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Poetry and folklore | class #5, fall 2017

For our class on November 1, we will read four books and one article. Since this class only meets six times, we have to double up on some genres. These two go together better than some because they both need to be read aloud. Successful folklore books must have a strong voice. Folktales and fairy […]

Review of The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Pinkney, Jerry The Three Billy Goats Gruff 40 pp. Little 2017. ISBN 978-0-316-34157-8 (3) K–3 Pinkney’s retelling of the classic folktale allows a happier ending for the troll — he is still defeated by the biggest billy goat Gruff but lives to watch the goats reveling in the good life (and possibly, as revealed on […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

For our class on November 16, 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 […]

Folktales redux

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 […]

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile | Class #5, 2016

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, 2016

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 […]

and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

“Classic tales to read, love and share”

We recently received two issues of Storytime Magazine (Luma Works), a monthly British children’s magazine which launched in September 2014 with the tagline “Classic tales to read, love and share.” Each issue is filled with retellings of fairy tales and folktales, plus distillations of classic children’s novels (such as E. Nesbit’s “Five Children and It” […]