Dewey Guide: 398.2 - FOLKLORE 

Allen, Debbie.  BROTHERS OF THE KNIGHT.  Illus. by Kadir Nelson. New York: Dial, 1999.  
      40p.  0-8037-248-8; hb., $15.99    98-53361     Gr. K-6      398.2  

    Pencil drawings were created and photocopied, then oil paints were applied to the photocopy for this retelling of the German folktale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."  Reverend Knight, an African-American preacher in Harlem, wants to know why his 12 sons's new tennis shoes are worn out each morning.  The front end papers show the battered sneakers to pique the interest of readers and pristine ones on the back end papers.  Have students speculate why they are not the same and how this might affect the plot.   The story is told from the point of view of the dog who has been blamed for ruining the shoes.  Housekeepers also come and go because they were given keys to lock the boys in for the night but the shoes were still ruined.  There is a variety adjectives used to describe the shoes:  worn to threads; messed up; torn up; stinky; dirty; tacky; and jacked up.  Students can add more to the list.  One Sunday a small woman in a bright colored dress was waiting on their doorstep who introduced herself as sweet Sunday because she liked to bake pies and cakes.  Sunday uses her magic scarf to make herself invisible and follows the boys to the party.  When they return she swirls her magic scarf and the shoes are replaced by new ones.  The Reverend likes her cooking and likes the pristine shoes.  However, the dog does something to cause Rev. Knight to fire Sunday.  Readers know it will end well for the humans because this is a fairy tale but the twist at the end is that the dog does not live happily ever after.  This one is suitable for reading aloud to primary students as well as can be used to stimulate  middle school students to write fractured fairy tales.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Diakite,Baba Wague.  THE HATSELLER AND THE MONKEYS.  New York:
    Scholastic, 1999.  32p   0-590-96069-5; $15.95.   98-16250     PreS-Gr.3     398.2

    The author/illustrator is a native of West Africa who listened to family stories.   In the Author's note, he tells how he came to learn this story.  A list of four variants is also included;  Slobodkina's CAPS FOR SALE (Harper Trophy)   is probably the most famous.  It would take an excellent picture book to command shelf space with that illustrious title.  In this variant, there is a peddler's song but it is not in English.  Although the language is not given, the hat seller is Fulani.  Diakite now lives in the U.S. and exhibits pottery.  The illustrations for his book are paint on tile.  Libraries who have the celebrated  HUNTERMAN AND THE CROCODILE will be interested in this one.  This is an excellent folktale.  The author/illustrator appears in native costume on the back cover.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Gibbons, Gail.  BEHOLD…THE UNICORNS!  New York:  HarperCollins, 2002. 32p.   
    0-688-17955-X; hb., 15.95.  0-688-17958-4; lib.bdg., $  15.89.    Gr. 2-6+     398.24

    Unicorns have held the interest of humans for centuries.  Beginning with the Latin word for unicorns and moving on through dinosaurs then on to a variety of cultures beginning with ancient times, Gibbons provides a wealth of information about these magical beasts.  The drawings add to text that is highlighted against a blue background on each page.  The only discordant element in the book comes with three pages of photos of the tapestries from the middle ages with the cartoon style of illustrations in the rest of the book and the orange color is not in hormony with the rest of the illustrations.  However, this book is recommended for collections serving patrons of all ages.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Goble, Paul.  IKTOMI LOSES HIS EYES. Illus. by the author.  New York:
    Orchard, 1999. 32p.  0-531-30200-8;  hb $16.95.  99-12036      Gr. 1-5       398.2

