The Singing Top: Tales from Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei
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The Singing Top: Tales from Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei

by Margaret Read MacDonald
     
 

Until now, few tales from Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore have made their way into print in English. Renowned folklorist Margaret Read MacDonald has worked with archival material as well as with local storytellers to collect traditional tales from these people, including 15 tales from the ethnic peoples of Borneo. Organized broadly by region, and then by specific

Overview

Until now, few tales from Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore have made their way into print in English. Renowned folklorist Margaret Read MacDonald has worked with archival material as well as with local storytellers to collect traditional tales from these people, including 15 tales from the ethnic peoples of Borneo. Organized broadly by region, and then by specific groups and themes, this book offers more than 50 tales, including animal tales, stories of magic, trickster tales, humorous stories, place legends, and more. Like other titles in the World Folklore series, it also includes general information about the geography, peoples, and history of the Malay Peninsula and surrounding areas; as well as proverbs, songs and games, color photos, and notes on the stories. All levels.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"MacDonald, who has more than a passing interest in Southeast Asia and its rich folk traditions, and is no stranger to Southeast Asian culture, has compiled a nice sampling of folktales from all over peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Singapore." - Southeast Asian Collection Blog

"This fine collection will appeal to tellers, teachers/librarians, and students from upper elementary school to university. It is also a serious and scholarly study of folklore from this area of the Far East. MacDonald offers information about the countries, explanations of the stories, and source materials for further enrichment. Arranged by country and by type of folklore, the tales include traditional motifs: origins, animals, magic, humor, rivalry, tricksters, heroes, morals, manners, adventures, plus myths, legends, proverbs, songs, and games. Most are easy to read and moderately easy to tell. Many characters and stories transcend national borders. For example, Kancil the Mouse Deer, a trickster here, will seem as familiar as Anansi and Brer Rabbit. Yet, the geography of these lands, open to seas and trade routes from far and wide, lends a unique flavor to these stories. Unfortunately, the quality of the maps that accompany each selection is disappointing. Otherwise, this is a rich addition." - School Library Journal

"The unusual collection of traditional tales, including proverbs, songs, and games, is the personal work of renowned storyteller MacDonald, who has long assisted in editing other titles in the World Folklore Series. Suitable for all levels, the volume is a good addition to folk and fairy tale collections for young people. An appendix gives notes on the sources of the tales, and the index is detailed." - VOYA

"The book doesn't necessarily fulfill all the scholarly requirements for academic fieldwork, but the tales are documented well and presented in a way that will engage young readers. MacDonald is a fine storyteller herself, and her voluminous publications on storytelling will provide teachers with a wealth of ideas for using this fine collection in the classroom. It's questionable, however, whether or not all of the written texts will appeal to children." - Journal of Folklore Research

"MacDonald does her typical wonderful job of introducing the places where her stories originate. Simple but clear maps are included that enable her to comment on her visits to the region. She also makes clear that she is not inventing the stories but passing along what she heard and giving credit to those who shared with her. This time she also includes photographs of her travels and of some of the storytellers; these photos clearly enhance the stories. The stories covered range from trickster tales and humorous stories to fables and legends. Although the subtitle of this book mentions 'tales' specifically, this work also includes proverbs and children's songs and games. The appendices add more icing to the cake with source notes, more suggested books, and even a glossary. In all, The Singing Top is a very rich resource for storytellers." - MultiCultural Review

School Library Journal

This fine collection will appeal to tellers, teachers/librarians, and students from upper elementary school to university. It is also a serious and scholarly study of folklore from this area of the Far East. MacDonald offers information about the countries, explanations of the stories, and source materials for further enrichment. Arranged by country and by type of folklore, the tales include traditional motifs: origins, animals, magic, humor, rivalry, tricksters, heroes, morals, manners, adventures, plus myths, legends, proverbs, songs, and games. Most are easy to read and moderately easy to tell. Many characters and stories transcend national borders. For example, Kancil the Mouse Deer, a trickster here, will seem as familiar as Anansi and Brer Rabbit. Yet, the geography of these lands, open to seas and trade routes from far and wide, lends a unique flavor to these stories. Unfortunately, the quality of the maps that accompany each selection is disappointing. Otherwise, this is a rich addition.-Judy Sokoll, Florida Storytelling Association, Naples

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591585053
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/30/2008
Series:
World Folklore Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Read MacDonald is an award-winning and internationally renowned author, storyteller, folklorist, and children's librarian. She has written or edited more than 50 books, and she teaches storytelling at University of Washington Information School and Lesley University. MacDonald has performed bilingual, tandem telling in the States and throughout the world with many listeners who speak little or no English.

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