Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyNaturalist Thornhill takes her show on the road as she retells animal legends from around the world. Using a more vibrant palette than in her last book, A Tree in a Forest , Thornhill illustrates every tale, bordering each stylized, pattern-filled drawing with a motif indigenous to the fable's homeland. The stories are told in chain fashion: India's ``Elephant and Hare'' is followed by the West African ``Hare and Tortoise,'' after which comes ``Tortoise and Crane,'' from China. Since each animal is featured in two stories, the different--and similar--ways in which cultures perceive various creatures are ably demonstrated. Many of the tales explain the ``whys'' of animal appearance (e.g., why bears have short tails) while others are moral lessons a la Aesop's Fables . Thornhill's bare-bones narrative style allows the colorful stories to speak for themselves. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink RoffinoFrom nine countries come these short, dynamic animal fables and tales ignited with sharp color, packed with timeless morals. They focus on the contests between the clever and the foolish, a universal theme that has intrigued audiences since Aesop. Thus, the lessons, such as proceeding with caution and treating others with consideration, are common to all with geographical and cultural modifications. Full-page drawings are framed by fabric designs from the country where the story originated.
School Library JournalK-Gr 4-This collection of nine animal folktales does not answer the difficult question of why variants of the same story exist in different cultures, but it does an excellent job of showing the connections between them. These short tales are drawn from the folkloric traditions of India, West Africa, China, Australia, the Middle East, Norway, South America, the American Southwest, and Western Canada. All of them are cleverly linked together-the Indian ``Elephant and Hare'' leads into the West African ``Hare and Tortoise,'' which is followed by the Chinese ``Tortoise and Crane,'' etc. Thornhill's retellings are succinct yet graceful, and are ideal for sharing aloud. Her accomplished, vibrant, full-page gouache illustrations reinforce the varied settings and pay special attention to the stylized textures of the animal and plant life depicted. Each painting is framed by a border inspired by the culture each selection represents. Characters from one story often pop up in a successive tale's illustration, and all of the creatures are featured in the final picture. Thornhill includes a map that indicates the general area in which each selection is found and explains the border patterns, but provides no source notes for her retellings. Nonetheless, this book is a fine addition to folklore and storytelling collections.-Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Janice Del Negroger for reading aloud. These nine animal tales from around the world include familiar variants from such areas as China, Australia, West Africa, and northern Europe. IIlustrated with lustrous, full-page, full-color paintings with borders based on indigenous art from the tale's country of origin, the volume is as attractive as it will be useful. Thornhill's retellings are succinct yet satisfying, and they are suitable for reading as well as telling aloud. The originating country is noted in the subtitle of each tale ("Crow and Fox: A Story from the Middle East"), but no sources are given.
- Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 6 - 8 Years
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