     The seventh book about the Native American trickster of the plains, Iktomi.  This time Iktomi is feeling sorry for himself and dresses in traditional clothes to feel worthwhile.  When he say a man make his eyes fly from his head through the air to a fence post and come back, he was in awe.  The man taught him the trick but admonished him not to do it more than four times a day.  "Do you think Ikto was listening?"  When he cheated on counting, he lost his eyes which were found by squirrel and hid in Woodpecker's old hole.  Mouse loaned him one eye and later received another from Buffalo but still could not find his way home.  In the morning he returned home to receive a scolding from his wife.  There are several questions that could be asked during the reading of story that can be answered by a one word shouted response from a listening audience.  The last question leaves readers with something to think about.  "Do you think Ikto will ever see again?  And can anyone guess what he will be up to after that?"  Although this is not as good as other books by the same character, Fans of Iktomi will also want to purchase this one.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Han, Suzanne Crowder.  THE RABBIT'S TAIL: A STORY FROM KOREA. Richard
    Wehrman.  New York: Holt, 1999.  ISBN 0-8050-4580-5; hb., $15.95.   Gr.K-3    398.2

    Acrylic gouache was used for the illustrations in this Korean pourquoi folktale which tells why  the rabbit has a stumpy tail.  When rabbit meets a tiger who has escaped from a creature, rabbit wants to see what kind of creature could scare a tiger.  Rabbit did not listen to Tiger's warning andgoes to the tree with disastrous results.  Purchase if more Asian folktales are needed.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Hausman, Gerald and Loretta.  DOGS OF MYTH: TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
    Illus.  by Barry Moser.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.  84p.  0-689-80696-5; hb., $19.95.
    Grade1+   98-15817    398.24

    The thirteen stories are divided into six categories like trickster, enchanted, and guardian dogs.   Some breeds represented are:  bloodhound; retriever; wolfhound; rottweiler; poodle;  Bichon Frise; and Spaniel.   This book serves a dual purpose, it is a world mythology book as well as a book of good dog stories.   Dog lovers will appreciate this book.   If you need more dog stories, then you need this book.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
Hodges, Margaret.  THE BOY WHO DREW CATS.  Illus by Aki Sogabe.  New York: 
    Holiday, 2002.  32p.  0-8234-1594-5; hb., $16.95  2001-016642      K-Gr. 3       398.2

    Lafcadio Hearn’s familiar  Japanese fairy tale, ”The Boy Who Drew Cats,” is retold by the master storyteller, Margaret Hodges.  Sogabe’s use of cut paper, watercolor, and airbrushing evokes ancient Japan.  Because the boy was clever, his father took him to the temple to be a priest.  The boy’s one fault was that he drew cats everywhere because he couldn’t help himself and finally he was asked to leave the temple.  He was given the following advice to “avoid large places at night; keep to small.”  This advice proved useful when he came to a strange temple inhabited by a goblin that had frightened everyone else away.  The boy drew cats everywhere in the temple and then went to sleep in a little cabinet to “avoid large places at night.”  During the night he heard a terrible noise and in the morning he saw blood everywhere and saw a “monstrous rat--a goblin bigger than a cow.”  Sogabe cleverly provides only a terrible looking tail and leaves the monstrous rat to the imagination of readers.  When the boy sees the red mouths on the cats, he realizes who killed the rat.  Eventually the boy who drew cats became the famous artist, Sesshu Toyo.  A. Levine’s THE BOY WHO DREW CATS : A JAPANESE FOLKTALE (Penguin, 1994) and D. Johnson’s THE BOY WHO DREW CATS (Little Simon, 1991) are both out of stock indefinitely so this book is even more welcome.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    Illus. by YongSheng Xuan.  New York: Holiday, 1999.  32p.  0-8234-1385-3; lib.bdg., $16.95.
    97-46854     Gr. K-4+   398.2   Paulin's Picks Citation

