The stories in this cross-cultural collection emphasize ecological awareness. The text-heavy pages are lightened by vivid illustrations and spot art representing the stories' cultures of origin (an Australian story is illustrated with aboriginal motifs). In keeping with the environmental message, readers are encouraged to create projects offered after each story: instructions to "Make a pinecone birdfeeder" follow a Kazakh tale about freeing captive birds. While the connection between the projects and the stories might feel tenuous, the proactive component is refreshing. Ages 4-10. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-6–This enchanting collection of folk tales and creation myths from different cultures encourages readers to live a more harmonious life with nature. A story from Aboriginal Australia describes how the Sun Mother created each part of the Earth from grass to trees to animals to human beings, instructing the first people to “look after the land for your children.” A Nigerian tale illustrates how one woman’s greed and carelessness concerning natural resources led to her disgrace. Five other selections warn readers of selfishness, exemplify nature’s balance, and praise individuals who have given of themselves nobly in order to protect the environment. Well chosen and crafted with broad appeal, the tales are woven with subtle morals and wisdom. Each story is introduced by a brief overview about the featured locale and culture (source notes are appended) and followed by a related, easy-to-replicate activity or craft. Full-page and spot illustrations and colorful decorative borders reflect the spirit and origins of each offering. Done with collaged papers with acrylic and printed backgrounds, the stylized images depict colorfully clothed people, delightful animals, and delicately rendered flora. Add this handsome book to folk-tale sections and thematic collections intended to encourage children to be good stewards of our Earth.–C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Seven different areas of the earth-Australia, Nigeria, the American Southwest, Bali, Kazakhstan, India and Wales-are represented through folktales celebrating the natural world and the interdependence of living things. An introduction to each tale describes the cultures and beliefs of the peoples, and an ecological activity follows each story. "The Magic Garden" (Kazakhstan), for instance, tells the story of two friends who discover gold together; a wise man recommends that they use the gold to send a young student to "plant the garden of [his] dreams on the steppes." The young man impulsively uses the gold to free birds meant for the Khan's table, and the birds repay him by planting a magic garden. Instructions for making a pinecone birdfeeder follow the tale. Wilson's folk-art designs in cool, earthy colors decorate the pages, and lively borders are particular to each story. A welcome addition to storytelling collections as well as a good choice for children to enjoy by themselves. Sources for the tales are well documented in an annotated bibliography. (introduction) (Folktales. 6-10)