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Myths and folktales around the world

Bowles, David  Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico
Middle school, high school     303 pp.     Cinco

In this dense but readable anthology of captivating tales from pre-Columbian Mexico, a variety of creation and origin myths are ordered chronologically to share a narrative history of the world from the Aztec and Maya perspectives. Background information is provided in the introduction. Add this title to collections of myths from around the world. Pronunciation guide included. Bib., glos.
Subjects: Folktales, myths, and legends; Mexico; Mythology, Aztec; Mythology, Mayan; Native Americans—North America—Maya; Native Americans—North America—Aztec

Hoena, Blake  Cleansing the World: Flood Myths Around the World
Illustrated by Silvio DB
Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Capstone

Yomtov, Nel  Dawn of Time: Creation Myths Around the World
Illustrated by Dante Lividini
Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Capstone

Graphic Library: Universal Myths series. These books explore central elements of mythology (creation and floods) in civilizations around the world. Eschewing the more familiar biblical and Greek stories, these draw largely from Asian, African, and Native American sources, each book offering a good variety. The graphic-novel format works well with the genre, and the art is colorful and lively. World map included. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Folktales, myths, and legends; Natural disasters—Floods; Creation; Cartoons and comics; Graphic novels; Multicultural books

McAllister, Angela  A World Full of Animal Stories: 50 Folktales and Legends
Gr. 4–6     128 pp.     Quarto/Lincoln

Illustrated by Aitch. Mostly culled from early-twentieth century folklore collections, these accessible retellings are organized by region: Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia and Oceania. The short tales, presented in small print in two columns, include familiar and lesser-known tales. The folkloric spot- and full-page illustrations are more decorative than dramatic. Bib.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Folklore—Animals

Phelps, Ethel Johnston  The Hunter Maiden: Feminist Folktales from Around the World
Gr. 4–6, middle school, high school     148 pp.     Feminst

Illustrated by Suki Boynton. The fourth volume of these reissued folktales (first published in 1981 as part of Maid of the North) features active, wise, and independent women. The eleven tales from diverse world traditions include the titular gender-norms-defiant tale and the infamous “Scheherazade.” Phelps reimagines the tales in an enchanting and evocative voice, aided by Boynton’s occasional illustrations; includes an introduction by Renée Watson. Reading list.
Subjects: Folktales, myths, and legends; Feminism; Folklore—Women; Multicultural books

Yolen, Jane  Once There Was a Story: Tales from Around the World, Perfect for Sharing
Gr. K–3     144 pp.     Simon/Wiseman

Illustrated by Jane Dyer. Divided into “Homey Tales,” “Beastly Tales,” and “Tales of Magic Makers,” the thirty-two stories are mostly European, with a few from America, Africa, and Asia; the Old Testament “Noah’s Ark” is here, along with two folkloric Yolen originals. These lovely retellings are highly appropriate for bedtime and group read-alouds, though Dyer’s delicate gouache paintings and black-and-white spot art are best enjoyed one-on-one. Reading list.
Subjects: Folktales, myths, and legends; Fables; Multicultural books

From the November 2018 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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