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Leigh Anne Wilson

LIS 718-01
Annotated Bibliography

Alderson, Brian. The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales. New York: Doubleday and
Company, Inc., 1978. Print.
This collection of 31 tales from the Brothers Grimm is translated by Brian Alderson and contains
not only the most familiar of Grimms fairy tales but also lesser known stories. Alderson
arranged the stories so that one would flow into the next, but they are not organized by any
particular topic or type of story. There are no cultural notes, index, or glossary, but there are
notes at the end of the book that tell the name of the original German tale of each story. In a brief
afterward, the author explains that he tried to keep the oral tradition alive, and the writing style is
more colloquial than literary. The best tale for telling is Little Snow White, the classic Grimm
fairy tale. No detail is left out, and the story of Snow White and her attempts to keep safe from
her wicked stepmother are as entertaining as ever. Little Brother and Little Sister is yet another
story of children escaping an evil stepmother who moonlights as a witch. The little brother of the
story is turned into a fawn by his stepmothers magic spell, and little sister must protect him from
the king and his huntsmen. These stories are excellent for young listeners in grade school, and
the spoken-word style of the translations makes it easy for the story teller to tell them out loud.

Carter, Jeanne Wilmot and Dorson, Mercedes. Tales from the Rainforest. Hopewell, NJ: The
Ecco Press, 1997. Print.

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There are ten origin stories in this collection, gathered from the part of the Amazon Basin in
Brazil. The Brazilian Indians are descendants of the Amerindian population that created and told
these tales down generations. The tales explained how the universe and everything came to be.
The stories do not seem to be arranged in any particular order. There is an introduction that
describes the discovery of the Amazon River by Europeans, and the origin of the Amerindians
that lived along the riverbanks. The introduction goes on to explain the culture of storytelling in
this part of the world. There are cultural notes at the end of each story, and a glossary at the end
of the book. At the end of the book are also source notes that tell where each story was collected,
plus a bibliography as well. Possible stories for the telling include The Creation of Night,
where the great spirit Sea Serpent and his human daughter bring cool relief of night to a tribe that
labors, sleepless, under the punishing light of an endless day, and The Victoria Regia, the
origin story of one of the Amazon Rivers largest and most beautiful flowers, by describing Naa,
the lovely daughter of a chieftain, who fell in love with the moon. These stories can be told to
grade school students in 4th through 6th grades, who may find the cultural history behind the
stories interesting, but younger students may find the stories fascinating as well. The stories in
this volume were collected in the oral tradition but were given a more literary style for the
benefit of readers and the retellers added their own structured storylines when they felt it was
lacking, so the writing style of the stories feels very smooth. To complete their research on the
tales, the authors consulted ethnographies and anthropological data in order to get cultural
knowledge. As a result, this anthology is a fascinating starting point for anyone interested in
researching folktales, particularly origin stories.

Chase, Richard. Grandfather Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948. Print.
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The twenty five tales in this collection, retold by Richard Chase, were gathered primarily from
people who lived in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia during the first half of the twentieth
century. Although most are based on European folktales, these stories have been imbued with a
strong sense of Appalachia and are hardly recognizable, although the structure remains the same.
The stories are uniquely organized. The first story, Old Christmas Eve, tells of a group of
people gathering around a fire one winters night to tell tales. At the end of each story is a
paragraph discussing the story they just heard before moving onto the next. However, as standalone tales they work just fine if the last paragraph is dropped off. The anthology has an
introduction, explaining that these stories are meant to be told, not read, and urge the storyteller
to read the stories a couple of times before putting the book down and giving it a go. An
appendix at the back of the book is for sources notes and cultural notes, describing the origin of
each tale and its similarities to various European folktales, with interesting asides about the teller
of the tale, such as the man who told Chase a tale called The Outlaw Boy. The Outlaw Boy
is an Americanized version of Robin Hood, but the storyteller, John Martin Kilgore of Wise
County, Virginia, insisted that Robin Hood surely must have been an American. This despite
the presence in the story of a king. The Green Gourd is the only story in the collection that
seems to have originated in Appalachia. Whitebear Whittington, a story similar to the
Norwegian tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, is a wonderful love story between a
woman and a man under an enchanted spell, and Wicked John and the Devil is a story about a
blacksmith who uses three wishes given to him by heaven to defeat the Devil himself. Both of
these stories are good for the telling. All ages can enjoy these stories. Whitebear Whittington is
an excellent story for older, middle school children, while Sody Sallyraytus, an Appalachian

