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Archive for the ‘Folk tale’ Category

Conover, S. & Crane, F. (Eds.). (2004). Ayat jamilah: Beautiful signs. Spokane: Eastern Washington University Press.
Editors Sarah Conover and Freda Crane have assembled an extensive collections of stories from all over the Muslim world.  Most stories include a moral.

My grade: A
This collection of stories is extensive and includes some really great ones.  I was surprised to see some stories I had heard before.  There are few illustrations, but the book is still lovely because some of the pages are decorated.

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Schur, M. R. (1999). The peddler’s gift. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Schur’s tale is a new version of wise fool stories.  In this version, Shimon the Peddler is called Shnook by the village children because he exhibits no skill as a peddler and seems unintelligent.  However, Shimon’s capacity for forgiveness shows Leibush Shimon’s true worth.

My grade: A
This book teaches a valuable lesson about stealing, forgiveness and judging others.  Kimberly Bulcken Root’s illustrations show such wonderful facial expressions and add to the overall charm of this book.

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Bruchac, J. (1993). The first strawberries: A Cherokee story. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
This Cherokee myth both explains the origin of strawberries and also serves as a reminder to readers that words spoken in anger can do great harm.

My grade: A
I will admit up front that I am partial to Cherokee tales.  A small part of my heritage is Cherokee.  I think this story is particularly sweet (pun intended) and also teaches a valuable lesson.

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Aardema, V. (1981). Bringing the rain to Kapiti Plain. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Aardema recounts a Kenyan story in this book.  This tale is more an adaptation than a true retelling, though.  Aardema builds on the similarities between the story and an English nursery rhyme, “The House that Jack Built.”  The story explains how Ki-pat shoots the rain from the sky to end a drought.

My grade: B+
My grade is based on the rhythm of the story and how well suited it is to reading aloud.  The style actually reminds me more of “The Woman Who Swallowed a Fly,” but that’s likely due to the fact that I’m not familiar with “The House that Jack Built.”  I have my doubts about the accuracy of both the story and the illustrations; however, without further research, I can’t prove my doubts.

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Ernst, J. (1995). The golden goose king: A tale told by Buddha. Chapel Hill: Parvadigar Press.
Buddha narrates this story of his life as the king of golden geese.  Through his capture and the loyalty displayed by his commander, Buddha (as the goose king) inspires the king and queen of Benares.  The book contains a detailed foreword by Carl Ernst, a professor of religious studies at UNC Chapel Hill, which gives more information about the origin of the story.

My grade:  B-
The grade is only from the wordiness of this story.

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McDermott, G. (1997). Musicians of the sun. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
McDermott retells an Aztec myth, which explains how music came to people.  Wind must battle the Sun to free four musicians.  When released, the musicians bring not only music, but color to the land.  Beautiful illustrations, also created by McDermott, compliment the text.

My grade:  B

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