Saturday, December 12, 2015

GREAT stories with STRONG female heroines from Nancy Schimmel's "Just Enough to Make a Story: A Sourcebook for Storytellers." 
WITH THANKS to Nancy Schimmel Just Enough to Make a Story: A Sourcebook for Storytellers (Sisters’ Choice, 1992)  
Ashpet, in Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase. Houghton, 1948.
A Cinderella variant in which Ashpet is a hired hand, earns the grannylady’s magic help, shucks the shoe on purpose, and generally takes things into her own hands. Appalachian. 
Atalanta in Free to Be...You and Me by Marlo Thomas. McGraw, 1974.
A modern retelling of the myth in which Atalanta and Young John tie in the race and become friends. There are also traditional versions in which Atalanta becomes an athlete because her father wanted a son, and it is only with the help of love that any man can win a race against her. 
Baba Yaga in Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome. Viking, 1975.
The little girl sent to the witch’s house uses thoughtfully everything she finds on the way, and thus makes her escape. 
The Barber’s Clever Wife in Fools and Funny Fellows by Phyllis Fenner. Knopf, 1947, o.p.
She dupes a pack of thieves on four occasions and finally bites off the tip of their captain’s tongue. From Tales of the Punjab. 
The Beggar in the Blanket in The Beggar in the Blanket and Other Vietnamese Tales by Gail B. Graham. Dial, 1970.
A woman’s audacious plan convinces her husband that his poor brother is worth more to him than his rich friends. 
Bimwili and the Zimwi retold by Verna Aardema. Dial, 1985.
Playing at the ocean with her sisters, a girl makes up a song about a seashell. On the way home she remembers her shell and returns for it alone. When captured by a loathsome ogre, the girl uses a variation on her song to signal for help. Tanzania. 
The Black Bull of Norroway in More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. Dover, 1967.
Three sisters go out to seek their fortunes; the third rides the black bull and rescues her true love from an evil spell. 
Boadicea...The Warrior Queen, in The World’s Great Stories: 55 Legends That Live Forever by Louis Untermeyer. Lippincott, 1964, o.p.
The legend of England’s ancient heroine. 
Brave Martha and the Dragon, by Susan L. Roth. Dial Books for Young Readers, c1996.
A young girl captures the dragon that has been terrorizing the villagers of Tarascon. Based on a Provençal legend of Saint Martha. 
The Brave Woman and the Flying Head, in Iroquois Stories: Heros and Heroines, Monsters and Magic by Joseph Bruchac. Crossing, 1995. Also in Children Tell Stories by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss. Richard C. Owen, 1990.
A quick-thinking woman saves herself and her small child from the hungry monster. 
Clever Gretchen by John Stewig. Marshall Cavendish, 2000
In order to win Gretchen’s hand in marriage, Hans signs a pact with a goat-footed dwarf; seven years later, Gretchen gets him out of it. 
The Clever Wife, in Sweet and Sour: Tales from China by Carole Kendall and Yao-wen Li. Houghton Mifflin, c. 1979.
Fu-Hsing boasts of his wife’s cleverness, the Magistrate sets her tasks, and she solves them by turning them back on him. 
The Dragon’s Revenge, in Magic Animals of Japan by Davis Pratt. Parnassus, 1967, o.p.
A young man breaks his promise to the woman who loves him; she turns into a dragon and burns him to a crisp. 
Elijah’s Violin, in Elijah’s Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales by Howard Schwartz. Oxford University Press, 1994.
The youngest daughter asks her father to bring her Elijah’s violin, which summons a prince when she plays it. Her jealous sisters drive the prince away, but with the wise woman’s help, she rescues him. 
The Fairy Frog, in Black Fairy Tales by Terry Berger. Macmillan, 1974, o.p. Tombi-Ende is buried alive by her jealous sisters, but she keeps crying out, “I am Tombe-Ende, I am not dead, I am alive like one of you,” and an enchanted frog hears her and saves her. 