    This folktale about measuring time during the current change of centuries is timely.  According to the author's note at the end of the book, "The Chinese calendar has been in use for thousands of years," a reminder that the whole world does not use the same calendar nor the one which is receiving such attention.
     This story tells how the Jade Emperor created a calendar to measure time which would have twelve of the bravest, swiftest, and most beautiful animals to represent each segment.  Rooster was sure he would be chosen but Dragon was afraid that his bald head would be a handicap.  When he tells centipede that he desires antlers like Rooster, the bug offers to get them for him.  Rooster agrees to loan his antlers to Dragon but is unhappy because Dragon is chosen fifth and he is only chosen tenth.  When Dragon refuses to give the antlers back, Rooster blames Centipede and they argue and to this day Rooster's descendants dislike centipedes and Rooster sits on the fence and crows about Dragon stealing his antlers.  A list of the 12 Zodiac animals appears at the end of the book with a paragraph about the attributes of each.   The back cover lists years from 1960 to 2007 under each animal so young readers will know which animal represents their birth year.  This book is versatile, read it aloud in public library story hours  during the Chinese New Year which falls between January 21and February 19 on the Western Calendar or to middle school students before they write a shadow puppet show based on this book as part of their study of China.  School and public libraries should purchase this book to add to millennium titles.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    Illus. by Katya Krenina.  New York:  Atheneum, 1999.  32p.  0-689-81336-8; hb., $16.00.
    97-42238 Gr. 2-4      398.2 

     Watercolor and gouache illustrations add a Russian flavor to this tale retold from Afas'ev.
While his brothers are off at the fair, the simple brother, Emelya  stays home and obeys his sisters-in law.   When he catches a magic pike who grants wishes, the lazy boy arranges to have water and kindling deliver themselves.  When his antics knock over half his village, the peasants become angry and finally the Tsar hears about it and sends his troops who are sent back by the pike's power.  Eventually Emelya goes  to see the Tzar and fallsl in love with the Tsarevna Marya which angers the Tzar who puts him in a barrel and casts it out to sea.  Marya is with him and they are saved by the pike who gives them a palace where the ask  the Txar to dinner.  Purchase if more Russian folktales are needed.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

   Illus by author.  San Diego:  Harcourt, 2001.  32p.  0-15-200496-3 hb. $16.00   K.-Gr. 4   398.2

    The gouache, colored pencil, and colored ink provide vibrant illustrations that are the Caldecott winner's trademark.  The title page verso includes information and phonetic spelling for the Amazon rain forest tortoise that has ties to Brer Terrapin from the southern U.S. and has common West African roots.  The story is also similar to Aesop's "The Tortoise and the Eagle" and "The Turtle and the Geese" from the Panchatantra of India.  Pair this with the study of Brazil, the rain forest, or other trickster tales like McDermot’s Caldecott Honor book, RAVEN: A TRICKSTER FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST (Harper, 1993, which has recently been released in a paperback edition.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Mollel, Tololwa M.  SUBIRA SUBIRA.  Illus. by Linda Saport. New York: Clarion,
    1999. 32p.  0-395-91809-X; hb.,  $15.00    98-22564    Gr.1-4    398.22

    The setting is Tanzania and Mollel shares the inner growth of a child through her story.  Filled with heartfelt emotion Tatu's little brother, Maulidi, presents behavioral problems and Tatu wants her brother to find happiness.  No matter what her plan, nothing works.  The tale unwinds as an old spirit woman tells Tatu that in order for her brother to be helped, she, Tatu, must perform a most terrifying pluck three whiskers from a lion.  In the retelling of this traditional folktale; Mollel, with the support of Saport and her rich colorful pastel illustrations, combines the element of magic with a modern setting in Tanzania.  The end result reveals the true power of love, music and understanding.
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    24 years of experience as a school and public librarian

Moser, Barry.  THE THREE LITTLE PIGS.  Illus by author.  32p.
    0-315-58544-0; hb., $14.95  00-035228  PreS-Gr. 2      398.24

