When the World Began: Stories Collected in Ethiopia

When the World Began: Stories Collected in Ethiopia

by Elizabeth Laird
     
 


The classic stories of our childhood--"Cinderella," "The Sleeping Beauty," Little Red Riding Hood"--exist only in books today, but they started their lives as oral tales told from one generation to the next. In Ethiopia, however, great treasuries of fairy tales still live in people's heads and have never been written down. Old people sit together in the evenings… See more details below

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Overview


The classic stories of our childhood--"Cinderella," "The Sleeping Beauty," Little Red Riding Hood"--exist only in books today, but they started their lives as oral tales told from one generation to the next. In Ethiopia, however, great treasuries of fairy tales still live in people's heads and have never been written down. Old people sit together in the evenings and tell each other stories that were already old a hundred years ago.
Elizabeth Laird--a winner of the Reader's Choice award and the Children's Book award--spent two years traveling around Ethiopia and collecting the tales in this anthology. She was told stories by Muslims in the hot, dry deserts of the East; Christians from the cool, central Highlands; and people from even older religions from the warm, humid South. The different faiths and cultures are reflected in the stories, with their varying notions of God, heaven, and the spirit world. You will enjoy the funny stories with a twist, the exciting adventure stories of brave warriors and hunters, the clever stories of cunning and trickery, along with stories about ogres and kings and merchants and farmers and animals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Twenty pourquoi tales, myths, and extended jokes paint a picture of a vibrant culture, open to the world around it.... The fluid recountings read aloud or tell equally well.... Deep-hued oil pastels and jewel-toned watercolors have a sense of volume and heft.... well-rounded collection... A solid addition to most folktale collections."--School Library Journal

Children's Literature
The author traveled extensively in Ethiopia and requests that, "When you read these stories, imagine how they've always been told. Think of those dark African nights, when mothers and fathers sit in their huts, the door closed against the hyenas and leopards that prowl in the darkness outside. They look down into the red glow of the fire and draw the children close under their soft, white shawls. Then the storytelling begins." This advice helps the reader to gain a further understanding of the stories and their appeal to those who have been telling or listening to them over the years. Such tales always benefit from a spirited telling by an inspired storyteller, but this brightly illustrated book contains a number of stories that hold the reader's interest. Some may seem familiar, showing that the basis of folktales is often the same in different cultures. There are stories of sons and daughters vying for their parents' affection and legacies and stories of trickery and deceit, as well as stories of bravery and triumph. 2000, Oxford University Press, Ages 8 to 12, $25.00. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Twenty pourquoi tales, myths, and extended jokes paint a picture of a vibrant culture, open to the world around it. The title story tells how people stole the gift of dominance from God's favorite creature, the buffalo, and is followed by selections that explain such things as how the tortoise got her shell, how one might best depose a tyrant, and how arrogance and pride are answered. Some stories are reminiscent of Aesop and some of Perrault. The fluid recountings read aloud or tell equally well. Folktale enthusiasts who prefer to read their stories will find the tales extended by the work of four artists. Deep-hued oil pastels and jewel-toned watercolors have a sense of volume and heft, while the realistic pen-and-ink vignettes that accompany some endings add reality and grounding. Other stories are illustrated with cut-paper cartoons, accentuating their humor. This well-rounded collection could be used with multicultural offerings like Virginia Hamilton's In the Beginning (Harcourt, 1988) or as a springboard for Ted Hughes's slightly more sophisticated and tongue-in-cheek Tales of the Early World (Farrar, 1991). A solid addition to most folktale collections.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780192745354
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/01/1900
Series:
Myths and Legends Series
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

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