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version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, would be appreciated by preschoolers. The writing
style of the stories is as close to an oral retelling as can be; it is clear the objective is to capture
and pass on the oral tradition. Even though the stories are written in a Southern dialect, it is
advised in the introduction not to tell the stories with an accent unless it is the tellers natural
speaking voice, as it will just get in the way. Grandfather Tales is a very useful anthology for
either researching American folktales or retelling them.
Chase, Richard. The Jack Tales. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1958. Print.
The eighteen stories in this anthology revolve around a Southern Appalachian trickster
character named Jack, a quick-witted farm boy similar to Brer Rabbit. The stories are
arranged in no particular order and leap around chronologically, from when Jack was a
grown, giant-killing man then back to when Jack was a little boy and merely tricked the
giants out of their riches instead, and back again to when Jack was a soldier. In the
preface, it is explained that the compiler and reteller, Richard Chase, travelled Southern
Appalachia gathering Jack stories, and traced virtually all of them back to one man,
Council Harmon. Although many of the people heard him tell his Jack tales, Harmon was
not the creator. Many of the folktales refer back to England, and in one story, Jack assists
a king with defeating a tribe of giants. All of the tales are told in the voice of a thick
Southern dialect, and there are Southern touches everywhere, such as the king inviting
Jack for a dinner with corn pone, giving the stories a unique flavor. The appendix in
the back of the book explores this compilations European roots further, and also touches
on its African-American folkloric influences. A section at the end of the book lists similar
stories throughout Europe that parallel each Jack story. Finally, a glossary gives meaning
to old mountain terms, blubbers for bubbles, piggin for a bucket.
Standout stories for telling include Jack in the Giants Newground, where Jack strikes a
deal with the king to clear some land of both trees and giants, and Hardy Hardhead,
where Jack must defeat a witch in order to rescue a princess. These stories can be enjoyed
by elementary and middle school students, but they are best told by a storyteller who is
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comfortable speaking in a Southern, Andy Griffith-style manner, as the dialect and details
are often hard to separate.
The stories often end on a note of uncertainty. In Hardy Hardhead, the story says, I
never did hear whether Jack married the girl or not. Most likely, he never did, as in very
next tale an interest in a doctors daughter leads him into scrapes trying to gather up a
thousand dollars in order to sufficiently impress her father.

Climo, Shirley. Monkey Business. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005. Print.
These fourteen stories from all over the world have one thing in common a monkey is
at the heart of the tale. Author Shirley Climo used her library, used bookstores, and
searched online for monkey stories, then matched a species of monkey up with a
particular story in her retellings. The book contains folklore of all kinds, such as pourquoi
stories, fairy tales, and talking animal tales, as well as stories that teach a lesson. The
stories are organized by continent. Monkeys in Africa and Madagascar, Monkeys in
the Americas, and Monkeys in Asia are the sections, and each part contains folktales
from that region. There is a brief introduction that speaks about monkeys in general, but
does not address the stories within. There is also what is called a bibliography but seems
more like source notes, as they are paragraphs which described the origin of each story.
There are no cultural notes.

Possible tales for the telling include The Monkey, the Rats, and the Cheese, a folktale
from Cape Verde about two rats arguing over how to divide a chunk of cheese. A
trickster monkey comes along and proises to stop their arguing. He is successful, but the
rats are no happier for it. In The Snow Monkey and the Boar, a Japanese manaque
monkey, after a lifetime of service, must team up with a wise boar to again prove his
worth in his old age. Finally, in the Liberian tale The Baboon and the Shark, a silly
baboon must get smart fast when he is taken for a dangerous ride by a shark.

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These stories were meant to be enjoyed by first through third graders, with their silly
monkeys and cunning tales of derring-do. While the style of the retellings is meant to be
read, with only a few exceptions, they can easily be lifted off the page in order to join the
oral storytelling tradition they once came from.

Cole, Joanna. Best-Loved Folktales. New York: Anchor Books, 1982. Print.
This thorough anthology of folktales tries to be as comprehensive as possible, with two
hundred stories from all over the globe to choose from. The stories include classic
Western European tales that Walt Disney has helped make so familiar, such as Frances
Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, to classic pan-African tales of Anansi to stories
less well known to the Western World from Japan and the Pacific Islands. The collection
is organized by the geographic region from where the stories originated and are further
grouped by specific country or African tribe.
There is a lengthy introduction preceding the tales that discusses the oral history of
folktales and why these particular stories were selected. Joanna Cole, the compiler of
the tales, primarily chose the best-loved stories from each region. While doing research
for the anthology, she read literature about folktales, and consulted folklorists, national
embassies, librarians, and storytellers for suggestions. There are no cultural notes, but
there is a listing in the beginning of the text listing where each story was originally taken
from. There is also a section at the end of the book that indexes the anthology into
different categories tales appropriate for preschoolers, tales that are wonderful for
reading aloud, humorous tales, etc.
The section of stories that is wonderful for reading aloud does indeed have some great
options. The Rubber Man, a story from West Africa the book does not specify which country
- of how the trickster Spider gets his comeuppance, and the creepy Native American Nisquali
Tribes tale The Girl Who Married a Ghost both stand out as particularly strong. Best-Loved
Folktales has stories for all ages from preschoolers to adults, and the introduction gives
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examples for each age group from the very young to more sophisticated audiences. The style of
the stories stays as close as possible to the oral tradition of folktales, as by and large these are
stories meant to be told aloud. Best-Loved Folktales is an anthology that has been painstakingly
worked on, and is an excellent resource for capturing the tales told world-wide.