    The story is very similar to the usual version.  Two of the pigs ask a man for bundles of straw and sticks and the wolf says "Little Pig, little pig, let me in."  The pig replies, “No, no no, not by the hair of my chinny chin chin."  The wolf huffs and puffs and blows the houses down and eats the little pigs.  The last pig builds his house of bricks and of course the wolf has to trick the pig into coming out of the house to a field of turnips and when that doesn't work, a nice apple tree.  When the wolf suggests that they meet at the fair, the pig goes early and comes down the hill in a butter churn.  Finally, the wolf climbs down the chimney into the pot of boiling water and the last little pig has wolf stew for supper.
    So far, there is nothing to distinguish this tale from hundreds of other retellings.  It is the illustrations that make this story special.  The house of straw has a "See Rock City" sign on it.  After eating the second pig, the wolf lies down with rounded tummy and a pot of bones showing beside a jar of Bubba's No Cook BBQ Sauce and a container of PIG Pepper Sauce.  The cement used by the third pig is called Wolfe Pruf cement.  The brand of kettle used by the third pig to cook his turnips is called Lupus ware.  The churn is made by the Huffin and Puffin Churn Company.  The recipe box next to the fireplace has a card in a box for "My Mama's Wolf Stew with Garlic" and a nearby book is Harley Rhode Hogg's WOLF COOK.  The last page shows the third little pig with a malevolent look on his face eating wolf stew while wearing wolf slippers.  Because the pigs set off on their journey on Valentine’s Day, this book can be read aloud for that holiday and should be part of Valentine book displays.
    Although Moser sometimes appeals to adults more than to children, this book offers something for both groups.  This version is not for the squeamish but if you want a "no holds barred" rendition of the tale, this one fills the bill.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

 Nelson, S.D.  THE STAR PEOPLE:  A LAKOTA STORY.  New York:  Abrams, 2003.  32 pgs.     
    0-8109-4584-3  hb, $14.95.    Gr. 1-4    E    or    398.2

    A young Lakota brother and sister wander from their village watching cloud shapes created by the Cloud People.  When a prairie fire breaks out, they run and fall into a river.  Scared, but safe, they sit on the river bank and watch the stars make the the Star People who are the spirits of the Old Ones.  In the stars they see their deceased Grandma, and she leads them home.  Grandma explains that she cannot enter the village, but that she will always be available to them in the stars.
    Author's nots at the end of the story explain how he learned this magical story from his Lakota mother.  He further explains that the vivid illustrations are based on Native American ledger-book art of the 1800's.  This traditional tale captures the spirit of the human/nature relationship and is an excellent addition to an children's or Native American collection.  It would also be a lyrical read-aloud for Grades 1 - 4.
    Linda Cooley, L'Anse School and Public Library

Piumini, Roberto.  GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS.  Illus. by Valentina Salmaso.
          Minneapolis, MN:  Picture Window Books, 2008. 32p. 978-140485499-4;hb.   PreS-Gr.2    j398.22

          Another Goldilocks storybook, who hasn't heard the story of Goldilocks and the three Bears?  The story can be repeated by almost anyone.  This version is slightly updated into contemporary language.  Little Bears says his chair "broke into tiny little pieces!"  The story doesn't end with Goldilocks running off into the forest.  Little Bear's broken chair gets fixed and he gets to eat some more porridge.  The artwork in this picture book is designed to allow preschoolers identify groups of threes.  Everything is placed in the picture for Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear from their napkins to the pencils the use to write in their notebooks.  Another element added to this story are discussion questions at the end of the book.  Each discussion point allows early  readers to create their own fairy tales based on this one.  The discussion story develops the elements all stories and fairy tales incorporate.
          Chris Collins, L'Anse Area School/Public Library

Polacco, Patricia.   LUBA AND THE WREN.   New York: Philomel, 1999.  unp.
    0-399-23168-4; hb., $16.99.   98-16353      Gr. K-4      398.2