The Farmer’s Wife and the Tiger, in The Magic Umbrella and Other Stories for Telling compiled by Eileen Cowell. David McCay, 1976, o.p.
The tiger demands the farmer’s bullocks. The farmer promises his wife’s milk cow instead. The wife tricks the tiger out of both. As retold by Ikram Chugtai in Folktales from Asia, Cultural Center for UNESCO. Pakistan. 
The Five Eggs, in Ride with the Sun: An Anthology of Folk Tales and Stories from the United Nations by Harold Courlander. McGraw-Hill, 1955, o.p.
Juan begs money for five eggs. Juanica cooks them. Each stubbornly claims the right to eat them. Juanica says she’ll die, Juan says go ahead, and the grave is dug before she gives in. But when they get home, she eats three eggs. From Stories From the Americas, collected and translated by Frank Henius. Ecuador, probably of European origin. 
Flossie and the Fox, by Patricia McKissack. Dial, 1986.
The neighbors’ hen house has been cleaned out by a fox, so Flossie Finley is taking them a basket of eggs. When an arrogant old fox chats her up along the way, this self-possessed African-American girl uses her quick wit to drive him to distraction. Author’s adaptation of a family story. 
A Fox Who Was Too Sly, in Magic Animals of Japan by Davis Pratt. Parnassus, 1967, o.p.
The fox tries to trick an old woman but she tricks--and cooks--him. 
The Gay Goss-hawk, in Heather and Broom: Tales of the Scottish Highlands by Sorche Nic Leodhas. Holt, 1960, o.p.
An English lady, prevented by her father from marrying her Scottish laird, carries out a bold plan to rejoin her true love. Retold from a ballad. 
The Ghost’s Bride, in The Rainbow People by Laurence Yep. Harper Collins, 1989.
A brave and clever mother saves her daughter from being the bride of a ghost. China. 
The Girl and the Moon Man: A Siberian tale, retold and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. Pantheon Books, c1984.
A lonely moon unsuccessfully tries to carry a young girl off into the sky. She and her faithful reindeer fend him off, then capture him and win many timeless gifts in exchange for his release. 
The Girl Who Overpowered the Moon, in The Man in the Moon; Sky Tales from Many Lands by Alta Jablow and Carl Withers. Holt, 1969, o.p.
A Chuckchee tale in which a reindeer herder is pursued by the moon. She keeps tricking the moon until he is exhausted and promises to give her people light at night and to measure the year for them. Siberia. 
The Goblin’s Giggle, in The Goblin’s Giggle and Other Stories by Molly Garret Bang. Peter Smith, 1988.
A bride stolen away by goblins is rescued by her mother and a nun. When the goblins drink the river to catch them, they escape by making the goblins laugh. Japan. 
The Husband Who Was to Mind the House, in East of the Sun, West of the Moon by P.C. Asbjornsen. Dover, 1970, o.p. Also in Times for Fairy Tales, Old and New by May Hill Arbuthnot.
A farmer finds that his wife’s work is not so easy as he thinks. 
I’m Tipingee, She’s Tipingee, We’re Tipingee Too, in The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein. Knopf, 1978.
Tipingee organizes her friends to dress like her, so the old man who has come to take her away won’t be able to pick her out. 
The Khan’s Daughter: a Mongolian folktale, by Laurence Yep; illustrated by Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng. Scholastic, c1997
A simple shepherd must pass three tests in order to marry the Khan’s beautiful daughter. The third test is set by the daughter, who wants something besides the strength and bravery her parents demand. 
The King’s True Children, in The Beautiful Blue Jay and Other Tales of India by John W. Spellman. Little, Brown, 1967, o.p.
Jealous older wives send the youngest queen’s two children down the river, where they are rescued and raised by a fisherman and his wife. When grown, the brother follows a quest to a sacred spring, but looks back and is taken by demons. His sister sees that the milk he left has turned blood red and goes to rescue him. She succeeds, and her fame brings her a reunion with their birth parents. 
The Lad in Search of a Fortune, in Cap o’Rushes and Other Folk Tales by Winifred Finlay. Harvey, 1974, o.p.
