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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series
Having never viewed this series when it originally aired, I had the privilege of viewing it while the DVDs were in preproduction. The large variety of tales from all over the world is impressive. I also didn't expect the episodes to be so entertaining or well-produced considering native speakers and actors were used to film each tale in the land it came from. This is the...
Published on March 29, 2006 by Heidi Anne Heiner

versus
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Storybook International
I bought this for a multicultural class I was teaching and am somewhat disappointed because the DVDs are marred and stop playing at various intervals and because my students(4th & 5th graders) are fairly bored with the stories.
Published on May 15, 2008 by Jennifer Landdry


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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series, March 29, 2006
By 
Heidi Anne Heiner (SurLaLune Fairy Tales.com) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
Having never viewed this series when it originally aired, I had the privilege of viewing it while the DVDs were in preproduction. The large variety of tales from all over the world is impressive. I also didn't expect the episodes to be so entertaining or well-produced considering native speakers and actors were used to film each tale in the land it came from. This is the most comprehensive and collection of folktales on film for family viewing to date. It is also highly recommended for public libraries and similar collections. With 65 episodes, it is also reasonably priced. In the end, this series is entertaining and educational.

Episode Guide

1. Clever Manka (Czechoslovakia)

In this popular tale, Manka is a clever young woman and a hard worker. When she takes her uncle before the judge to receive payment for work she has done, the judge is impressed by her beauty and intelligence. He proposes marriage to her if she promises to not contradict his judgments. Manka accepts his offer, but trouble inevitably follows when someone asks for her help.

2. Moses and the Lime-Kiln (Middle East)

Moses offers help to the Caliph of a great city who hungers for more knowledge and they become close friends. Moses' life is put in jeopardy when one of the Caliph's jealous courtiers plots to have him killed.

3. Cap O' Rushes (England)

In a tale that influenced Shakespeare's King Lear, a father asks his three daughters to describe their love for him. The youngest daughter's answer angers the father so much that he banishes her from his home. Later, he comes to appreciate the depth of her love when the meaning of her answer becomes clear.

4. The Soldier Who Didn't Wash (Russia)

A poor, lonely soldier makes a deal with the Devil. In exchange for great wealth, the soldier agrees not to wash for fifteen years. The soldier becomes a social outcast but ultimately comes to the aid of a money-strapped king on the condition that one of the princesses becomes his wife. This tale is often known as Bearskin in its American variants.

5. The Widow's Lazy Daughter (Ireland)

In this tale reminiscent of Rumpelstiltskin, lazy Bridget must accomplish three difficult tasks to placate her future mother-in-law. Three strange old women arrive and offer their assistance, asking only to be invited to the wedding. Will Bridget's secret be discovered?

6. The Grief of Pi-Kari (Maori)

In this moving tale about death and grief, a Chief longs to live with his 'spirit' wife, abandoning his responsibilities to his daughter and village. Eventually he comes to understand that he is needed by the living and returns to his home.

7. The Pedlar's Dream (England)

A poor pedlar dreams of a fortune to be found at a faraway market. When he arrives at the market, he learns that the fortune really lies outside his own house.

8. The Priest Know-All (Norway)

John, a mischievous peasant lad, is mistaken by chance for a priest and is appointed chaplain to the King as a reward for having found the Queen's stolen jewels. Asked to predict the sex of her unborn child, he is in a quandary.

9. The Foolish Brother (Turkey)

Abdul and Sulyman are two brothers, who happen to find a sack of gold while out chopping trees. The local storekeeper wants his share, so they leave their village. Attacked by brigands, Adbul's stupidity saves them and the gold.

10. The Emperor and the Abbot (Austria)

A spiteful Emperor decides that his Abbot has too enjoyable a life and sets him three impossible riddles to solve. A shepherd comes to the Abbot's rescue.

11. The Forbidden Door (Arabia)

Hakim, a young sheikh, finds great wealth and happiness behind a door which is forbidden to him. However, when he enters another forbidden door, his greed and curiosity lose him everything that he loves.

12. Sorrow (Hungary)

One brother becomes poor, the other is very rich and will not help. One day the poor brother is burdened by Sorrow, who leads him first to drink, but eventually shows him a way to become rich.

13. The Straw Hat (Germany)

Franz, a peasant farmer, is tricked by three town lads when selling his cow. When he discovers their trick, he retaliates with a clever plan involving a straw hat. They have underestimated the wily peasant.

14. The Well of the World's End (Scotland)

Rosemary is sent by her wicked stepmother to fetch water from the well in a sieve. A toad helps her and in return demands to be fed and to sleep in their house.

15. Riches or Happiness (India)

A young man, Yash, offers himself in meditation to a Goddess. She in return for his devotion offers him the choice between riches or happiness.

16. Hinemoa (Maori)

Hinemoa and Tutenakai are in love, but her father wishes her to marry a future chief. Tutenakai leaves the village and she is forbidden to see him, but she devises a plan to rejoin him.

17. The Five Loaves (Rumania)

Two friends share their food with a stranger who gives them five pennies for their kindness. They can not agree on dividing the money and take their case to a Judge. He resolves the case in a strictly mathematical and very enlightening way.

