REVIEWS FROM DECEMBER 2000
of the latest books, audio,
video, and software.
David and Mooney, Bill, eds. More Ready-to-Tell Tales from
Around the World. Little Rock, Ark.: August House, 2000.
256 pp. ISBN 0-87483-592-5, $24.95 (cl); 0-87483-583-6, $14.95
sequel to a previous popular collection is another rich source
aimed at, but not limited to, budding storytellers. It contains
not only brief tales ranging from a paragraph to a few pages but
also background on each story and storyteller and tips on presentation
from veteran storytellers who generously share their "sure-fire"
hits. Chief among the suggestions is that no one merely recites
the stories aloud. Personal adaptations are encouraged, as long
as the new storyteller continues the tradition of sharing the
background of the story.
categories include Comic Tales, Wise Fools, Trickster Tales, How
and Why Tales, and Codes of Conduct, among others. Indexes by
cultural source and recommended audience also enhance the usefulness
of these tales. The cultural source index is an intriguing mixture
in that the entries under North America, for example, include
not only country specifications (the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, etc.)
but also Cajun tradition, Mexican borderland, Pennsylvania Mountains,
Southern Mountains, and Huron People of Quebec. The recommended
audience index is straightforward about general school levels
but also has a category for Mixed Cultures or Immigrant Audiences.
Hoff and Mooney have produced a solid resource for storytellers
in libraries and schools.
Queens College Library
Edna. The Snake Prince and Other Stories: Burmese Folk Tales.
Northampton, Mass.: Interlink, 2000. 240 pp. ISBN 1-56656-313-5,
compiler of this collection follows in the path of other storytellers
who, as children, accompanied their missionary parents abroad,
such as Pearl Buck, Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, and Jean Fritz. Ledgard’s
collection, however, is not a mere retelling of quaint stories
and reminiscences. The hefty introduction offers plenty of cultural
and historical background on the country of Burma, now called
Myanmar, while working in her personal connections from the period
just before World War II.
stories are divided into five sections with introductions to each:
Tales of Wonder and Romance; Crafty Villains, Clever Opponents,
and Fools; Wise Judges and Fair Decisions; Creatures of Jambudipa;
and Jataka Tales. The subdivisions make it easier for storytellers
to choose selections, especially for cross-cultural comparisons.
Each story presentation also contains interesting comments, such
as a suggestion of another story that would go well with it, or
alternative endings. The author appreciates other cultural traditions
that might emphasize "happily ever after" endings or clearly stated
punishments for misdeeds, although she points out that a listener
steeped in Burmese tradition would assume those endings without
the need for hearing them explicitly. Although Burmese have served
as Secretary General of the United Nations (U Thant) and won the
Nobel Peace Prize (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi), little material has
been available about their culture and country. This book will
fill a gap in many collections of folklore, and will also contribute
richly as a social studies resource.
Queens College Library