From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-Philip's collection of tales is characteristically eclectic: none are well-known versions, but all are familiar in their motifs. The selections focus on stories of European origins that have found roots in places such as Missouri, New Mexico, or Michigan. Included are "Snow White" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" variants from Kentucky, but other retellings have less widely recognized locales. As indicated in the source notes, the editor has made limited changes to most of the tales, and since some are virtually word-for-word dictations of different storytellers, there is no unifying voice. However, the front and end matter and the consistency of the artwork bind this collection. An introduction, notes, a list for further reading, and acknowledgments provide context while the notes will be most useful for adults (particularly for scholars or professional storytellers) as they refer to the Aarne-Thompson international tale type numbers for readers interested in finding "other versions of the same basic story." The full-page, spot, and border color illustrations in a bright folk-art style assemble images and patterns, often with lines resembling stitch marks, that give the impression of a quilt or applique pieces. Overall, a useful addition with unique selections.Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A collection with a difference. Drawn from rare sources, these 18 stories and anecdotes, rooted in Europe but harvested in America, and often from African American tellers, are nearly all surprising variants on familiar folktales: Jack climbs the beanstalk in a righteous bid to reclaim items stolen from him and his mother; Tyll Eulenspiegel jumps the Atlantic to Pennsylvania Dutch country as trickster/fool Eileschpijjel; an Appalachian "Snow White" suddenly becomes a "good sister/bad sister" tale in which the vile stepmother ends up with an ever-full basket of snakes and toad-frogs. Philip generally lays editorial hands on the tales lightly, if at all, learnedly discusses tale types and other matters in appended notes, and caps the lot with a real find, retelling from an obscure Joel Chandler Harris collection an engaging tale of a disguised king who courts a skeptical shoemaker's daughter. Jacqueline Mair's small paintings add atmosphere by mimicking folk art patchwork and embroidery patterns. Stand this up next to Cohn's From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs
(1993) or Philip's own American Fairy Tales, from Rip Van Winkle to the Rootabaga Stories
(1996) and watch storytellers and other students of American folklore in search of fresh material fall on it with glad cries. John Peters