While based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes, the Whimsical Tarot is not just for children. Created by Dorothy Morrison and illustrated by Mary Hanson-Roberts, this is a friendly, cute, but not sickly sweet tarot deck.
See card images of the Whimsical Tarot
Tarot Deck - 78 Cards - Published by US Games
Review by Solandia
Drawn by Mary-Hanson Roberts, who also created the art for the Hanson-Roberts Tarot and the Universal Waite Tarot, the Whimsical Tarot is based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes and intended for children and the 'young at heart'.
But it is by no means limited to children. The fairytales are familiar to almost everyone, the simplicity and already associated meaning with the cards helping to make tarot more accessible to a beginner.
Some of the cards make me chuckle, others I find impressive because of the approachable rendering of normally disliked cards. The Devil card, for example, shows a pair of hands controlling a marionette, a puppet on strings. The Death card is Sleeping Beauty.
Other cards, like the Page of Rods, are fairly generic. It shows a herald's trumpet bearing a ribboned invitation, which could belong to any number of tales. The other pages are similar and don't seem associated with any particular story.
I adore the backs of the cards. A lilac, many petalled flower is in a rectangular focus in the centre of the card. Surrounded by a mauve border, then a thicker border of yellow Celtic knot work on a turquoise background. Then, another pale orange border and finally, a thicker purple border. It is hard to describe precisely, but it is restful, appropriate for upright or reversed readings, and very pretty.
The little white booklet is quite thin, just 24 small pages. The deck isn't in dire need of a companion book to expand on the meanings of the cards, but more information on the fairytales and a synopsis of the story would be pleasant. (And there is a separate book on the Whimsical Tarot, though I have not read it yet.)
I highly recommend the Whimsical Tarot as a child's tarot deck; for people who read for children; or for sensitive souls who aren't keen on confronting images on their tarot cards. The Whimsical Tarot gets the message across without being rude, negative or scary.
I also think it is a good beginners deck, as the fairytales used on each card allow the tarot novice to hang the tarot concepts on a framework they are familiar with. Learning seventy-eight different tarot meanings and how to interpret the tarot symbols can very seem daunting, but the Whimsical Tarot's cards are cute and the scenes already familiar. Hanson-Roberts combined traditional fairytales and tarot make a beautifully presented, sweet, and thoroughly whimsical tarot deck.
Review by Kim Huggens
She sat down and flipped through the deck, her
eyes lighting up as the realised that she recognised
all the fairytales and stories within each card. She
squealed with excitement when the 4 of Swords reminded her
of the Princess and the Pea, and she jumped up and
down in her seat happily as the Magician bought back
the story of Puss in Boots. When she had finished
looking through the deck, she handed it back to me, with a
grin from ear to ear adorning her face: My Mother
appeared to like the deck.
As can be seen from my Mother's
reaction, the Whimsical Tarot is aimed at
children and the young at heart. The cards are adorned
with fairytales, nursery rhymes, and stories which we
were told as children, and as such, there are many
adults who can use this deck very effectively. The
benefits of using fairytales and such to illustrate the
meanings of the cards is that nearly everybody is familiar
with most of them, and thus can understand the meaning
in the card without having to look in any book.
Fairytales bring back fond memories of childhood, and those
nights on the sofa with your Granny, when she would make
you hot chocolate and then read Hans Christian
Anderson or the Brothers Grimm to you until you were too
sleepy to stay awake any longer. The attraction of a deck surrounded by, and based
upon, these stories is understandable.
This deck is largely
traditional: the names of the cards, the suits of the Minors,
the ordering of the Majors, and the meanings of the
cards are all Rider-Waite traditional. The only thing
that differs is the pictures used to illustrate the
cards, as these are taken directly from the
fairy stories applied to each card.
The names of the stories are not shown on the cards, nor in the
little white book that accompanies the deck, but it is a
game in itself to see how many you can name! Nearly
all of the stories used are well-known, and there were
only 3 cards which I couldn't identify in the whole
deck. The book which is available with the deck does
tell you the stories associated with each card though,
and I would suggest that you obtain the book as well as
the deck if you are unsure about any of the cards.
All of the cards are fully illustrated with the
gorgeous artwork of Mary Hanson-Roberts. This artwork is
very attractive to children, but could be deemed too
'cutesy' by some adults. The Majors all have a
multi-coloured border, and with titles in no set place on
the card. The Minors also have borders, but they are
bigger than those of the Majors, and are coloured
depending on the suit. (For instance, the suit of Rods is
surrounded by an orange border with autumnal leaves within
it.) Also within the borders of the Minors are the
number of 'tools' that card represents. For instance,
the 10 of Rods has ten Rods within its border, instead
of having them within the illustration itself as many
traditional decks do. This is a wonderful idea, and leaves
the illustrations very open and true to the fairytale.
(We all know that the Ugly Duckling never had 5
Pentacles in it!)
