From the Publisher
"Designed for older elementary and middle school classes, this volume contains 22 scripts, adaptations of African folktales, that students can read alound. Although most of the tales cross national borders, as do the language and cultural groups from which they arise, Fredericks assigns them by country and provides a source note for each adaptation in an appendix. The book begins with an introduction to readers theatre and how it contributes across the curriculum, suggestions for staging and follow-up activities, and a brief (two-paragraph) overview of each country from which a tale originates. …The book concludes with an annotated list of resources and an index."
"A valuable volume for teachers working with students in grades 4-8."
School Library Journal
"Bottom line: An excellent addition to the multicultural shelves that will easily earn its keep."
"With more than thirty-seven years of experience as a classroom teacher, administrator, professional storyteller, and college professor, Fredericks has a sophisticated understanding of ways to integrate folklore into classroom instruction. Rather than simply offering texts and suggesting that adults may try reading the stories to children to spark students' interest in reading, Fredericks employs ideas from young people's theater to use folklore to ignite an interest in verbal arts. The book is an adaptation of stories documented by folklorists, anthropologists, and other collectors. Fredericks reworked them into short scripts that can be acted out in the classroom or library. The approach shifts the focus
away from text into performance, and Fredericks' representation of the texts will make these stories come alive to children and adults. The book's bibliography and webography include fine resources for adding to the study of folklore and African culture. Some may quibble with the idea that this book is an adaptation of traditional folktales, but that's exactly the point. Fredericks regards folklore as a living and vibrant form of expression, and he and his collaboratora Cameroon artist named Bongamanshare the idea that adapting the stories to American audiences enhances, rather than distorts, the verbal artistry that they are presenting."
Journal of Folklore Research
School Library Journal
This collection of scripts begins with an introduction that defines readers theatre as "a storytelling device that stimulates the imagination and promotes all of the language arts." The four pages of presentation suggestions that follow include script preparation, starting out, staging, props, delivery and post-presentation. Brief notes on the 20 African countries from which the 22 folktales are taken, as well as a map of Africa, serve as a good backdrop for the scripts. The plays themselves are grouped by region. Many of them, based on traditional folklore, are pourquoi stories, trickster tales, and stories that have a moral. Each one includes a drawing of the stage indicating where the characters and narrators are positioned, as well as any movements on stage. The selections range from 3 to 6 pages in length, with 4 to 10 performers. For the most part, the stories, some simpler than others, are short, lively, and often humorous. The volume ends with source notes for each legend; a listing of readers theatre books; contact information for the Institute for Readers Theatre, and a list of additional resources for teachers and librarians. A valuable volume for teachers working with students in grades 4-8.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH