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Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females

Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females

by Robert D. San Souci, Daniel San Souci (Illustrator)
Everyone remembers the exploits of Br'er Rabbit and his cohorts Br'er Fox, Br'er Possum, and other sly characters. But while these tales were circulating among slaves in the southern United States, another set of stories was passed along just as enthusiastically … only here the clever tricksters were female. Who better to tackle the stories of these sister


Everyone remembers the exploits of Br'er Rabbit and his cohorts Br'er Fox, Br'er Possum, and other sly characters. But while these tales were circulating among slaves in the southern United States, another set of stories was passed along just as enthusiastically … only here the clever tricksters were female. Who better to tackle the stories of these sister tricksters than the San Souci brothers? Utilizing a contagiously rhythmic, pitch-perfect dialect, writer Robert gleefully interprets the exploits of Molly Cottontail, Miz Grasshopper, Miz Duck, and Miz Goose against worthy (and not-so-worthy) foes such as Mistah Slickry Sly-fox, Mistah Rooster, and Mistah Bear. Brother Daniel's comically realistic paintings capture the slapstick frenzy of these characters engaged in battles of wits against the rural Southern landscape that nourished the tales in their infancy. These clever females teach readers the importance of courage, resourcefulness and sharing.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Most of us know Anansi, B'rer Rabbit, and other male tricksters, but where are the women? San Souci has found them in these eight rollicking tales of madcap, drawn from Anne Virginia Culbertson's collection At the Big House. Readers meet Molly Hare (sometimes called Molly Cottontail) as she tangles over and over with Slickery Fox (most notably at his staged funeral), but they also will enjoy hearing how Miss Goose convinced Mistuh Bear to sit on a pile of pumpkins (he thinks they are eggs), why grasshoppers are eaten by toads and roosters, and more. Told with a dry wit and a Southern tone, the stories beg to be read aloud and will be enjoyed by young and old. Daniel San Souci's richly colored illustrations at the beginning of each tale humorously hint at what is to come. They are repeated almost as thumbnails after the last story; children will use them as prompts for recalling the stories. The cream-colored endpapers have pencil sketches from the tales as well. This outstanding collection is a must purchase.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-These eight stories, featuring characters like Molly Cottontail, Miz Grasshopper, and Miz Goose, are energetically retold from Anne Virginia Culbertson's long out-of-print At the Big House (Bobbs-Merrill, 1904). The informative introduction states that the motivation for this book is to reintroduce female tricksters who are otherwise sparsely represented in folklore. An occasional pointed statement implies that females are more adept at thinking than males. Tales include an amusing story about Mistah Fox, who pretends to be dead; a humorous pourquoi tale that explains why roosters and toads eat grasshoppers; and a hilarious tale about Mistah Bear, who sits on a pile of pumpkins because Miz Goose convinces him that they are eggs that will hatch the family he so dearly wants. Delicious dialect and expressions convey a rural Southern flavor, yet the text is never hard to read or understand. In one story, Molly Cottontail responds to Mistah Fox, "I know I'm no more to look at these days than a lean crow with a graveyard cough." Stunning, richly colored, detailed, and playful paintings showing animals dressed in lavish finery introduce each lively tale. The illustrations and the large-print text stand out clearly on cream-colored backgrounds. This book warrants a place in all folklore collections.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Females, worthy foes of their male counterparts, are often absent from the body of trickster tales, but in this stellar collection, it's Molly Cottontail (aka Molly Hare) who takes center stage and matches wits with Mistah Slickry Sly-fox. Slickry's staged funeral and his plan to get even with Miz Molly are foiled when she arrives at the funeral and awakens him by throwing a pepper-laced bouquet of flowers on his corpse. Forced to sneeze, Slickry gives chase as Miz Molly is joined by Miz Grasshopper, Miz Duck and Miz Goose, and the rollicking fun takes off through the rest of the tales, eight in all. Full-page luminously colored illustrations introduce each tale as they foreshadow each story's action. The telling is styled in southern droll and perfect for adding to the storyteller's bag. The introduction summarizes the origin of the female trickster tale and helps to make this a first purchase for most libraries. (Folktales. 7-10, adult)

Product Details

August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.11(w) x 11.37(h) x 0.35(d)
1050L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Robert San Souci Bio: Robert San Souci, who was born in San Francisco, raised in Berkeley and attended college at St. Mary's College in Moraga, knew at an early age he wanted to be a writer. His award-winning books were often spirited retellings of folk tales, fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. In an interview, he confessed to his fascination of great stories, "I think I never outgrew my love of fairy tales when I was growing up. I'd save my allowance money and buy used editions of books like The Wizard of Oz and the Rainbow Colored Fairy books. I love science fiction and ghost stories." Among the many celebrated titles, twelve books written by San Souci and illustrated by his younger brother, Daniel San Souci, stood out as his favorites. San Souci was an American Library Association notable author whose work has also been recognized by American Bookseller and the International Reading Association. He collaborated with Daniel on two award winning LittleFolk picture books: As Luck Would Have It and Sister Tricksters. His third award winning book with August House, Zigzag was illustrated by Stefan Czernecki and named to Scholastic Parent & Child magazine’s “Best New Books”.
Daniel San Souci Bio:
Daniel San Souci was born in San Francisco. The family moved across the Bay to Berkeley, where his father was working for the University of California. In the tree-lined Thousand Oaks district, Daniel spent all his waking hours running around the neighborhood with his two brothers and many friends. It was at this time that Daniel discovered the magic of books. "There was real excitement about literature in my family," says Daniel. "When I wasn't outside playing, I could be found on the rug in my room, surrounded by my books." When Daniel started reading on his own, he went right for the "Scribner’s Adventure Classics." His favorite books were Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Boy King Arthur. It was at this time that he discovered the great illustrators, Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth. Daniel started drawing and painting constantly and was soon dreaming of becoming a children’s book illustrator. In high school, Daniel signed up for every available art class. He was also attending the Berkeley Adult School in the evenings. "All the other art students were much older than me," he says. "But they were serious students, very talented and very helpful." Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California. There he had the opportunity to study with many outstanding teachers.

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