The Court Cards are very appealing
as well, all being characters from stories, with the Queen
and King usually being from the same story, eg- King
and Queen of Pentacles being Maid Marion and Robin
Hood. The Pages in this deck are the most interesting I
have come across, and certainly the easiest to
understand! Instead of showing people, they show objects
which convey the meaning of the card. For instance, the
Page of Swords shows a telescope, and the Page of
Pentacles shows gold coins, scales, and a tally-chart. This
is a great help, especially for young children and
beginners, as it is often the Court Cards that are the most
difficult to read.
All the fairytales are well-chosen and
very evocative. Every other deck I have seen which
uses fairytales as its theme has failed in that
sometimes the chosen fairytales are chosen superficially,
for instance, in one deck I found that the Emperor
card was represent by the Emperor's New Clothes, which
really didn't have anything to do with the meaning at
all. With this deck, that's not the case: Every
single card's fairytale is chosen for its meaning and
significance. That is an achievement within itself I think, and
something that this deck deserves praise for.
I love this deck. It is the best one I have seen which
is aimed at children, but which also proves to be an
excellent deck for adults. The only possible flaw with it
is the card size: I expected the card to be made
significantly smaller to cater for the small hands which this
deck was aimed for, but the size has been kept the
same, making it difficult for most children to shuffle.
Despite this, I would recommend this deck to practically
anybody! Children, beginners, adults who anjoy fairy
stories, collectors, and those who like Mary
Hanson-Roberts' artwork would all enjoy this deck immensely and
learn alot from it.
For myself, after using this deck, I found that
I could read better in general: the meanings of the
cards took on a more imaginative form, and I could apply
meanings from the cards to the querent's life very easily. As an introduction to the Tarot, or as a deck for the
more advanced reader, this is an absolute treasure.
Kim Huggens is a 24 year old PhD student in the Ancient History and Archaeology department of Cardiff University. She has been studying and reading Tarot since the age of 9, and has a deck collection numbering over 250. She is the co-creator of the Sol Invictus: The God Tarot and is currently working on a second deck, Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot", and a book for Llewellyn Publications, due for release Autumn 2010.
Review by Fairyhedgehog
This is a very pretty Tarot deck in which each
card bear a picture based on a fairy tale or a nursery
rhyme. The deck is standard US Games size with very
shiny surfaces and I find it easy to shuffle. The back
design allows for reversals although the LWB does not
include reversed meanings. The LWB is unusually terse
with one or two meanings for each card.
arcana follow the standard Rider-Waite pattern (with the
minor exception of 'the Hanged One') but the images are
not standard. In the Devil card Pinochio is having
his strings pulled by a strong male hand, but the
strings don't quite reach his hands and feet and he has a
huge pair of scissors in his back pocket. The card
says to me, 'You don't have to dance to someone else's
tune, you have the means to escape and hey! you're half
way there already'. If that sounds rather chatty,
then that is how these cards speak to me, in simple
language and in jokes. The Temperance card, for example,
shows Jack and Jill falling down the hill, clearly
showing what happens when temperance is not in evidence
and usually raising a smile from me.
The Court Cards
are figures from Fairy Tales with the exception of the
Pages. These all show an object such as a Spyglass for
the Page of Swords. This is probably the aspect of
this deck which I have found least helpful.
many of the cards follow the traditional Rider-Waite
meanings, not all do. The two of swords shows Hansel and
Gretel just after they have pushed the wicked witch into
the oven. I usually see the two of swords as a
stalemate card but this looks more like getting out of a
difficult situation using your brains. Or needing two
people to succeed in a difficult situation. In a similar
way, the four of swords shows a four poster bed from
the Princess and the Pea story and focusses on
sleepless nights and worry (which seems more like the nine
This deck is suitable for use with
younger or more impressionable people, as there are no
scary cards. 'Death' shows Sleeping Beauty which
removes some of the sting of the more usual death cards.
The 'Tower' shows one of the three little pigs having
his house blown down and we know who won in the
The Whimsical Tarot has a great richness to it because
it is drawing on our knowledge of fairy tales as well
as our knowledge of the Tarot. It works well for
intuitive readings based on the images which can speak
directly to us at a deep level. Although it may look like a
children's deck it is suitable for anyone who is happy with
an attractive, amusing deck which has more depth to
it than appears at first glance.
Review by Kate Robinson
The only negative comment I have on this deck is the name! Whimsical does not begin to describe what I found in this deck, maybe altering the name to something like "The Profound Tarot" would do it justice. I have several decks that I use regularly, enjoying a healthy mix of images and interpretations depending on the question at hand. However, since receiving the Whimsical Tarot deck, I have virtually stopped using other decks.
The fairy-tale images appeal to me on many levels and this deck, reminds me of Clarissa Pinkola-Estes' book "Women Who Run with the Wolves" and its emphasis of the importance of archetypes and stories in the lives of women. The deck is also light-hearted enough that you may use it with children. I have found it amazingly versatile to every reading situation. People really enjoy and understand the images with ease.
Other reviewers on this site and other sites have commented on the fact that there are no "reversals" of the cards indicated. While at first this was disappointing to me, since purchasing the companion book, I have found that Ms. Morrison's descriptions of the images and then her "advice" (read: divination)contain within them the "positive" and "negative" aspects of each card. The descriptions and advice/divination speak in more gentle terms than many decks and books and this makes whatever the advice easier to swallow, like the spoonful of sugar in Mary Poppins, to reference another fairy tale.
