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June Favorite Folktales

By on June 6, 2013

When you collect, borrow, purchase and read books as a part of your family life, you communicate to your child that books are interesting, important, and fun! Below is a selection of folk tales and retellings of familiar stories with a new twist. You and your child may want to write a variation of one of your favorites. Try it!

by Meribeth Shank

Three Ninja Pigs

ninjapigsby Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat.

Putnam, $16.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

In this fractured version of The Three Little Pigs, the Japanese porkers go to Ninja school to learn aikido, jujitsu, and karate. Confident, the first two end training early. This leaves them open to attack by the wolf. He chases them to the house of their sister – who has kept on – and earned her black belt. She displays her skill, frightening the wolf, who escapes. Newly determined, the brothers successfully finish their training and the three set up their own dojo. Using Sumi brushwork on rice paper, the artist completes his work in Photoshop. His skills as a Disney animator are evident in matching his full color, double page action packed illustrations with the smartly crafted rhyming verse. At the end is a glossary of martial arts terms.

Tortuga in Trouble

tortugaby Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by Ethan Long.

Holiday House, $16.95 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Little River, Miami Lakes, North Dade Regional)

Tortuga’s (turtle) friends, Conejo (rabbit), Culebra (snake) and Iguana help him load a basket of goodies (salad, tamales and flan) on his back. He’s on his way to Abuela’s (Granma’s) for supper. They follow him, watching as he meets up with hungry Coyote. They warn him, but he is not worried. In the meantime, Coyote has captured Abuela, and dressed in her clothes. After the three clever friends rescue Tortuga and Abuela, they all share the delicious supper together. Florida cartoonist Long uses gouache and colored pencils to show motion and emotion in this desert southwest version of Red Riding Hood. His bright oranges, yellows and greens are paired with humorous text dusted with Spanish words. A glossary is included at the front.

 

The Wooden Sword

woodenswordby Ann Redisch Stampler, illustrated by Carol Liddiment.

Albert Whitman, $16.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

Presenting a kind view of the war torn nation, this old Afghani tale begins with a Shah who wears disguises to observe his people. He meets a happy shoemaker who shares even from his small meal. The Shah decides to secretly test the man’s happiness. New laws the Shah creates make it hard for the shoemaker to earn wages. However, each time, the shoemaker happily finds new work as a water carrier, woodcutter, and royal guard. That is, until he becomes executioner, and must cut off a thief’s head. The Shah is – and readers will be – delighted with the poor man’s quick thinking. Colorful rugs, beautiful wall hangings, detailed robes and traditional turbans are contrasts to sandy streets, simple mud-brick buildings and far-away mountains. The artist has created a convincing setting to accompany the fast-paced and carefully researched retelling of this ethnic tale. See Author’s Note for added background.

 

Miss Sally Ann and the Panther

sallyannretold by Bobbi Miller, illustrated by Megan Lloyd.

Holiday House, $16.95 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 3 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

Miss Sally Ann is a frontier wonder woman – she can rope a hurricane, blow out the moonlight, and she’s a great one for adventure. Her best one is a meet up with giant Fireeyes, the “mean-as-tarnation” panther. Each notices the other’s fine coat and wants it to keep warm in winter. They wrestle through day and night, and into the next morning. When they finally stop fighting long enough to become “great and glorious friends” – because they have more to gain by working together – the ending is a win for both. Tall-tale teller Miller uses exciting words – like thunderferous, terrifiacious, conbobberation – to delight young readers and adults alike. Well-known illustrator Lloyd paints with acrylics in strong colors to show huge size in full-page spreads. She uses logs as a frame, which can’t always contain the energy of the wrangle. But she does capture the strength of the panther and the wildness of Miss Sally Ann’s grand life.

Choose more great folk tales from this list!

Tiger and Turtle by James Rumford.  Roaring Brook Press, $17.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Grades 1-3 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

The Three Bully Goats by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Will Terry. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Will Terry. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books)

Jonah’s Whale by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri. Eerdmans, $16 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books and Books online)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, teaches classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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