Twelve trickster tales that show the migration of African culture to America via the West Indies.
Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotThis is the third collaboration by this author and illustrator and they continue to charm readers with outstanding folktales and matching illustrations. There are similarities here to their previous works, When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing and In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World. This collection contains stories that are drawn from distinct geographical regions, but they share common roots. The American Trickster tales feature Buh Rabby, sometimes called Brer Rabbit, and other smaller creatures who use their wits to best those larger and more powerful. These tales have their roots in the African culture of the slaves in the Southern US. Another set of tales from the West Indies feature Anansi, the spider, which is also rooted in African culture. What makes the circle complete are the African trickster tales, which may have returned to the continent via freed slaves. They are entertaining and the dialect is not overwhelming. The artwork by Moser is filled with humor. The way his animal characters displays the full range of human emotions is testament to his prodigious talent. This is a book to be savored and begs to be read aloud. The stories are appropriate for younger children to listen to, while older kids can read them on their own. Notes provide background and information about the stories.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK Up--Hamilton offers readers and storytellers 11 animal trickster tales from the African diaspora. Most are quite familiar. "Bruh Wolf and Bruh Rabbit Join Together" is a variant of the popular tale about who gets the top or the bottom of the harvested crops. "The Cat and the Rat" takes a new twist when Bruh Wolf is brought in to help them share their find. "Cunnie Anansi Does Some Good" is a different take on name guessing. "Cunnie Rabbit and Spider Make a Match" is a tale about strength that also explains why animals have different colors or spots or stripes. It is the least successful offering as it lacks the humor and familiar touches found in "The Extraordinary Tug-of-War." As in When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing (Scholastic, 1996) and In the Beginning (Harcourt, 1988), Moser's humorous illustrations of the principal characters capture and complement the wily, dazed, and perplexed demeanor of the animals as described by Hamilton. A section of notes helps readers understand the colloquialisms and contractions in the retellings and gives an explanation about the tricksters and the specific geographical location of the diaspora they represent. The format, size, and attractive illustrations make this title a good choice for group sharing.--Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN
New York Times Book ReviewThis is a handsome, well-annotated anthology, a pleasure to read aloud. -- New York Times Book Review
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