Cousins, Lucy. Yummy. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009. Print.

This delightful collection of eight classic fairy tales is a wonderful introduction to the
world of folklore for preschoolers. There are talking animals everywhere, some good,
some bad, some innocent bystanders at the havoc that is wreaked around them. For a
collection of fairy tales, it is remarkably gentle eight stories, and only one beheading.
The stories do not appear to be arranged in any particular way, but it is impossible to tell
without prior knowledge of the tales because there are no notes of any kind. There is no
preface or introduction, no cultural or source notes.

Any of the stories can be told to the preschool set, even The Enormous Turnip, which
is essentially just a bunch of people and animals banding together to pull a big vegetable
out of the ground. Little Red Riding Hood, the grisliest tale of them all, and The
Musicians of Bremen are particularly enjoyable both to hear and to tell.

Lucy Cousins manages to weave these retellings into small scraps without causing them
to feel like anything is missing, which is no small feat. The stories are enthusiastic and
friendly, and satisfying to the preschool soul.

dAulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin. East of the Sun and West of the Moon. New York: Viking
Press, 1969. Print.
21 unique tales from Norway are found in this collection, retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin
dAulaire. In the introduction, the dAulaires write of the anthologys origin. The stories were
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originally gathered by Peter Christen Asbjrnsen and Jrgen Moe, two lifelong friends who were
the Norwegian counterparts to the Brothers Grimm. Their first collection of fairy tales was
published in the early 1840s, and later translated into English by British storyteller George
Webbe Dasent in the late 1850s. The dAulaires felt Dasents translations were too literal, and,
armed with both Dasents version and an old Norwegian copy by Asbjrnsen and Moe, retold the
stories their way. From the hundred or so folktales to choose from, they whittled them down to
21, eliminating any stories that were repetitive or those that seemed similar to those from other
cultures. The end result is a grouping of stories, arranged in no particular way, that is distinctly
Norwegian. Aside from the rather romantic introduction, there is no additional addendum to the
text; no cultural or source notes. A lot of the stories revolve around three lazy brothers, the
contemptuous Per and Paal, and the quick-witted youngest brother, Espen Cinderlad, and their
attempts to win the hand of a princess. One of the strongest stories for telling is the first,
Herding the Kings Hares, where Cinderlad wins the princess and half the kingdom by
reining in a herd of rambunctious rabbits. Young grade schoolers will like the groupings of
threes in this tale, as well as the silly kisses and the magical whistle. Cinderlad and the Seven
Silver Ducks is another good tale for the telling. Cinderlad must prove himself worthy of the
kings favor despite unmerited rumors his two brothers are spreading about him. The stories are
rich with detail and, despite the fact that they are almost a hundred years old and translated from
Norwegian, have an easy, humorous dialogue. Researchers interested in Scandinavian folktales
would do well to check out this collection.
Doucet, Sharon Arms. Lapin Plays Possum: Trickster Tales from the Louisiana Bayou. New
York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2002. Print.
The three stories in this short little book all tell the tale of the sly Compre Lapin, a Louisiana
Cajun-flavored version of Brer Rabbit, and his constant scheming against the wealthy but hapless
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Compre Bouki. Bouki is the African Wolof word for hyena, and with this name the stories
reveal the African heritage of these characters and their adventures. The stories are retold in a
somewhat chronological order, with each subsequent story referring back to the one before, and
the first told as an introductory story to the battling duo, but the stories can be easily altered to be
stand-alone pieces. There is a glossary at the beginning of the book to assist the storyteller with
any Cajun French words they do not know, and an authors note at the end. The authors note
briefly discusses the Western African origins of the stories, and how they were brought to the
United States in the early 1700s by African men and women who were forced into slavery.
There are no cultural or source notes. All three of the stories featured are appropriate for telling.
In the first, Bouki Over a Barrel, lazy but clever Compre Lapin (Brother Rabbit) tricks
Compre Bouki out of half the profits of his cotton crop by promising to help harvest it, which of
course he doesnt do. In Lapin Plays Possum, Compre Bouki is relieved of his dinner when
the wily Compre Lapin pretends to lie dead in the road, and in Lapin Tangles with Tee Tar
Bb, a retelling of the classic Tar Baby story, Bouki nearly gets his revenge. These stories are
all wonderful for elementary school students, especially for the younger ones, who will delight in
the many ways Compre Lapin wiggles out from the tight spots he finds himself in. The stories
are freshly told and bursting with Cajun flavor. French words are lightly salted throughout the
tales, but are also clearly defined in English so the reader is not confused. The descriptive
language is delicious: [Compre Bouki] owned a farming field so rich that if you planted a
penny at sunrise, you could pick a dollar before sundown. Lapin Plays Possum gives a lovely
comparison to the Brer Rabbit stories, and shows how much a story can be garnished with local
touches to give the tale a hometown feel, while the structure of the story essentially remains the

