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Review of The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales


The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Shaun Tan; abridged and adapted from translations of Grimms’ fairy tales by Jack Zipes; sculptures and photos by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    
186 pp. 10/16    978-0-545-94612-4    $24.99    g In the hands of creative teachers, librarians, and parents, this book-lover’s book will find its way […]

Fantastical folklore


The following works of folklore — a new Grimm like you’ve never seen, a Norwegian folk story in silly/creepy graphic novel form, a pourquoi tale done in Duncan Tonatiuh’s unmistakable visual style, and two classic reissues — feature fabulous and fantastical folk. In the hands of creative teachers, librarians, and parents, Shaun Tan’s The Singing […]

Review of The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes


The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4197-2130-4    $16.95 After a string of award-winning picture-book biographies (Separate Is Never Equal, rev. 7/14; Funny Bones, rev. 11/15), Tonatiuh turns to folklore for this adapted pourquoi story that explains the origins of […]

Folklore and mythology collections


Leupin, Herbert  Tales from the Brothers Grimm Gr. K–3     156 pp.     NorthSouth Nine tales, including “Snow White” and the less-familiar “Mother Holly,” are straightforwardly retold and accompanied by Swiss ad man/poster artist Leupin’s mid-century illustrations in a large-format storybook. The richly colored artwork has an early-era Disney sensibility. A lengthy biographical note about Leupin is […]

But where will I put it?


“Should this book go in nonfiction or folklore?” ACK, the book review placement problems.The Decider (Martha) is away this week so Shoshana, Elissa, and I are left to our own devices when it comes to deciding what goes in which category of the September/October Magazine review section. A historical illustrated book retelling a real incident but with invented situations and […]

Review of Hare and Tortoise

murray_hare and tortoise

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 5/16    978-0-7636-8721-2    $16.99 With warm, lively digital art and snappy narrated text, this new rendition of Aesop’s famous race will make a funny and satisfying read-aloud for both those familiar with the fable and those coming to it for the […]

Five questions for Mordicai Gerstein


Ancient Greece wasn’t always so ancient, and sometimes gods just wanna have fun. Using cartoon panels, child-friendly dialogue, and copious humor, Mordicai Gerstein’s I Am Pan! (Roaring Brook, 4–8 years) gives us a first-person, picture-book Pan whose big personality can’t be contained: “Arcadia, here I come!” 1. Your appended bibliography is pretty dense stuff! How […]

Folktales redux

hobbie_hansel & gretel

Three recent picture books offer fresh takes on old tales from the likes of Grimm and Aesop; a fourth paints fairy-tale baddies in a more favorable, relatable light. Holly Hobbie’s handsome edition of Hansel & Gretel strikes just the right balance between scary and not-too. The deep green forest is mysterious but inviting, its darkness […]

Review of I Am Pan!

gerstein_i am pan

I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein; 
illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Roaring Brook    80 pp. 3/16    978-1-62672-035-0    $18.99 Never have the first-person point of view and the exclamation point been used more appropriately than in this introduction to the Greek god Pan. Untrammeled ego, low impulse control, resilient, charming — this is a Pan […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]