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Vampire Bugs: Stories Conjured from the Past
     

Vampire Bugs: Stories Conjured from the Past

by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
 
Beware of conjurers and voodoo queens! In their wake, strange things happen. Witches shrink to the size of peas, and children are transformed into bugs or birds. But if fear hides in the folds of the voodoo queen's cloak, so does power. Conjure women and conjure men—versed in spells and potions to cure any ill—were once familiar figures in America. The

Overview

Beware of conjurers and voodoo queens! In their wake, strange things happen. Witches shrink to the size of peas, and children are transformed into bugs or birds. But if fear hides in the folds of the voodoo queen's cloak, so does power. Conjure women and conjure men—versed in spells and potions to cure any ill—were once familiar figures in America. The occupation has dwindled, but the fascination remains. Their feats live on in folktales and history.

Vampire Bugs presents an assortment of funny and frightening magicians and an array of young heroes and heroines. Both provocative and entertaining, these stories will give readers the opportunity to reflect on their fears and on their own power.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-7-Six original, eclectic short tales inspired by history and elements of African American and Native American folklore. The title story is a creation myth about the genesis of lightning bugs; other selections cover a diverse range of subjects, including Lakota religious rituals (``Ghost Dancer'') and life in the days of slavery (``Little Mose''). ``The Voodoo Queen'' is a fascinating introduction to Marie Laveau, a real-life 19th-century New Orleans figure. ``Akiba's Singing Water'' is based on the legendary late-18th century mass suicide of Ibo slaves on St. Simons' Island, GA. Finally, ``Tale of the Golden Ball'' is a fable about the folly of wishing for riches. Of particular note is the author's smooth incorporation of historical facts into the stories. An evocatively eerie, full-page, black-and-white illustration accompanies each piece. Definitions for unfamiliar terms are included; sources are discussed in an appendix. A lengthy bibliography is provided, and titles for young readers are marked with an asterisk. An excellent choice for fans of the supernatural.-Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Mary Romano Marks
Combining fiction and adaptation, this uneven collection of six tales "inspired by folktale, legend, and history" will appeal to children fascinated with the mysterious and the scary. Following the oral tradition of African-American storytellers, Wyeth offers an assortment of unusual characters, ranging from a buffalo soldier's ghost to a voodoo queen. Readers, storytellers, and teachers seeking additional tales or variants of traditional ones will find the inclusion of source notes and a bibliography extremely handy. A suitable addition to fiction and folklore collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385320825
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/01/1995
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.51(d)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Vampire Bugs

Akiba Yaeger was eleven years old when she met one of the spirits of Singing
Creek. All her life she'd been standing on the back porch listening. Listening
to the twisting water below.

"What are you doing, child?" asked Grandfather.

"Oh, nothing," said Akiba, "just listening."

Grandfather was quiet a minute. Sunlight bounced on the water. "Well, I'm
listening, too," he said, "but I don't hear anything."

"Don't you hear it?" Akiba said, closing her eyes. "Don't you hear the song
in the water?"

Grandfather shoved Akiba's schoolbooks into her hands. "I don't hear nothing,"
he said, "because there's nothing to hear. That song in the creek business
is just an old tale."

"But I can hear it in my ear," argued Akiba.

Grandfather lifted an eyebrow. "Well, since you're so smart, just what is
the song the creek is singing?"

Akiba shrugged. "I can't make out the words. All that I hear is burble,
burble.
But I know folks are singing in there."

——-from "Akiba's Singing Water"

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