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Doyle, Malachy. The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales. Cambridge, MA: Barefoot Books, Inc.,
2005. Print.
Twelve versions of classic fairy tales can be found in this anthology. The stories are more
fleshed out than in some other iterations, with more added detail and dialogue. The
stories are pulled mostly from Europe, with China, Native America, Argentina, and
Arabia also making the cut. The stories in the collection do not appear to be arranged in
any particular order. There is no preface or introduction; the anthology just jumps right in
and begins. There are no cultural notes, but at the end of the book each story has a
detailed source note telling of the tales origins and some of the different variations of
the stories.

This compilation seems to give women and girls slightly more to do, which makes for a
more interesting retelling. Highlights are Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, which should
perhaps be called Morgiana and the Forty Thieves, as it is Ali Babas slave girl who
uses her wit, courage, and skill with a dagger to save the day, The Twelve Dancing
Princesses, where the hero is tipped off on how to rescue the enchanted princesses by a
mysterious old woman who probably could have cut out the middle man and saved the
princesses herself, and The Girl Who Became a Fish, a Spanish tale wherein the title
character rescues a queen.

The stories are all told in a similar fashion, with plenty of detail and dialogue, but without
the violence and sexual content of earlier versions. These tales would be appropriate for
grade schoolers. British author Malachy Doyle is a previous recipient of an Anne Izard
Storytellers Choice Award, and has written several childrens books, including a
previous anthology, Tales From Old Ireland. The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales is a good
stepping stone from preschool to more advanced tale-telling.
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Garner, Alan. A Bag of Moonshine. New York: Delacorte Press, 1986. Print.
21 folktales from England and Wales can be found in this anthology from Alan Garner. The
stories are organized in no particular order, and there is no introduction, no afterward and no
cultural or source notes. In fact, excepting such words as gowks and cariad, there are very
few clues for the researcher or storyteller as to where the stories originated. Also, there is not a
glossary to explain what those words mean. Were it not for the book jacket, it would not be
known that the stories are English and Welsh. This is unfortunate, because some of the tales are
quite engaging for storytelling to young elementary school children. In Wicked Sparrow, a
naughty bird badgers well-meaning townsfolk into giving him richer and richer prizes if he will
just leave them alone and not use language children should not hear and grown men never use.
In Jack and the Boggarts, the ever-present Jack must get back into his mothers good graces
and trick two boggarts into giving up their gold. Finally, in The Salmon Carid, a young man
falls prey to a mysterious mermaid under the river on a moonlit night, and in order to save
himself, he must save her, too. The writing style of the stories is somewhat old-fashioned, but it
is easy enough to understand, with the exception of the occasional Welsh word tossed in. All in
all, however, it would have been helpful to have any sort of addendum to assist the storyteller
flesh out the background of the tales.
Gonzlez, Lucia M. Seor Cats Romance. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1997. Print.
This small but lively collection contains six stories from Spanish-speaking countries. Compiler
and reteller Lucia M. Gonzlez read many collections in Spanish and English and listened to
many people in Latin America tell the tales they knew. Gonzlez then chose to retell the most
popular versions of the most popular stories. The stories do not seem to be organized into any
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particular order, but each story has a note about the tale at the end as well as a glossary to
translate the Spanish words to English and to provide the correct pronunciation. There is also a
forward at the start of the book by the author explaining how she made her selections for the
collection. All of the stories are delightful for preschoolers. They are full of repetition and animal
sounds, and the prose is spritely and bright. Particularly memorable are The Little Half-Chick,
a story of a very spoiled little chicken with only one leg and one wing who learns a lesson in
humility, and Martina, the Glamorous Cockroach, a sophisticated and picky little insect who
will only accept a suitor with the sweetest singing voice. Although these are very old and
beloved stories in Spanish-speaking countries, they may seem fresh and new to English-speaking
American children, and can be perfect for a new twist on storytime.
Hamilton, Virginia. The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World. New York: Harcourt, Brace,
and Jovanovich, Publishers, 1990. Print.
Some of the twenty five tales in this collection are light, some are dark, but all involve
the spirit world in one way or another. Virginia Hamilton has pulled stories from all over
the world and retold them in an easy, colloquial style. There are Native American
pourquoi stories, Devil stories, and African trickster tales. The stories do not seem to be
arranged in any particular order. There is an introduction from the author explaining that
the stories have limitations imposed by a commonality of rules for right conduct. What
will happen, the stories seem to ask, if those rules are broken?

At the end of each story is a cultural notes explaining where the tale originated and its
importance to the culture. There are also source notes at the end of the book.

