselves selling their limbs to cannibals and then growing them back) but a lot of heart and sweetness at the core.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old February 7, 2018

A Really Fun Book

Tales of the Peculiar is amazing! It's just as fun as Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. It contains lots of stories in one. If you are a hu... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAlex.Fierro June 14, 2018

Something new.

This book is based on Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and so it's bound to be odd. The author claims to be one the book characters, which... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the life of an epically successful series, there often comes a collection of childhood stories that helped make the characters what they are. Now it's Miss Peregrine's turn with TALES OF THE PECULIAR, a collection of stories ("edited" by a series character) essential to the upbringing of children with deep secrets and unusual powers. One tale, concerning an ill-fated relationship between peculiars and cannibals, teaches the wisdom of being content with what you have. Another tells of a man who seems to be turning into an island. There's also an origin tale of the first "ymbrene" -- bird-women like Miss Peregrine who create loops in time to protect peculiars -- and lots more pearls of wisdom in strange, sometimes sad, and often sweet stories.

Is it any good?

Fans of the Miss Peregrine series will love this collection of "childhood tales" involving time travel and unusual powers, but if you've somehow missed the craze, this isn't a bad place to start. Author Ransom Riggs offers the collection of tales no peculiar child should be without -- while warning all others to stay away, making it all the more irresistible.

In contrast to the original series, which used lots of strange vintage photographs to help tell the story, Tales of the Peculiar begins each installment with an evocative black-and-white image by Andrew Davidson.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the trend of books claiming to be the stories read by fictional characters. Do you think reading Tales of the Peculiar helps you understand the characters better, or is it just more fun in a well-drawn fictional world?

  • Some Tales of the Peculiar involve alternative endings, especially when the narrator doesn't like the original one. What stories can you think of that would be a whole lot better with a different ending? 

  • Why do you think time travel is such a popular theme in storytelling?

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