Cuckoo’s song


I discovered the podcast “Lore” yesterday, and I’m already eleven episodes in. Created by supernatural thriller author Aaron Mahnke, “Lore” tells real-life stories behind or informed by scary folklore, urban legends, and other creepy tales. Thus far, it’s covered the requisite vampires (this particular case taking place in colonial Massachusetts), werewolves (in medieval Germany), and […]

Review of The Grasshopper & the Ants

pinkney_grasshopper and the ants

The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Little, Brown   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-316-40081-7   $18.00   g Moving right up Maslow’s hierarchy of 
needs, Pinkney transforms Aesop’s harsh 
fable about the consequences of improvi
dence into one celebrating the value of the arts. Unlike his true-to-species characters in his Caldecott-winning The […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2015

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 […]

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile | Class #5, 2015

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile

There are so many stand-alone folktale picture books that it’s hard to choose just one for us to read together. But I’ve used this one for several years because of its humor, voice, and authenticity. Interestingly, it also represents two story types: noodleheads (heroes or heroins who are a bit scatterbrained) and tricksters (a small […]

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal | Class #5, 2015

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

One of the fascinating and mysterious things about folklore is that the same story types appear all over the world. Here’s a single picture book that tells a Cinderella-type story as found in several different cultures. I think children would need to first be familiar with a single, cohesive version of this story in order […]

Folklore from around the world

andrews_when apples grew noses

Andrews, Jan  When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew: Tales of Ti-Jean Gr. 4–6     69 pp.     Groundwood Illustrated by Dušan Petričić. Ti-Jean, cheerful, hapless stripling of French-Canadian folklore, makes a winning appearance in three tales of European origin lightly transposed to a New World setting. Andrews is a storyteller, and these zesty, well-paced […]

Song of the Sea movie review

song of the sea poster

I’m a sucker for fairy-tale and folklore retellings, and a major sucker for selkie lore…so I had very high hopes for animated film Song of the Sea (Cartoon Saloon, December 2014), directed by Tomm Moore (whose The Secret of Kells was a 2009 Best Animated Feature Academy Award nominee) and cowritten by Moore and William […]

Review of My Grandfather’s Coat

aylesworth_my grandfather's coat

My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth; 
illus. by Barbara McClintock Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-439-92545-7    $17.99 Revisiting the Yiddish folksong celebrated in Simms Taback’s Caldecott-winning Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, Aylesworth extends its events over four generations, affording McClintock the opportunity to sample dress and households from the early twentieth century to […]

From the Guide: Folklore (and Fakelore)

andersen_snow queen

In her article “Folklore vs. Fakelore, the Epic Battle,” Jane Yolen rejects the derision of “fake folklore,” tracing the tangled and not-so-folky histories of many tales we think of as folklore. Whether they’re straight abridgments, tamed retellings, or silly twists on well-known tales, the following books, all recommended in the spring and fall 2014 issues […]

Review of Very Little Red Riding Hood

heapy_very little red riding hood

Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy; illus. by Sue Heap Preschool    Houghton    32 pp. 9/14    978-0-544-28000-7    $16.99 In this re-imagining, Little Red is a toddler. She’s affectionate, stubborn, imperious, and has no time for the intimidation techniques of the wolf. “No touch my cakes!” She hugs him, calls him Foxie, and proceeds to […]