Possible tales for telling include the Russian Baba Yaga, or Grandmother Witch,
that tells of a beautiful young maiden, despised by her stepmother and stepsisters, who
must survive a night with Baba Yaga with only the help of her favorite doll to protect
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her, and Rolling Rio, the Gray Man, and Death, in which fisherman Rolling Rio
defeats Death himself in a mighty battle. While younger audiences may enjoy the
antics of The Free Spirits, Bouki and Malice, most of the tales are for a slightly older
crowd, fourth through eighth grades.

Hamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1985. Print.
This fabulous anthology is comprised of twenty four tales of African-American folklore. All
kinds of stories are represented: animal stories, tall tales, trickster stories, and slave narratives are
included. The stories are organized into four different sections: animal stories, tales of the real,
extravagant, and fanciful, the supernatural, and slave tales of freedom. In the introduction,
Hamilton discusses the origins of the African-American folktale and how it evolved after the
Civil War. When a different language is used, such as Gullah, a glossary is provided after the
story. After each tale are also extensive cultural notes, and a bibliography can be found at the end
of the book, listing where other versions of the tales can be found. He Lion, Bruh Bear, and
Bruh Rabbit is a different kind of Brer Rabbit story. In it, Brer Rabbit is more of a helper than a
prankster and teams up with Bruh Bear to make a lion stop frightening the other woodland
creatures. In The Two Johns, a darkly humorous and gruesome tale, Little John must use all of
his wit and a little bit of magic to defeat his enemy, the malevolent, murderous Big John. While
He Lion, Bruh Bear, and Bruh Rabbit is an appropriate story for younger listeners, The Two
Johns is more appropriate for an older age group. The escaped slave narratives can be listened
to by all ages. While the writing style does have many colloquialisms, the language is not nearly
as difficult to read and pick through as is Joel Chandler Harriss Uncle Remus stories. However,
Hamiltons stories are clearly meant to be told out loud, and the style is more conversational and
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less literary. In addition to the stories, the cultural notes and bibliography make this collection a
wonderful resource for the researcher or storyteller.

Harris, Joel Chandler. The Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1995.
This short collection includes seven retellings of the adventures of Brer Rabbit, the
trickster hare of Southern African-American folklore. In each story, Brer Rabbit finds
himself ensnared in troubles of his own making, and must use his wily ways to extricate
himself. The tales are arranged somewhat chronologically, with the first as an introduction to the
character of Brer Rabbit and his main nemesis, the beleaguered Brer Fox.
The next story begins with Brer Rabbit feeling guilty for stealing peanuts in the first tale,
and the collection ends with Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and the Tar-Baby, wherein Brer
Fox exacts a modicum of revenge. There are no cultural or source notes for the stories,
but there is an introduction that covers the African roots of the folktales and how and
when they were collected.
Two of the stories stand out for retelling. Brer Rabbit Goes Fishing for Suckers, a tale
in which Brer Rabbit gets stuck down at the bottom of a well and showcases his
personality by freeing himself at the expense of poor Brer Fox, and The Great Race,
a match of wits between Brer Rabbit and Brer Turtle that is not quite the Tortoise and the
Hare story that most remember. These stories are geared toward younger children, most
likely elementary school. The language in the retellings has been modernized, with the
heavy Southern African-American dialect from Harriss original Uncle Remus books
Joel Chandler Harris was an Atlanta newspaperman who collected folktales from
African-Americans in the 19th century and arranged them as a series of stories told by
the grandfatherly Uncle Remus, a slave who entertained the white boy on the
plantation with talking animal adventures. In this collection, the uncomfortable racial

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reminders are gone, and only the trickster and his victims remain.

Hoffman, Mary. A First Book of Fairy Tales. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2001. Print.
This collection includes fourteen classic tales of folklore and fairy tales. The stories have
been stripped down to a bare-bones retelling, with the aim of keeping them as simple as
possible for young readers or listeners. All the stories in the collection are of European
descent, and are arranged in no particular order. Princesses and weddings are featured
heavily in the compilation, but giants and quick-witted boys make an appearance as well.
A First Book of Fairy Tales has an introduction by the author defining what makes a fairy
tale and takes a shallow dive into the origins of storytelling. A quick biography is given
at the end of the book of the original author of the tale, if known. If not, there is a brief
explanation of the storys origin. While all the stories in the collection are possible for
telling, they have largely been stripped of detail and any repetition that would lift the
story off the page and onto its feet as an oral rendition. By and large, this grouping of
stories has been distilled to basic plot points that are intended to familiarize a newcomer
to the classics; Preschoolers. Standouts in the collection for telling are Jack and the
Beanstalk and Rapunzel, which, not coincidentally, are longer stories with more
action and detail.

British author Mary Hoffman has written over seventy childrens books and is a collector
of myths and legends. A First Book of Fairy Tales is appropriate for a storyteller who
may not be familiar with the stories in question, but better versions of these tales that may
be more enjoyable for storytelling are readily available.