I have recommended this deck to everyone I know interested in Tarot and while at first they read reviews and see the deck and question me, once they USE the deck for the first time, they are hooked! As the author states in her introduction, the images are intended to appeal to our inner child, our earliest memories and our connections to fairy tales and their distinct sense of right and wrong, good and evil. These descriptions, again, seem simplistic and very black and white, and life deals us, like the Tarot, a mixed bag with gray areas, this deck comes through with clear messages and direction. Like our proverbial Knight in Shining Armor, the message in a spread heralds in with ease and in a manner that allow for deeper reflection as you view the images on the cards.
Again, I mention that this deck is a good one adults and also useful with children. However, this deck, in my opinion, is perfect for the beginning reader who is a teen, as well. At this tender age, many young adults are also "old" children and this connection to the heros and villains of their just-passed childhood tales, might be the bridge they seek between youth and adulthood. The images make it easy for them to explore the Tarot with a greater understanding than other decks might allow this age-group. The images and explanations make for easy self-use without the more "adult" or severe interpretations that are given which are not properly taken into context by an age-group wherein many things are still black and white or an age-group that is beginning to see the gray areas of life, but is still coming to terms with such.
The artwork in this deck cannot be complimented enough. The images perfectly match the descriptions. Mr. Morrison, in her introduction, compliments Ms. Hanson-Roberts with seeing within her own mind and having an innate understanding of her ideas. This is true for this deck like no other I have encountered. There is a perfect congruity between image and word.
Whether you are new to the Tarot, "young" or "old", you should own this deck!
Writer in the healthcare and legal fields, the
Tarot is fulfilling to Kate's spiritual side.
Review by Sally Ann
This is a deck that is aimed at children and the young at heart. Using Fairytales is a plus, for just about everyone is familiar with most of them. The cards have nursery rhymes, fairytales and stories that we have heard as a child from our mothers, grandmothers etc. this deck is easy to understand and it will bring back those childhood memories.
There are 78 cards in the deck and the little white booklet with its 24 pages. Published by U.S. Games and printed in Belgium. The deck is the standard US Games size and has a very shiny surface, which is easy to shuffle. The back of the design allows for reversals although the LWB does not include this. In the center is a many petal violet colored flower and around this is a border of yellow and white which resembles Celtic scroll work. Around this is a thin violet frames, every colorful.
For every tarot deck it is said that there are 78 cards when in fact there are 80, tarot cards are printed on a sheet of 10 cards by 8 cards and then cut into individual cards. So actually there are 80. One of the two remaining cards is usually a title card and the other is often advertising, but in this deck the second card has these words: Help your child begin to explore a Higher Self, as you rediscover your Inner Child.
Whimsical Tarot and your own imagination are the only tools you'll need for a journey within. Through familiar childhood imagery, this deck will give you access to the wonders & gifts of your spiritual side. Free your mind, and let your spirit flow....
This deck comes with its own little white booklet and Dorothy Morrison authored the companion book that is separate. Although I had wished this would have come as a Deck Set. But this book helps parents and others that work with children . It is a wonderful tool, the book is call The Whimsical Tarot: A Deck for Children and the Young at Heart. It works well for a intuitive reading based on the images which can speak directly to one on a deep level. Although it looks like a childrens deck it is suitable for everyone.
The art work is outstanding, Mary Hanson-Roberts has illustrated it with attractive children, and lots of color. The Major Arcana has a multi colored border with titles in no set place on the card and follows the standard Rider-Waite patter, with a couple of minor exceptions, for the Hanged Man is the Hanged one and the images are not the standard picture. The Devil card is Pinocchio which is having his strings pulled by a strong male hand, but the string do not reach his hands nor his feet, also he has a huge pair of scissors in his back pocket. Temperance shows Jack and Jill falling down the hill.
The Minor Arcana has borders that are bigger than the Majors and are colored depending on the suit. Take the Rods it is surrounded by an orange border with autumn leaves within it. Also in the borders of the Minors are the number of tools that the card represents. Take the seven of Cups it has seven Cups within its border, leaving the illustration true to the fairytale. The Court Cards are figures from Fairy Tales with the exception of the Pages. These all show an object such as a Spyglass for the Page of Swords. This is probably the aspect of this deck which I have found least helpful.
All the fairytales are well thought out and every evocative. Every cards fairytale is chosen for its meaning and significance. I would recommend The Whimsical Tarot as a childs tarot deck, for people who read for children. Or the sensitive souls who do not like confronting images on their other tarot decks. This deck get the message across with out being rude, scary or negative.
I love Dorothy Morrisons work and the first time I met her I knew she was very caring. She has opened many doors for a lot of people who are searching for something in life. With the Whimsical Tarot she addresses the Little People in all of our lives. Children. And with this deck it is a tool you can use to communicated with them.
Sally Ann is a Professional Tarot Reader and Clairvoyant, who has been doing readings for the past 20 years.
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