A farm lad sets out to find a rich man’s daughter and rescue her, but is himself rescued by a wise country lass instead. 
The Legend of Bluebonnet, retold by Tomie de Paola. Putnam, 1983.
The Great Spirits told the Comanche People to sacrifice their most precious possession to end a drought that had killed many, including the parents of one little girl. When the little girl sacrificed a doll made for her by her mother, the Spirits covered the hillsides with bluebonnets and ended the drought. Comanche legend. 
A Legend of Knockmany, in Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. Dover, 1968.
Fin M’Coul is afraid to fight Cuhullin, a bigger giant, so Fin’s wife, Oonagh, tricks Cuhullin. Ireland. Also in a picture book version by Tomie de Paola, Fin M’Coul, the giant of Knockmany Hill. Holiday, 1981. 
The Lion’s Whiskers, in The Lion’s Whiskers: Tales of High Africa by Brent Ashabranner and Russell Davis. Little, Brown, 1959, o.p.
A woman tames a lion in order to win the love of her little stepson. An antidote to all those bad-stepmother stories and a hint about why they exist. Ethiopia. 
The Little Daughter of the Snow, in Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome. Viking, 1975.
For once it is a daughter, not a son, who is longed for. The girl that the old couple make out of snow is active and independent. 
The Little Porridge Pot, in Children Tell Stories by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss. Richard C. Owen, 1990. In More Tales from Grimm by Wanda Gág as “The Sweet Porridge.” Coward-McCann, 1947, o.p.
A wise woman gives a poor girl a magic pot. Her mother forgets the words that make it stop producing porridge, and the town is inundated before the girl arrives to stop it. Germany. 
Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China, retold by Ed Young. Philomel, 1989.
A girl uses her wits to kill a wolf dressed up as Po Po, her grandmother. The author’s dedication thanks “the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol of our darkness.” 
The Magic Wings: a Tale from China, retold by Diane Wolkstein. Dutton, 1983.
The goose girl is determined to grow wings, and after all the women in the country become involved, she does. Also in Joining In, compiled by Teresa Miller (Yellow Moon, 1988) with instructions from Diane on doing it as a participation story. 
Malindy and Little Devil, in Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales told by Virginia Hamilton. Blue Sky, 1995.
Malindy is too little to get the best of the devil the first time they meet, but when he comes back for her soul, she is grown up and fools him with a pun. 
Mary Culhane and the Dead Man, in The Goblin’s Giggle and Other Stories by Molly Garret Bang. Peter Smith 1988.
Mary keeps her wits about her even under the power of a dead man, and wins three pots of gold. Ireland. 
Mirandy and Brother Wind, by Patricia McKissack. Knopf, 1988.
A turn-of-the-century African-American girl is set on dancing with magical, high-steppin’ Brother Wind at the junior cake-walk contest. After confiding her plan to catch the wind to the clumsiest boy in town, she sees there’s another way the wind’s magic can help her. Author’s adaptation of a family story. 
The Moon Princess, in The Beautiful Blue Jay and Other Tales of India by John W. Spellman. Little, Brown, 1967, o.p.
Princess Radha rejects all her suitors; they are vain or stingy or talk about food all the time. She wishes for a husband as beautiful as the moon. The Prince Moon’s emissary comes for her, her grandfather argues with him and the little man starts to pull him up to the moon. Radha goes to his rescue and they all end up on the moon, perfectly happy. 
The Moon’s Escape, in Once in the First Times, Folk Tales from the Philippines by Elizabeth Hough Sechrist. MacRae Smith, 1969, o.p.
A princess fights a giant crab who wants to eat the moon. 
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe. Lothrop, 1987.
A snake is well treated by a young African woman who knows he is good for her garden. He turns out to be a handsome prince. 
Mutsmag, in Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase. Houghton, 1948.
An Appalachian tale similar to “Mollie Whuppie” in which a girl steals a giant’s treasure, but Mutsmag wins gold, not husbands. 
A New Year’s Story, in Tales from a Taiwan Kitchen by Cora Cheney. Dodd, Mead, 1976, o.p.
