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Posted June 18, 2001
In this enchanting compendium of six folktales from around the world, Barbara Baumgartner offers us many themes: generosity, deception, love, magic, jealousy and friendship, among many others. The back dust cover states boldly: ¿Silver is a symbol of purity and prosperity, of moonlight and enchantment. These six silvery tales from around the world will delight and inspire, and teach how to distinguish good from evil.¿ How true! These simple stories are told in a straightforward, easy-to-read style ideal for reading alone or reading aloud and, of course, can be adapted to storytelling. As you read the stories, you will find them to be reminiscent of other stories from other cultures. Stories through the ages have been shared and this is quite evident in All My Shining Silver. For example, in the title tale from Ireland, another adaptation may be found in the Book of Witches (Dutton, 1965) edited by Ruth Manning-Sanders. However, Barbara¿s version is very different and even more entertaining due to its modern spin. In this story, two contrasting sisters try to outwit an old thieving woman. In Hadijah and the Great Fish, jealous peers leave a young girl to die in the rising river. She is saved, but must sacrifice that which is most precious to her¿her humanity. Awang and His Silver Flute from Indonesia is a short, short tale about daydreaming leading to loss. My personal favorite, The Danced Out Shoes from Russia is a classic among fairy tales. It features a disappearing cloak (a la Harry Potter), a handsome soldier, three beautiful, but wayward princesses and worn out shoes. What a treat! Puerto Rico presents us with The Rainbow Horse, reminiscent of the classic Cinderella, but with a few twists. Here Cinderella is the youngest son of a prosperous landowner whose jealous, older brothers cannot appreciate his true worth. When he makes a pact with a magical horse, he receives the opportunity to change his life. Why Dog and Cat Are Not Friends features yet another explanation for the great war of the ages between our furry friends. As a cat owner, I was thrilled with the outcome! The illustrations are magnificent. The artwork of Amanda Hall, who illustrated Barbara¿s companion volume, Good as Gold, is highlighted in silver making each picture shimmer. Each story features its own color hues. From the aqua, copper and gold of Hadiyah and the Great Fish to the breathtaking winter beauty of purples, whites, pinks and blues of The Danced Out Shoes, Ms. Hall adds so much to Barbara¿s words. The last page includes source notes (anthology titles, author/editor names and dates of publication), a very useful tool. In today¿s violent society where guns, bombs and knives are present in our schools and on our streets, taunts and threats on our playgrounds and horrific scenes on our televisions, this book reinforces the value of the human spirit. Each story has its own moral: ¿Don¿t confuse dreams with real life¿; ¿Be a friend, not a rival¿. Whether you are a parent, an educator, a bookseller, a storyteller, or someone simply interested in folktales, this volume is as close to perfect as you can get. Makes a great gift book with its silver inlays and simple text.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2002
All That Shines is Silver
In this collection of fables from six different countries, Baumgartner brings an international perspective to several moral tales. The six stories come from Irish, African, Hispanic, Russian, and Asian cultures, yet the lessons children learn from them are universal regardless of ethnicity. A mix of fairy tales and fables, the stories capture children¿s attention with a magic-wielding old woman, a giant fish that makes girls grow silver scales, a fairy ice castle, a rainbow horse, and a magic ring. Baumgartner¿s writing is such that older children can read the fables to younger siblings, and parents can easily adapt the text for oral storytelling. The illustrations of All My Shining Silver glitter with metallic silver accents that are sure to attract the attention of human magpies of all ages. The swirling silver of the illustrations helps tell the stories visually, adding depth and richness by focusing on the key silver objects in each story. Not only are the illustrations artistically stunning, but Hall has also incorporated the colors, styles, and artistic devices of the respective cultures represented in the fables. All My Shining Silver is a book that encourages sensitivity to foreign cultures from which children of all ages can benefit.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.