Outfoxing Fear: Folktales from Around the World by Kathleen Ragan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Outfoxing Fear: Folktales from Around the World

Outfoxing Fear: Folktales from Around the World

by Kathleen Ragan
     
 

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“Kathleen Ragan is a contemporary Scheherazade.”—Jack Zipes
Humans of all eras and cultures have lived with fear—whether fear of becoming jaguar prey, of being besieged by Vikings, or of nuclear holocaust. For millennia we have created folktales to help us transform this fear into action, into a solution, into hope. Kathleen Ragan, editor

Overview

“Kathleen Ragan is a contemporary Scheherazade.”—Jack Zipes
Humans of all eras and cultures have lived with fear—whether fear of becoming jaguar prey, of being besieged by Vikings, or of nuclear holocaust. For millennia we have created folktales to help us transform this fear into action, into a solution, into hope. Kathleen Ragan, editor of the anthology Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters, scoured the globe and collected these sixty-three tales that respond to fear in its wide variety of incarnations. From the old Japanese woman who tricks the tengu monster to the bluebird who uses the Chinook Wind to teach her mother compassion, Outfoxing Fear is a "satisfyingly pointed and ingenious" (Kirkus Reviews) collection of positive, even utopian, folktales arranged thematically around topics such as the nature of fear and courage and the importance of laughter.

Editorial Reviews

Ruth B. Bottigheimer
“A first-rate thematic anthology, Outfoxing Fear communicates a healing humor, excellent for home reading and classroom study.”
Curled Up with a Good Book
“Outstanding.”
Kirkus Reviews
Ragan's second anthology of folktales (ed., Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters, 1998) contains 64 brief narratives that, judging by the personal essays introducing each section, she hopes will exemplify ingenuity and courage. Unfortunately, her uneven selection makes folktales seem all too often violent, unclear or inconclusive. This is not a terrible book, but less than it could have been, given the fleeting glimpses we have of its editor's best nature. A handful of these tales are satisfyingly pointed and ingenious. In "The Ghost of Farnell," a young woman learns she has been safely escorted across a dark moorland by the very specter she feared. The clever heroine of "The Lady and the Unjust Judge" shrewdly reads human nature to help a poor man win justice. Many, however, are just plain lame, or seem totally unrelated to the topics Ragan establishes. The brief, drab "Canadian-Icelandic" story, "Girl Learns to Write by Practicing on Frozen Pond," which appears under the chapter heading "Desperate Courage," is simply an account of a child's tracing her father's name in the snow covering a frozen pond. There is no particular element of courage or even surprise, since the title gives the game away. Although this is billed as a volume for all ages, parents of young children will find "Still Another Spook" crudely violent, to little purpose: Within just two pages, the Spook in question is burnt, scalded, shot, chopped into pieces with a machete and impaled on a sharpened stake that "went up his ass and came out his mouth." And although there are footnotes to explain foreign terms deemed untranslatable, including many that have passed into common English, such as "keening" and"vizier," many odd words go unexplained. When a lass sleeps on the "hurdle" of a house, it's hard to guess where she is, and "Long ago the Lincolnshire Cars were full of bogs" holds a meaning of "cars" mysterious to most. A disappointing collection.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393329322
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/05/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,049,350
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Ragan is the author of Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters and Outfoxing Fear. She has lived in or traveled to fifty countries and currently lives in Australia.

Jack Zipes (Ph.D. Columbia University) is a Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his scholarly work on children’s literature, he is an award-winning storyteller in public schools and has worked with various children’s theaters. His major publications include Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter (2000), Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry (1997), Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale (1994), The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World (1988), and Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion: The Classical Genre for Children and the Process of Civilization (1983).

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