Holt, David and Mooney, Bill. The Exploding Toilet: Modern Urban Legends. Little Rock, AR:
August House Publishers, Inc., 2004. Print.

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This compilation of urban, or contemporary, legends is the follow up book to Holt and Mooneys
first collection, Spiders in the Hairdo. As with the previous anthology, the 73 stories in this
grouping are collected by the authors by mostly word of mouth, but there is a special section
devoted to Internet lore as well. The tales are modern stories that people have shared that often
contain a grain of truth buried under a pile of embellishments. The book is organized into loose
categories of topic, such as Hoaxes and Affairs of State, Crime Doesnt Pay, and
Occupational Hazards. There is wide variation within those parameters from the subject to the
length of the story. There are no cultural notes, source notes, index, or glossary, but there is an
introduction explaining what makes an urban legend. Urban legends, write the authors, are
generally about Everyman, and the location is non-specific. This allows the tale to spread its
wings and fly. After all, it could have happened to anyone. Holt and Mooney do their best with
the Scary Stories section. Good tales for the telling include Hide and Seek, where a spoiled
young woman plays a childhood game too well, and The Fickle Finger of Fate, a tale which
preys upon our darkest fears. These tales are intended mostly for high schoolers and adults,
although middle schoolers can enjoy a good exploding toilet as much as anyone. The stories are
written down in a way that tries to remain true to its oral traditions. These are stories meant to be
told aloud, either around the campfire or the water cooler. The Exploding Toilet is a good
companion piece to Spiders in the Hairdo, and is a good beginning for the storyteller who is
looking for a contemporary tale.

Holt, David and Mooney, Bill. Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends. Little Rock, AR:
August House, Inc., 1999. Print.

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Storytellers David Holt and Bill Mooney have translated their spoken-word audio recording to
the page, compiling 55 urban legends, or, as the authors refer to them, contemporary legends.
Some of the legends date back to the 1960s and others reached the Internet age, but all of them
are embellished versions of stories people trade at school or at parties, stories that never happen
to the teller, but rather a friend of a friend. The tales, just this side of plausibility, are told as
truth. The stories range from silly to gross, embarrassing to scary, and are loosely classified by
the type of story. The section Fools Rush In tells tales slightly reminiscent of noodlehead
stories, where the lack of common sense leads to foolish choices, The Home Front concerns
incidents that happen in the home, and The Old College Try revolves around college life.
Within these loose confines, however, anything can happen. In the section called Jerks, one
story relates the incident of an old man getting revenge on a group of burly, out of control bikers
at a diner, and another portrays a man accidentally mugging another man at a train station. There
is an introduction that defines a contemporary legend and what makes them different from folk
tales - contemporary legends are rarely full-length tales, but can be expanded, depending on the
teller and the audience. There are no cultural or source notes, but a resource section in the back
points to the Internet as a nebulous resource for many similar tales. In this collection, the Scary
Stories section has the best selection for creeping out middle schoolers, with the classic The
Vanishing Hitchhiker standing out as a timeless tale, and The Deadly Dress comes in at a
close second. Most of these stories are stripped down, just presenting the straight facts. More
loving details are included in the scary stories, reflecting, as the introduction states, our
concerns, our fears, our prejudices. Grammy-nominated story tellers Holt and Mooney provide
a neat little grouping of legends for the beginning researcher, with resource notes in the back for
the individual who wants a more scholarly approach.

Leigh Anne Wilson

Larson, Jean Russell. The Fish Bride and Other Gypsy Tales. North Haven, CT: Linnet Books,
2000. Print.
Inside this book are sixteen tales belonging to the Roma, or Romanian Gypsy people.
These tales are mostly unique to the Roma, although some of the stories have Celtic
influences. The Roma had all kinds of tales trickster tales, Jack tales, Noodlehead tales,
and stories of the supernatural. The do not seem to be organized in any particular way in
the book, however.

There is an introduction in the anthology that tells of the authors interest in Gypsy tales.
At the start of each story is a brief cultural note explaining Gypsy beliefs or sayings and
how and why the story came to be. At the end of the book is a resource section, pointing
the researchers in the direction of other books and articles on the Roma. There are no
source notes for the stories.

The title story, The Fish Bride, is a classic fairy tale. A beautiful young girl, the fairest
in the land, has an evil spell cast upon her by a jealous queen. In order to break the spell,
she must somehow fulfill her destiny. The Kettle Which Filled Itself is a story in which
an old woman battles the Devil over a magical kettle that is always full of delicious soup.
Finally, Jack and the Green Man is a Jack tale with faint elements of Jack and the
Beanstalk, where Jack must win his fortune and his life by battling wits against a giant
who lives in a land in the sky. These stories can be told to a wide range of ages, from
first grade to sixth. Even adults may be interested in hearing new-to-them tales.