The young widow Teng saves her child from the terrible dragon ghost; a legend that explains New Year’s customs. 
The Nixie of the Mill Pond, in Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. Various editions. A brave wife rescues her captive husband with the aid of a wisewoman. Germany. 
Odilia and Aldaric, in The Giant at the Ford And Other Legends of the Saints by Ursula Synge. Atheneum, 1980, o.p. Also available on Milbre Burch’s cassette, Saints and Other Sinners (Kind Crone).
A warrior rejects his blind daughter and she is raised in a convent. At baptism she regains her sight. Then begins a contest of wills between equally stubborn father and daughter. Alsace. 
The Old Jar, in The Rainbow People by Laurence Yep. Harper Collins, 1989.
An old woman hangs onto an old jar despite difficulties and seemingly better offers, and the jar supplies her with rice for the rest of her life. China. 
The Origin of the Camlet Flower, in Ride with the Sun: An Anthology of Folk Tales and Stories from the United Nations by Harold Courlander. McGraw-Hill, 1955. Retold from Poesias y Leyendas para los Niños, by Fernán Silva Valdes.
A white girl drowns while trying to save an Indian child. The Indians bring a message from their god that the girl will live on as a water-flower blue as the girls eyes, and it is so. Uruguay. 
The People Who Hugged the Trees: An Environmental Folk Tale, adapted by Deborah Lee Rose. Roberts Rinehart, 1990.
Amrita loves the trees that protect her desert village from sandstorms. When a ruler orders the woods cut, she runs to hug her favorite tree and the other villagers do the same. The ruler is adamant until a sandstorm comes and he sees that the trees are more useful as trees than as a fort. India. 
Princess Maring, the Huntress, in Folk Tales from the Philippines by Dorothy Lewis Robertson. Dodd, 1971, o.p.
The princess falls in love with her father’s enemy while hunting. 
The Prisoner, in The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children’s Literature by May Hill Arbuthnot. 3rd ed. Scott Foresman, 1971,o.p.
A huge fish swallows Rangi when she refuses to marry him. She cuts her way out through the thin flesh of his throat, which is why all fish have gills today. Rarotonga. 
The Rajah’s Rice: A Mathematical Folktale from India, adapted by David Barry. Scientific American Books, c.1994.
When Chandra, the official bather of the Rajah’s elephants, saves them from serious illness, she uses the Rajah’s own chessboard to exact from him a reward more costly than he realizes. 
The Samurai’s Daughter: A Japanese Legend, retold by Robert San Souci. Dial, 1992.
A samurai is banished for an affront to the Mikado. His daughter, seeking him, slays a sea-serpent and finds near it a long-lost statue of the Mikado and restores her father to favor. Also in Animal Folktales around the World by Kathleen Arnott (Walck, o.p.) as “The Slaying of the Sea-Serpent.” 
Savitri and the Lord of the Dead, in The Buried Moon and Other Stories by Molly Bang. Scribners, 1977, o.p.
Savitri, knowing that her husband will die, fasts and meditates. When the Lord of the Dead comes, she can see him, and by her wisdom and cleverness forces him to give back her husband. Also in Homespun: Tales from America’s Favorite Storytellers as retold by Laura Simms (edited by Jimmy Neil Smith for Crown, 1988). 
The Serpent-Slayer, in Sweet and Sour; Tales from China by Carol Kendall and Yao-wen Li. Houghton Mifflin, c. 1979.
Li Chi lures the maiden-eating serpent with rice-balls; it scalds itself in the boiling honey-syrup and she slays it. 
The Shell Woman & the King: A Chinese folktale retold, by Laurence Yep; paintings by Yang Ming-Yi. Dial Books, 1993.
To save herself and her husband from an evil king, Shell agrees to bring him three wonders. The third lets us know that she is clever as well as magical. 
The Skull, in The Book of Ghosts and Goblins by Ruth Manning-Sanders. Dutton, 1973, o.p.