     This variant of the familiar German folktale, "The Fisherman and his Wife," is illustrated so no one can mistake it's Russian origin.  Little Luba saves a wren who offers her a wish but she is content until her parents tell her to go back to the wren and ask for a bigger house on fertile land.  The parents are not happy until they have a grand farmhouse, the graceful house of an estate, and a majestic palace.  Then the parents want the wren to make them Tzar and Tzarina of all the Russians, Emperor and Empress of the World, and finally to be as gods.  This was too much for the wren so she changed the greedy parents back to their original state where they were happy just to be a family.  This is only one of many picture books by this Michigan author who celebrates her Russian heritage through her text and illustrations.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Roberts, Lynn.  RAPUNZEL:  A GROOVY TALE.  Illus. by David Roberts.  New York:  
    Harry N.Abrams, Inc., 2003.  32 pgs.  ISBN 0-8109-4242-9 hb., $16.95    PreS-Gr.3     398

    In this story the classic fairy tale is given an urban twist and is adapted to evoke the groovy 1970's when bellbottoms and long hair were "in."  Her wicked aunt holds orphaned red-haired Rapunzel prisoner in an aprtment building with hundreds of stairs and a broken elevator.  The handsome prince of the original story is a handsome guitarist from a rock n' roll band in this version.  It can be read for pure enjoyment of, in the the classroom, used as an example of how to adapt a story to a different time and place.
    Carolyn Anderson, L'Anse, Retired Elementary Teacher, Public Library Board

Salley, Coleen.  EPOSSUMONDAS.  Illus by Janet Stevens.  San Diego: Harcourt,
    2002.  32p.  0-15-216748-X; hb., $16.00  2001-004906  PreS-Gr. 3    398.21

    This new twist on an old Southern folktale begins with mouthwatering pies on the end papers by a Caldecott honor book winner, Janet Stevens; who uses watercolor, colored pencil, with photographic and digital elements to add a new dimension to this retelling.  Those who are not fortunate to know “Miss Sally” will find her words on the pages, her likeness on the front cover and her “Storyteller’s Note” at the end of the book.
    The tale upon which this book was based is “Epaminondas,” who becomes Epossumondas, an engaging baby possum in diapers who is eminently huggable.  After meeting the baby, “his auntie’s sweet little patootie,” the story goes on in the prescribed manner in which the baby smunches the cake and is told to carry it on his head, but when he carried butter on his head under his hat, it melted all over him.  Auntie says he has to wrap items in leaves and carry it down to the brook, cool it and himself in water, and then put it in his hands to bring it home.  On and on it goes until the last admonition is “you be careful about stepping on those pies!”  And he was!  He stepped on them very carefully.  Expect squeals and admonishments from listeners who are much wiser than the protagonist.  The original story was engaging but the retelling and illustrations add significantly to the familiar story.  Children will ask to have this story read again and again at home or in group read-alouds.    
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    Illus. by Sally Wern Comport.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.  40p.
    0-689-81072-5; hb., $17.00.  98-16794   Gr. K-5     398.2

    Pastels illustrate this Irish tale about Margaret who lives alone on a farm in County Donegal but has a yen for travel.  One day a man from a ship comes to buy supplies from her.  Margaret's bargain with Simon, the son of the King of the East, is that he should take her along.  When a sea creature demands the red haired woman or he will capsize the ship, Margaret rows away in a small boat. When the serpent comes for her she hits him with an axe and escapes.  Margaret is taken in by a woman who tells her that a giant has driven her from her castle and has taken everything but a ring and a sword.  "Only the champion whose finger fits the ring can lift down the sword of light, slay the giant, and give me back my holdings."  At the end of the book, after Simon is killed by the monster, it is an angry Margaret, whose finger fits the riing, kills the giant.  Is Simon brought to life again?  Do they marry?  This story is based on a story translated from the Gaelic.  School and public library collections needing strong female characters or Irish stories to read in March will want to acquire this book.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    Illus. by Eujin Kim Neilan.   Honesdale, PA:  Boyds Mills, 1999. 32p.
    1-56397-754-0; hb., $15.95  98-73069      Gr. 3+       398.2