The writing style is such that the stories can be enjoyed by either a reader or a listener.
The writing is literary, but not so much that the teller would get hung up on the language
of the text. In the introduction, the author writes that oral storytelling is a Romany
tradition. The Fish Bride is a good peek into that heavily-romanticized culture, and an
essential start for a researcher looking for Gypsy tales or a storyteller looking to capture
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an audience of listeners.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. Three Minute Tales. Little Rock, AR: August House Publishers,
Inc., 2004. Print.
Margaret Read MacDonalds book is filled with tales made for the telling. She has
included seventy-seven very short little stories from all over the globe from as broad an
area as Russia and Eastern Europe and as narrow as Southern Indiana. The content is
equally far-ranging, spanning American camplore to folkchants to Buddhist teachings.
The stories are classified in terms of the various scenarios one may find oneself in when
a story is in order, with section headings such as Tales to Tell on a Walk, Tales to Tell
on a Museum Tour, Tales for the Youngest Readers, and Participation Tales.

The author provides a lot of information to assist the reader in best using the book. There
is a brief description in the beginning of the collection of how and why the book was put
together, and a note on the stories themselves and how long it takes to tell them. She
provides a section of Suggestions for the Beginning Teller that aims to better prepare
the new storyteller when first dipping their toe into the storytelling pool. A bibliography
is included at the end, pointing the user to more story collections if the stories in these
pages do not suit. At the end of each story appear cultural and source notes, indicating
different versions of the stories , the original versions geographic location, and
subsequent appearances in different cultures. The notes also include any moral or
practical lesson inherent in the story, if necessary.

While all these tales are intended for out-loud telling, the Chinese legend The Sun
Sisters and the Jewish folktale The Learned Scholar stand out as particularly
entertaining, teaching the listener not to stare into the sun and not to be rude and
arrogant, respectively. In her opening paragraphs, MacDonald writes that she has tried
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to include stories suitable for all ages, from adults to the very little. Each story, whether
it is a new or familiar friend, is written with an ear for detail that makes the words leap
off the page and sing. Margaret Read MacDonald is the author of several books and has
been telling stories to preschoolers for decades. She has travelled the world, particularly
Asia, in order to collect stories. This is a very nifty and valuable collection for any
aspiring or professional storyteller. While the stories are very short, they are not without
lively and colorful detail, action, and refrains that are crucial to a good tale.

Medearis, Angela Shelf. Haunts. New York: Holiday House, Inc., 1996. Print.
There are five ghost stories in this short collection by Angela Shelf Medearis. A few are
folktales, and a few are originals by the author, but it is not indicated which stories are
which. There is only a brief forward by Medearis recounting her mothers and grandmothers encounter with a ghost. There are no cultural or source notes, and no index,
glossary, or other addendum. The stories do not appear to be in any particular order.

The best story for the telling is The Rainmaker, in which a village beset by drought
asks the village witch for help to make it rain. She does help, but refuses to make the rain
stop unless the villagers pay a difficult price. Last Dance at the Dew Drop Inn has a
more Western feel to it, as a bride whose groom meets an untimely death gets a visit from
an unwelcome guest while she is busy making the acquaintance of the saloons piano
player. The other stories are more complex, weaving in freed slave narratives with ghost
and Devil stories, and, in the case of Scared Silly, a story within a story. These stories
would be good Halloween stories for fourth through sixth grades.
Written in a more literary style, these stories may take some adapting to get them up off
the page, and it is difficult if not impossible to gauge the authors credentials or method
of research from this one volume alone. Beginning researchers and storytellers may want
to start elsewhere before tackling these tales.

Leigh Anne Wilson

Palazzo, Tony. Animal Folktales of America. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2010.
This collection of American folktales explores the early days of the American settlers.
the fourteen stories gathered here are joined together by a common theme: animals.
Whether the tale revolves around Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill, an animal is sure to make an
appearance, either to lead the action, as in The Jumping Frog, or to showcase the
outstanding, larger-than-life American folk heroes, such as Davy Crockett. The stories
are not arranged in any particular order, and there are no cultural or source notes. There
is an introduction that explains the importance of animals to early American explorers, as
either friend, foe, or food.
These stories are intended for a younger, preschool audience, and most of the tales do not
really lend themselves to be read aloud. The collection is stripped of any charming details
and there is not much in the way of action. In many cases the stories ended before they
really had a chance to begin. Only one story, The Knee-High Man, could be used by a
storyteller. The Knee-High Man tells of a short man who asks large animals how to
become big like them. The animals suggest he try their unique animal traits, but this
only makes him smaller. Finally, a wise owl suggests he try to grow his brain instead of
his body.
The author, Tony Palazzo, has written several adaptations of myths and fairy tales, and
one would hope they are not all as devoid of life as this collection. This is not an
anthology that can be recommended for a storyteller or researcher in folklore.