An orphan girl de-haunts and wins a castle by defending a skull from the skeleton that wants to steal it. I prefer to leave the little girl with the castle, playmates and servants she has won from the skeleton. She doesn’t need--and the story doesn’t need--the promise of a prince later. Tyrolian. 
Slue-Foot Sue and Pecos Bill, in Larger Than Life: John Henry and Other Tall Tales by Robert San Souci. Doubleday, 1991.
Slue-Foot rides a giant catfish, but when she tries wearing a bustle she gets into trouble. 
Spin, Weave, Wear, in Heather and Broom: Tales of the Scottish Highlands by Sorche Nic Leodhas. Holt, 1960, o.p.
This starts like Rumplestiltskin, but the lass pays in advance for the magic, and strikes a better bargain. 
The Squire’s Bride, in Children Tell Stories by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss. Richard C. Owen, 1990. Also in Norwegian Folk Tales by Peter Asbjornsen. Pantheon, 1982. Also published separately, o.p.
The wealthy squire won’t take “no!” for an answer, so the farmer’s daughter makes him look ridiculous. The Children Tell Stories version leaves out the ageist aspect. 
The Story of Oskus-ool and His Wise Wife, in How the Moolah Was Taught a Lesson and Other Tales from Russia by Estelle Titiev and Lila Pargment. Dial, 1976, o.p.
Oskus-ool wins wealth and a wife from the old wolf. The wife’s beauty draws the envy of the Khan’s son, but her wisdom and knowledge of magic protect her. Tuvin. 
Strega Nona: An Old Tale, retold by Tomie de Paola. Simon & Schuster, c. 1975.
The good witch’s apprentice uses the forbidden pot and inundates the town with pasta. The townspeople want to string him up, but Strega Nona says, “Let the punishment fit the crime,” and makes him eat all the pasta. Italy. 
The Talking Eggs, retold by Robert San Souci. Dial, 1989.
The sister who shows neither fear nor amusement at the old woman’s magic is rewarded. African-American. 
Tamlane, in More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. Dover, 1967.
Burd Janet rescues Tamlane from the fairies by holding him as they change him into one frightening thing after another. Retold from the ballad. British Isles. Also separately as Tam Lin: an old ballad, retold by Jane Yolen. Harcourt, 1990. 
This Time, Tempe Wick, by Patricia Lee Gauch. Coward, McCann, 1974.
During the American Revolutionary War, a girl named Tempe Wick helped Washington’s army as best she could. But hungry soldiers eventually mutinied, and tried to steal her horse. Tempe responded with cunning, then with force, to keep what was hers. Based on a legend from Jockey Hollow, New Jersey. 
The Three Little Eggs, in Black Fairy Tales by Terry Berger. Atheneum, 1969, o.p.
In this Swazi tale from South Africa, a woman takes her two children and leaves the husband who mistreats her. With the advice of magical eggs she finds, she defeats monsters and finds a new home. 
The Three Spinners, in More Tales from Grimm by Wanda Gág. Coward, McCann, 1947, o.p.
An unskilled girl is forced to spin. Three old women offer magic help if she promises to invite them to her wedding. She does, and they explain their various deformities as the result of spinning. The groom forbids her to spin. Germany. There is also a Scandinavian version. 
Three Strong Women: a Tale from Japan, retold by Claus Stamm. Viking, 1990.
On his way to wrestle for the Emperor, Forever-Mountain tickles a young woman he sees on the road. She won’t let his hand free. Her mother and grandmother are even stronger, and he learns a bit about wrestling. Also retold by Irene Hedlund as Mighty Mountain and the Three Strong Women, Volcano Press, 1990. 
Two Old Women’s Bet, in Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase. Houghton, 1948.
They bet on which one can make a bigger fool out of her husband. One convinces her spouse he is dead, the other makes hers a suit like the one in “ The Emperor’s New Clothes. ” Appalachian. 
Umai, in The Inland Whale by Theodora Kroeber. U of California Press, c. 1959.
A Yurok legend in which the lake girl canoes to the ocean and meets the shining girl of the sunset. Native American. 
