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Folklore and mythology collections

leupin_tales-from-the-brothers-grimmLeupin, 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 appended. This volume will appeal most to collectors.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm; Folklore—Germany

mcginnis_when-the-buddha-was-an-elephantMcGinnis, Mark WWhen the Buddha Was an Elephant: 32 Animal Wisdom Tales from the Jataka
Gr. 4–6     86 pp.     Shambhala

McGinnis presents tales adapted from the Jataka of the Buddha’s animal incarnations. The concise stories (many of which, such as “The Donkey and the Lion Skin,” have variants in Aesop’s Fables) are told in simple prose; each is paired with a striking, if sometimes disconcerting, painting. With dark themes and occasional opacity of morals, slightly older, thoughtful readers are the best audience. (Lack of sources is unfortunate.)
Subjects: Religion—Buddhism; Fables; Animals

moses_fairy-tales-for-little-folksMoses, Will  Fairy Tales for Little Folks
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Viking

Moses illustrates “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Snow White,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast” with folk art–style oil paintings. Pages are dense with words; each tale is punctuated with a dozen or so vignettes and finishes with a double-spread landscape populated with miniatures. Moses has made minor embellishments to the tales (he doesn’t acknowledge any textual sources).
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends

napoli_treasury-of-norse-mythologyNapoli, Donna Jo  Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love, and Revenge
Gr. 4–6, Middle School     192 pp.     National Geographic

Illustrated by Christina Balit. This third collaboration by Napoli and Balit (Treasury of Greek Mythology; Treasury of Egyptian Mythology) is ideally not readers’ first encounter with Norse mythology, as its plethora of names and places can be difficult to keep straight. However, those already familiar with the pantheon will appreciate the chatty, witty text, accompanied by Balit’s striking, angular, resplendent-hued illustrations. Timeline. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Gods and goddesses; Mythology, Norse

umezawa_strange-light-afarUmezawa, Rui  Strange Light Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan
Middle school, high school
     160 pp.     Groundwood

Illustrated by Mikiko Fujita. Umezawa retells eight Japanese folktales, expanding on them and offering character details that explain why the protagonists act as they do. The stories each portray a specific trait (honor, envy, betrayal) and are engaging but not for the faint-hearted (in one a dog is beaten to death, for instance). An eerie illustration opens each of these mysterious retellings. An afterword provides sources.
Subjects: Japan, Ancient; Short stories; Folklore—Japan; Supernatural—Ghosts

From the September 2016 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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