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A Wondrous Menagerie: Animal Fantasy Stories from American Children's Literature

Overview

Here are some of the most imaginative and distinctly American fantasy stories written during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. American children's authors experimented with many kinds of fantasy, but the animal story, which crossed social and cultural boundaries, was their best vehicle. Breaking away from European models, it featured American animals and dealt with such uniquely American concerns as westward expansion. Some authors turned to Native American and African American folktales for ...
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Overview

Here are some of the most imaginative and distinctly American fantasy stories written during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. American children's authors experimented with many kinds of fantasy, but the animal story, which crossed social and cultural boundaries, was their best vehicle. Breaking away from European models, it featured American animals and dealt with such uniquely American concerns as westward expansion. Some authors turned to Native American and African American folktales for inspiration, fashioning their stories from indigenous motifs that showcased the true cultural diversity of the country. Several writers in this anthology rank among America's most important authors. Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Joel Chandler Harris are here - along with Frank Stockton, Mary Mapes Dodge, Zitkala-Sa, a Dakota Indian, and others. Editor Mark West contributes a general introduction and headnotes to each of the fourteen selections, setting each story in a literary context for teachers of children's literature, librarians, and anyone interested in American literature and writing for children.
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Editorial Reviews

Carolyn Phelan
This historical anthology of American animal folktales and fantasy stories for children features 14 selections written between 1835 and 1929. Among the tales are unfamiliar works by famous writers including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain. In his introduction, West briefly provides a historical context for the stories and points out some of the features they have in common. While most of the selections are told in a flowery, tedious, or avuncular style that would not attract audiences today, a few, such as "Iktomi and the Fawn," seem timeless in their appeal. A bibliography of sources is appended. Of historical interest, mainly to researchers in the field.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780208023834
  • Publisher: Shoe String Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/1994
  • Pages: 139
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Rollo's Dream 1
The Rock-Elephant 8
The Squirrels That Live in a House 22
The Reformed Rats 30
Madam Cluck, and Her Family 36
Some Learned Fables, for Good Old Boys and Girls 43
The Story of the Deluge and How It Came About 67
The Wolf That Wanted a Doctor 71
Iktomi and the Fawn 78
The Rabbit and the Wild-Cat 84
The Discontented Gopher 91
Silly Snake and His Money 104
The Marvelous Dog and the Wonderful Cat 110
The Story of a Self Made Mouse 121
Primary Sources 137
Selected Secondary Sources 139
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