Vasilisa and Prince Vladimir, in Tales from atop a Russian Stove by Janet Higonnet-Schnopper. Whitman, 1973, o.p.
Vasilisa, disguised as a man, wins her husband’s freedom by beating the Prince’s troops in wrestling and archery and the Prince in chess. Version in Andrew Lang’s Violet Fairy Book (Dover) has queen rescuing husband by playing the lute. 
Vassilisa the Wise: A tale of medieval Russia, retold by Josepha Sherman; illustrated by Daniel San Souci. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1988.
A clever and beautiful woman uses her wits to get her husband out of Prince Vladimir’s prison. 
A Weave of Words retold by Robert San Souci. Orchard Books, 1998.
A prince’s proposal of marriage is refused by a young peasant woman because he doesn’t know a trade and can’t read. He comes to her for weaving lessons, learns to read, and after their marriage teaches her to ride and use a sword. When the prince is kidnapped by a monster it’s his ability to weave that saves him from immediate death and his ability to write that allows him to get word to his wife of his whereabouts. She dons armor and leads the palace soldiers in battle to defeat the monster and save her husband. Armenian. Thanks to one of our site visitors. I’d heard it before, but didn’t know it was out in a picture book. Good story, and I like the class angle as well as the feminist message. 
Wild Goose Lake in Heaven’s Reward: Fairy tales from China, retold by Catherine Edwards Sadler; illustrated by Cheng Mung Yun. Atheneum, 1985, o.p.
A girl sets out to find the key that will unlock the waters of the mountain lake and end the drought in her valley. She gets it by singing. 
Wild Robin, retold by Susan Jeffers. Dutton, 1976.
Willful Robin gets a well-deserved scolding, runs away, and falls under the spell of the fairy people. A dream shows his sister Janet how to save Robin, and she does so. A “Tamlane” for younger children. British Isles. 
Wiley, His Mama, and the Hairy Man, in The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton. Knopf, 1985.
A brave boy and his calm and tricky mama fool the Hairy Man three times. 
Winter Rose, in The Milky Way and Other Chinese Folk Tales by Adet Lin. Harcourt, 1961, o.p.
Two sisters, searching for rose petals to cure their sick mother, fall into the clutches of a wizard, but trick him and escape with the roses. 
The Wise Old Woman, in The Sea of Gold and Other Tales from Japan by Marianne Yamaguchi. Creative Arts, 1988.
The lord of a village orders all people over seventy-one killed but a farmer hides his old mother and it is she who solves an invader’s riddles and saves the village. The lord removes his edict. Also a picture book, McElderry, 1994. 
The Wood Fairy, in Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Czechoslovakia by Virginia Haviland. Little, Brown, 1966, o.p.
A wood fairy entices a girl to dance and the girl’s neglected work is done by magic. 
The Young Head of the Family, in The Fairy Ring by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Doubleday, o.p.
A Chinese story of a girl who knows how to carry fire in paper (a lantern) and wind in paper (a fan). Her widowed father-in-law designates her head of the family and she leads it to prosperity. Different versions in The Milky Way by Adet Lin (Harcourt, o.p.), With A Deep Sea Smile by Virginia Tashjian (Little, 1974) and Tales People Tell in China by Robert Wyndham (o.p.). Not all have the head-of-family conclusion. 
Goddesses
The Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies include many well-known stories about goddesses. Here are a few from other cultures. 
The Buried Moon, in More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. Dover, c. 1904. Also published separately in a retelling by Margaret Hodges. Little, Brown, 1990.
The moon rescues a man from the Evil Things in the Carland Bog, but is herself captured. With the Wise Woman’s guidance, the villagers rescue her. 
The Fairy of Hawili Falls, in Folk Tales from the Philippines by Dorothy Lewis Robertson. Dodd, 1971, o.p.
The “fairy goddess” of the woods falls in love with a man who sees the beauty in nature. 
The Living Kuan-Yin, in Sweet and Sour: Tales from China by Carol Kendall and Yao-wen Li. Houghton, c.1979.
