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Nursery Tales Around the World Hardcover – February 18, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

Eighteen nursery tales from many cultures are presented in carefully-crafted versions perfect for the young listener. Sierra's translations are sensitive both to the imagination of the child and the cultural origins of the stories, and Vitale's illustrations are rendered in a warm folk-art style. Enjoyable listening and looking for everyone, and fascinating reading for ages 8 and up.

From Publishers Weekly

Innovatively conceived and exquisitely executed, this sumptuous collection of 18 tales is a surefire crowd-pleaser. While presenting familiar fare, Sierra (Good Night, Dinosaurs) takes a fresh approach: rather than organizing the stories by country or continent, she groups them by the themes they share and the similarity of the messages they convey. From this structure the striking parallels among the folktale traditions of vastly different cultures immediately emerge. For young readers and listeners, opportunities arise: to discover the likenesses or differences among various tales in a grouping, and to choose the type of story they want to hear or read next. A section titled Runaway Cookies, for example, unites "The Gingerbread Man," from the United States, with Norwegian and Russian variants. The source notes on each entry reflect Sierra's scholarship; the read-aloud appeal of the tales demonstrates her storytelling skills. Vitale's (Christmas Lullaby) oil paintings on wood panels, with their distinctive folk-art sensibility, echo the cultural cadences of each tale, while the intricately patterned borders he supplies for each page contribute vastly to the luxurious quality of this outstanding offering. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; y First printing edition (February 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395678943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395678947
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judy Sierra's picture book texts have won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, Parents' Choice awards, Children's Choice awards, Readers' Choice awards from many of the 50 states, and have been named Notable Books by the American Library Association.

Visit her website:

Judy's newest picture book is E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (With a Little Help from a Hen). "Kids have been singing about Old Mac for fifty years or more, but until now, no one has explained how he got that farm of his. After a bit of sleuthing, combined with spoofing, I discovered that this agricultural legend owes a lot to a famous chicken, the Little Red Hen, who helped him turn an annoying lawn into a productive organic farm, complete with farmstand."

Judy Sierra has been writing for children for 25 years. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Who doesn't know the stories "The Gingerbread Man" or "The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"? But, have you heard of "The Pancake" or "The Cat and the Parrot"? Sierra organizes eighteen folktales from around the world into a collection focused around six themes. This combination of mostly unfamiliar folktales from India, Jamaica, and Zaire (to name a few) and more familiar ones from the United States and England are easily accessible through a well organized contents page. Sierra commendably includes a detailed introduction and thematic background information in addition to extensive source notes which include tale origin information and detailed explanations for changes to the tales. In one instance Sierra explains her rationale behind the name changes she made in "The Pancake". In order to preserve the rhyme scheme present in the original version, she changed the characters' manes to "goody-poody", "many-panny", and "henny-penny". This attention to detail helps both young listeners and more capable readers adore and accept the unfamiliar fables in this collection. Vitale completes this book with exquisite illustrations of the tales through his use of repetitive, culturally-based boarders as well as text-based illustrations. For the tale of "Odon the Giant", Vitale depicts Odon as a huge beast with sharp teeth who is creating havoc for those people beneath him. Vitale combines both sharp and subdued colors to create an illusion of ancientness in his illustrations. The reader feels that they aren't opening just another book, but one passed down through the generations.
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By John E. Abernatha on April 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 5 & 7 year old boys really like this book.
Very nice stories for bed time or just anytime with interesting art.
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