The Whimsical Tarot is a lot of fun -- although I originally bought it for my children to use, I found myself drawn to some of the really clever imagery. Hanson-Roberts uses traditional fairy tale characters to portray the divinatory meanings of each card. The Major Arcana, in particular, are well chosen, as are the court cards. This is a great deck to use if you're teaching kids the Tarot, or if you just want to expand your own horizons a bit. The artwork is lovely, and the card associations are clearly thought out. Definitely worth buying, if you enjoy Tarot and classic children's stories!
—Patti Wigington, About.com
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.
I adore the backs of the cards. A lilac flower is in a rectangular focus in the center of the card. Surrounded by a mauve border, then a thicker border of yellow Celtic knot work on a turquoise background, it is restful, appropriate for upright or reversed readings, and very pretty.
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 dark, 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.
—Solandia, Aeclectic Tarot
She sat down and flipped through the deck, her eyes lighting up as the realized that she recognized 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 that 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. All of the cards are fully illustrated with the gorgeous artwork of Mary Hanson-Roberts. The Court Cards are particularly appealing, 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! Children, beginners, adults who enjoy 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, Aeclectic Tarot
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.
—Fairyhedgehog, Aeclectic Tarot
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.
The artwork in this deck cannot be complimented enough. The images perfectly match the descriptions. Ms. 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.
—Kate Robinson, Aeclectic Tarot
The Whimsical Tarot approaches the reading of cards from a completely different aspect -- by associating with childhood images and fairy tales. This deck allows us to connect with our "inner child". Although the name may suggest this is a less than serious deck, this deck is a very valuable tool in discovering our inner selves and helping us reconnect with those simple things that give us joy.
The images on the cards do not obviously correspond with the imagery from our experiences with the Rider-Waite style of decks. Gone are the confusing "Quabalah mystery" symbolism that we pondered and studied in order to interpret the meanings of those older decks. This is the use of simple and obvious imagery that gives us instant insight into the meaning of the cards.
The images are drawn from well-known fairy tales and are familiar to just about anyone. The artwork of Mary Hanson-Robert is clean. She gives us very colorful images that attract attention but are not obtrusive. The artwork is not distracting, but is lovely to sit and reflect upon.
As we explore the deck, we find some familiar tarot references. We do have a Major Arcana comprised of 22 cards, all clearly marked with the number of the card in its order, and the name of the card. There is no mistaking the card's association. The Fool - 0 - is the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. If you look at the tarot as a personal journey of the one who begins as a fool, this association is very obvious. We have the symbolism of the yellow brick road, we have Toto and so much more. The Magician is Puss in Boots, the High Priestess is the Fairy Godmother. There are some very interesting associations, as with The Emperor being Father Christmas, the Old Woman in the Shoe for the Empress, Judgment using The Cricket from Pinnochio, Glinda for The World, "Goldilocks being discovered" as Justice. The images are so obvious in some instances, yet they challenge you to use your own judgment and personal insights.
I also find myself drawing on my own knowledge of the tarot and associations when I am using this deck. While someone who is not familiar with the traditional meanings of the tarot will find this a very easy and fun deck to use, those of us who are trained in the traditional meanings will not find this "foreign" as there are familiar associations here. When we look at the "Two of Cups", the traditional meaning being a lesser "Lovers" card, it's association is still retained with the story of the "Owl and the Kitty Cat", so we are not totally out of familiar grounds. Pentacles still retains its meaning of material matters while cups still reflects inner emotions. The "Ten of Swords", a card of chaos and mistakes, shows the story of Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall. The traditional meanings are not told in the mysterious symbolism but in very obvious and well thought through imagery.
The small details on the cards not only attract attention but allow special reflection and a good look at one's inner self. And these special touches make this a remarkable deck. I love this deck for personal contemplation. I have also used this deck for clients who wanted to examine their own personal feelings and issues and it has provided much insight. It works as well with clients as it does with personal readings.
I would also like to suggest that if you have a youngster who is interested in tarot cards and readings, that this would make a perfect first deck. As our children watch us using the cards, they will also want to explore the path with you, as all children look to their parents for guidance. This deck is so perfect for the younger apprentice that I couldn't think of any deck more perfect for the "almost teenager" or the "First Deck" gifting. If you are looking for something that is perfect for a holiday gift, or someone just starting, or the "first deck" give this deck a viewing and see if you don't agree this could be the deck for you.
—Margaret Foster, Amazon customer