Schwartz, Alvin. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. New York: Scholastic, 1981. Print.
There are twenty-nine spooky stories in this book, all meant to be told aloud. They
range from short, scary tales to very short tales, sometimes only a paragraph long before
they end in an abrupt scream. They are organized by what type of tale they are Jump
tales, where the teller tries to make the listeners jump with fright, ghost stories, a catch-all
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miscellaneous section, humorous scary tales, and more modern urban legend classics.

The stories are well-documented. There is an introduction to the book that briefly
discusses the history of telling scary stories. At the end of the book are both cultural and
source notes. The cultural notes in particular discuss the story The Big Toe. Alternately
known as The Golden Arm, it is a jump story that Mark Twain would tell at his
speaking engagements. Included in the cultural notes are Twains original directions on
how best to tell it. Also given are instructions on what to do if one meets a ghost.
Included in the book is a bibliography and a list of articles for further reading and
research as well.

Possible stories for the telling include Room for One More, a somewhat plausible tale
where a businessman finds his dreams have a real-life impact, The Wendigo, a Native
American tale wherein the bitter north wind itself takes on ghostly characteristics, and
A New Horse, a ghost story with a somewhat macabre, gruesome ending.

These stories are perfect to tell to fourth through sixth graders, and there are also songs
and games that are good for first through third graders as well. The writing style of the
stories definitely has oral traditions in mind these stories are meant to be read out
loud. In the jump stories, short asides instruct the reader on when to scream, stomp their
feet, or grab someone. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an excellent resource for
researchers, thanks to the detailed notes in the back, and is good for storytellers, too,
thanks to the tales themselves.

Sierra, Judy. Can You Guess My Name? New York: Clarion Books, 2002. Print.
This is a book for the storyteller. There are fifteen stories divided up into five sections,
and each section covers a version of a familiar fairy or folk tale, as told from different
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places in the world. If a storyteller is looking for a fresher version of Rumplestiltskin

she can turn to the section entitled Can You Guess My Name? and find three
similar stories from Sweden, Nigeria, and Japan, none of which are the classic Anglo
tale Americans remember, but all of which are close enough to be familiar but
different enough to be intriguing. The way the book is organized really sends the message
home that these familiar stories truly are ancient and timeless, as they spread all across
the globe and yet the structure of the tales remains the same.
The introduction bears this observation out, and discusses the human migratory patterns
that cause the tales to travel. The introduction also reveals Judy Sierras efforts in
fleshing out the stories if she was only able to find more terse versions of them, and how
she would workshop them for audiences of children.
Each section has cultural notes, prior to the telling of the tales. For example, in the
section called Ill Blow Your House In! a trio of tales from Scottish, Italian, and
African-American folklore, Sierra explains that although this story of The Three Little
Pigs is much beloved in the Western world, it did not travel very far outside it, simply
because moving away from ones family, as the little pigs do, was simply not done
elsewhere. At the end of the book are detailed source notes for each story, including an
explanation of a folktale classification system and where the story falls within that
While all of these stories are made for the telling, a Chinese Hmong version of The
Frog Prince, How a Warty Toad Became an Emperor, and the Nigerian version of
Rumplestiltskin, How Ijapa the Tortoise Tricked the Hippopotamus are particularly
delightful when read out loud. All the stories are meant to be performed and are written
as such. The aforementioned Ijapa the tortoise story begins, The story floats in the air.
It hovers. Where does it land? It falls upon Ijapa, the tortoise. These stories are
appropriate for grade schoolers, but adults may be interested as well, from a cultural
diversity standpoint.

Leigh Anne Wilson

Tchana, Katrin. The Serpent Slayer. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2000. Print.
This collection holds eighteen tales of feminist derring-do, focusing on heroines rather
than heroes. In these stories, women and girls save the day and often their own skins by
the use of their courage, skill, and wit. In some of the stories the heroines are rewarded
with the traditional wedding bells, but just as often their victory is celebrated by simply
being able to go home to their families. The stories are taken from all over the world, and
it is noted in the preface that many of the tales appear in several different cultures. There
does not seem to be any specific order to the collection Chinese legends are sifted in
amongst African and Arabic folklore. There are no cultural notes, but there are source
notes in the back of the book, enlightening the reader as to the origin of the stories and
the different variation in various countries.

The collection begins strongly, with the title story The Serpent Slayer, which tells of
the legend of Li Chi, a Chinese teenager who saves her village from a malevolent dragon,
and The Old Woman and the Devil, whose heroine proves that bravery and wisdom
have no age limit. While these stories are not for preschoolers, they have appeal for
listeners from grade school to high school. The structure of the stories is very traditional,
with adventures and wishes alike occurring in threes, attempts at success tried and failed
by less cunning rivals, and magical animals lending a helping hand. The Serpent Slayer
is a good starting point for researchers and storytellers who would like to present material
that is traditional in origin, yet appealing to the feminist palette.

Leigh Anne Wilson