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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
"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."
"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."
"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