The goddess answers three questions for each pilgrim, but the generous Chin Po-wan promises three answers to those he meets along the way. How will he get an answer to his own question? 
Song of Sedna, retold by Robert San Souci. Doubleday, 1981.
The legend of an Inuit woman becoming goddess of the sea. 
Animal Tales
The Cock, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen, retold by Lorinda B. Cauley. Putnam, 1982.
The hen rescues her lazy housemates from the fox. 
The Five Little Foxes and the Tiger, in Animal Folktales from Around the World by Kathleen Arnott. Walck, 1971, o.p.
Mrs. Fox saves herself and Mr. Fox from the tiger by using her wits, and brings her conceited husband down a peg at the same time. Bangladesh. 
The Little Red Hen, retold by Margot Zemach. Farrar, 1983. Another version retold by Paul Galdone. Houghton 1979. English/Spanish edition by Letty Williams. Prentice, 1969.
She will not share the bread with those who refused to help make it. England. 
Nine-in-One Grr! Grr! A Folktale from the Hmong People of Laos, by Blia Xiong. Children’s Book Press, 1989.
“That’s terrible!” squawked Bird. “If Tiger has nine cubs each year, they will eat all of us!” What can Bird do to preserve nature’s balance? 
Two Donkeys, in The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein. Knopf, 1978.
Two donkeys change themselves into people for better treatment, but the jenny gets absorbed in housework and forgets to become herself again. 
The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, in Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. Various editions.
The mother goat saves her kids and kills the wolf. 


Sunday, December 6, 2015


Remember what it was like to play pretend? If you’ve forgotten, read The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh. The Mennyms are rag dolls who live on a quiet street somewhere in England. They’re like any family, except they live a life of pretend. The rag doll Mrs. Quigley stays in the hall closet until it’s time for her weekly visit. When Mother Vinetta prepares tea, and the family just pretends to nibble at cookies. Then one day, a letter from Australia arrives. The new landlord is coming for a visit, wanting to meet the family who have rented the family house for 40 years. By reading The Mennyms, I remember what it is like to be human, and even better, what it is like to play pretend.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ever want to know what a six-year-old thinks? Read the Dory books by Abby Hanlon. Dory, aka Rascal, lives in a world of imaginary friends and monsters.
There is Mr. Nuggy, a fairy godmother who communicates by banana, and there is Mary, a cross between a Sendak wild thing and a puppy, (or is it a bear cub?) There are  monsters: a sock monster, closet monster, toilet monster, and more. None of them are the least bit frightening, except for Mrs. Gobble Gracker, who does such a terrible things like eat popcorn with your family when you’re in a "time out."
The narrative is easy to follow, aided by comic artwork and predictive actions.
For under six year olds, it might help for the adult reader to explain how the cartoon artwork adds to the story. Older kids won’t have any trouble, though.
This is a great pick for kids who love the Ramona Books, Ivy and Bean, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I have a new category of books: COZY YA. There’s no mayhem or murder. My first pick is The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Newberry Award winner). It’s the 1900’s in America. Joan runs away from the farm and her brutish Father. Through luck and pluck, Joan gains a position as a hired girl in a wealthy Jewish family in Baltimore. It’s a book of firsts; the wonders of city living, the life of a Reformed Jewish family, and love. Those are the bones of the story, but there is so much more to it. Reading The Hired Girl took me back to the first time I was swept away by a book. Think of the Little House Books, or The Little Princess or Enchanted Garden. That’s what The Hired Girl did for me.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Summer of the Gypsy Moths
By Sara Pennypacker

It’s might be the worst summer vacation, ever, for Stella.
It’s not because her irresponsible mother wanders off, again, and leaves her with her aunt Louise. Or that Stella and her aunt’s foster child, Angel, loathe each other. Maybe it’s because Stella will have to help her Aunt manage and clean summer beach cottages.