    There are many selkie stories around the world in which a humble man sees a beautiful celestial beauty bathing and hides her clothes.  She is left behind when the others return to the sky and the man marries her and they have a family.  Eventually the wife pines away for her former life, finds her clothes and returns.  This version has a magic deer who grants a woodcutter a wish for saving his life.  The wish is for a wife to love.  Following the deers instructions, the woodcutter marries the maiden who takes care of his aging mother and their child.  When she asks to see her heavenly clothes, she cannot help herself and floats to heaven with the child.  The deer tells him to get into a bucket that will be lifted up so that he can be reunited with his family.  Because he is unable to leave his mother, he sends her in his place. The heavenly king is pleased with his sacrifice and sends a winged dragon-horse to take him into the sky.  Neilan's pastels capture the essence of this Korean tale.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

San Souci, Robert D. (retold by). ROBIN HOOD AND THE GOLDEN ARROW.
      Illus. by E.B. Lewis. Orchard Books, 2010. 24p. ISBN 978-0-439-62538-8
      lib. bdg. $17.99      Gr. 1-4        NF 398.2

      Based on  a traditional British ballad, Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, this rendition has all the components to have children on the edge of their seats and cheering for Robin and his band when they make a fool of the dastardly Sheriff. The well-rendered illustrations add to the story and interest, bringing children back to an age long gone. This book is a worthy addition to folktale collections and just what you would expect from San Souci.
 Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Sewall, Marcia. THE GREEN MIST. Illus. by author. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 
    0-395-90013-1; hb.,  $15.00.   97-42615    Gr.K-4      E  or 398.2

    Based on a folktale from the ancient past in Great Britain, a small girl's fate is connected to the
mysterious Green Mist that wakes the sleeping land each spring. In olden times it was believed that magical forces controlled the good and bad happenings in people's lives.  The Green Mist rose from the mools (soil) at the coming of spring. Bogles and other weird things were said to have roamed the earth in the old times; they'd hide in cracks and live in cinders just waiting to cause trouble. Through the cold dark days of winter the girl deteriorates to just a bag-o'-bones, while her family waits for the Green Mist and its spring rituals to return and bring forth its magical powers. Sewell uses soft watercolors to set the mood and uses minimal text and an easy vocabulary to help draw a wide audience.
    Patricia Fittante; Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Silverman, Erica.  RAISEL'S RIDDLE.  Illus. by Susan Gaber.  New York: Farrar, 1999.
    40p. 0-374-36168-1; hb.,  $16.00.   97-29421   Gr. K-4    398.2

    The main character in this Jewish Cinderella story from Poland is Raisel who lives with her grandfather, a  poor scholar who teaches her from the Talmud.  When he dies she gets a job at the house of a rabbi where the cook works her night and day.  During the Purim meal Raisel serves the food and listens to guests tell riddles. When they go off to see the Purim play, Raisel takes her food outside and shares it with a beggar woman who gives her three wishes.  Raisel wishes for a Purim costume and is given one like Queen Esther.  She wishes for a horse-drawn wagon and she goes to the play.  When the rabbi's son compliments her she says "Look not at the flask but at what it contains."   Then she tells him a riddle based on something her grandfather taught her "What's more precious than rubies, more lasting than gold?  What can never be traded, stolen, or sold?  What comes with great effort and takes time, but then–Once yours, will serve you again and again?"   Before he can answer, the clock strikes and she has to get away.  When the rabbi's son looks for the girl who told him the riddle, he finds Raisa and gives the correct answer, "learning."  What was the third wish?  It was practical; all  the work needed to be finished while Raisel was at the play.  A few sentences on the title page explain about Esther's part in the Purim holiday.   This book serves multiple purposes: as a Cinderella variant, a Purim story, a riddle storoy, a Polish, and a Jewish story.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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