It’s possibly the worst summer vacation ever because one day Stella and Angel come home from school and finds her aunt dead in her recliner chair. If she reports the death, both Stella and Angel will be dumped into the foster care system. How can they manage the summer cottages alone? How can they fool the entire town into thinking Aunt Louise is still alive?
Junior High and up.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Leroy Ninker Saddles up
By Kate DiCamillo
Il. By Chris Van Dusen

Pick this for an early chapter book and predictive reading.
There's Perfect comedic timing,
punchline funny characters
Hilarious artwork
And a tender story.
Tiny Leroy Ninker wants a horse
He can't be a cowboy without one.
The fact that he has no money, no ranch, doesn't stop him.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Jeremy Draws a Monster
By Peter McCarty


Jeremy’s too shy to make friends. Fortunately, he's clever, though and draws one. Unfortunately, who happens to be a monster. Unfortunately, Jeremy discovers that a monster does what a monster wants to do. He orders Jeremy around and is a thoroughly disagreeable guest. Fortunately, Jeremy is clever. Does a drawing of a bus ticket and suitcase tell you how the story ends?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Books can be funny, but make my stomach hurt from laughing? Not too many do that. But, I just found one. Mr.Puffball, even as a kitten, knows his destiny is to be a Hollywood Star. He makes his way to Hollywood and suffers disappointment and despair. But, with the help from Hollywood veterans he makes his way first as an extra, then as a stunt cat and then as an understudy. Will Mr. P “break a leg?”  Not yet. More ridiculously funny mishaps await him.  It’s aimed at the kids’ market, but the sly humor tickles grownups, too. The line drawings add extra giggles as you read. A great pick for reluctant readers.


Books can be funny, but make my stomach hurt from laughing? Not too many do that. But, I just found one. Mr.Puffball, even as a kitten, knows his destiny is to be a Hollywood Star. He makes his way to Hollywood and suffers disappointment and despair. But, with the help from Hollywood veterans he makes his way first as an extra, then as a stunt cat and then as a understudy. Will Mr. P “break a leg?”  Not yet. More ridiculously funny mishaps await him.  It’s aimed at the kids’ market, but the sly humor tickles grownups, too. The line drawings add extra giggles as you read. A great pick for reluctant readers.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Some picture books can be face-timed across country. Some can’t. The artwork is so detailed, so compelling, that you must read it close up. It’s a lap book.
Why Dogs have Wet Noses by Kenneth Steven and illustrated by Oywind Torsetter is one.

Noah’s ark sails through seas until a chestnut size hole appears in its side. What to do? Luckily, Noah ‘s dog has a big black nose, the perfect size for plugging a leak. Close up and personal, you see animal antics in the background that make reading it a delight.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


                 The Juniper Tree: And Other Tales from Grimm


I've been following the blog, Brain Pickings, and am discovering new and old books that are great for kids. This is the latest.The late great Maurice Sendak as illustrator with the never matched Grimm Brothers.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Book about Moomin. Mymble, and Little My
Tove Jansson
English translation by Sophie Hannah
The Moomintroll, the Gaffsie, the Hemulen, the Fillywonk, and, course, Little My and Mymble. Poor little Moomin troll is trying to take a pail of milk home. But one things leads to another and… Ha! I know what you’re thinking. What are these things? Why should I care? These characters make up the world of Tove Jansson, the brilliant Swedish writer for children. Her books are clever, funny, and not at all scary, even though she peoples them with odd creatures. This book has cutouts that encourage kids to guess what happens next in the story. Take a look at the cover. It’s a hint of the fun that waits within.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A while ago, I mentioned the recent discovery of 50 fairy tales that rivaled Grimm, Andersen and Perrault. Franz Xaver von Schönwerth journeyed through Bavaria, recording the fairy tales he heard in the 1850's. They stayed, unread, unknown, in boxes in a German city archive. A few year ago, they were discovered. And in February, they were translated into English.
Here's the book's information.
Series: Penguin Classics
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (February 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143107429
ISBN-13: 978-0143107422
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches I just ordered a copy and cannot wait to read it! If you're a fairy tale lover, I don't know how you'll pass it up.