18. The Island of the Drums (Samoa)

Nama goes to the Island of Drums to fetch a drum for his father so that he can call his men to council. He chooses the best drum but forgets to thank the Drum Chief.

19. The Twelve Months (Hungary)

Meruska, a pretty, hard-working girl, is sent into the forest to perform impossible tasks by her jealous stepmother and stepsister, Helena. In the forest she meets the Twelve Months of the year.

20. Nikorima (Maori)

An eccentric warrior is left behind to guard his village when a hostile war party arrives. With a great deal of cleverness, Nikorima repels the invaders.

21. Simpleton Peter (England)

Peter, a simple lad, visits a wise woman so that she will make him clever, but he is unable to answer her riddles. Peter meets and marries Jenny and, with her, returns to the wise woman.

22. The Haunted Pastures (Bavaria)

A prosperous irascible farmer has three daughters. When his cows suddenly disappear from the summer pastures, he sends his daughters, one by one, to find out what has happened. Only the youngest daughter, Ursula, is kind enough to help an old man in distress nearby.

23. Morwen of the Woodlands (Wales)

A Prince grows bored with his no longer young and beautiful wife. Out riding, he falls for a woodland maiden called Morwen. She returns with him on the condition that he allows her to return alone to the forest once a week. Wylan, a monk and magician, helps to reveal Morwen's true identity.

24. The Russian and the Tartar (Russia)

Across the wild and lonely plains, a Russian and Tartar travel together for company. The Russian tricks the Tartar three times, then the Tartar decides he is safer alone.

25. The Hired Help (Eastern Europe)

A young man is exploited by a mean, clever farmer. Then he returns home with his tale of woe, his younger brother devises a scheme to redress the balance and teach the farmer a lesson he will never forget.

26. 100 Cattle (Africa)

A young warrior, Kanabe, inherits 100 cattle. When the matchmaker selects Aila as a suitable bride, her father demands all 100 cattle as bride price, although this will leave the young couple destitute. When a handsome ranger begins to pay court to Aila, and her father arrives on an unexpected visit, she is forced into a dangerous choice.

27. The Black Cape (Spain)

When his land is terrorized by a mysterious being, the King is surprised that the only one of his subjects who is clever enough to deal with the threat is Carmella, the young daughter of a goatherd. Together they climb the mountain to challenge the strange black cape.

28. The Perfect Prince? (India)

Thinking he is hideous because of a small scar, Prince Kusa tries to avoid marriage. When a beautiful bride is found for him, he conceals his face with veils to prevent her seeing him as he is. Insatiably curious, she spies on him.

29. Minu (Africa)

Nibo, a quiet and unadventurous villager, decides to make his first journey away from home and see the sights other travelers have told such tall stories about. He has a wonderful time seeing lots of new animals and birds, but when he meets new people, he runs into a language barrier.

30. The Basket of Flowers (Scandinavia)

A widower and his young daughter are forced to leave their home when she is unjustly accused of theft. Wandering abroad, they are taken in by a farmer and his wife and are happy and hard working until the farmer's son takes over the farm.

31. The Talking Pony (Spain)

The owner of a string of ponies is astonished to find that one of them has been changed into a man, especially when he remembers how cruelly he has treated the animal. Little does he know that he is the victim of a trick perpetrated by a clever, poor student called Juan.

32. The Spoiled Son (Rumania)

Ion is completely spoiled by his family. One day he becomes lost. The efforts of those who try to help him are rewarded only with disaster, but somehow, by the time he finds his family again, he has finally grown up.

33. The King's Secret (China)

Despite the wealth, peace and prosperity of his kingdom, all his subjects are baffled by their King's unhappiness. Only his barber can cheer him up; but when the barber's apprentice has to stand in for his master, he finds that there is more to the job than meets the eye.

34. The Miraculous Doctor (France)

Not one of the learned doctors called by the King can remove a fishbone stuck in his daughter's throat. When messengers are sent to fetch another doctor, a young maltreated wife sees the chance to turn the tables on her husband, and she succeeds beyond all her expectations.

35. Rich Man, Poor Man (Africa)

A rich man and a poor man are friends until famine destroys their friendship. The poor man's three sons go out into the world, but the elder two boys do not want the youngest tagging along with them. Their ploys to get rid of him backfire.

36. The Woodcutter and the Devil (Eastern Europe)

A woodcutter tries to escape his shrewish wife who, intent on pursuit, falls down a well. When he goes back to rescue her, however, he pulls out a devil, who gives him a reward. He hasn't heard the last of either the devil or his wife.

37. The Mysterious Woodcutter (Korea)

When a beautiful young girl is rescued from her attackers by a handsome young man, she naturally falls in love with him and makes every excuse to go and see the mysterious recluse in the forest.

38. The Surprise Gift (India)

A King has two lovely daughters, one of whom marries a rich merchant while the other is thrown out by her father in a fit of temper. She works hard to help others less fortunate. Meanwhile, her rich sister very unhappy. The King sets out to look for a solution to his problems and finds more than he expected.

39. The Robber Chief (Scandinavia)

The son of a poor woods man stumbles into a den of thieves who have been terrorizing the neighborhood for years. He uses his wits to pass their tests and become not only a member of the gang but its leader. Then he sets out to revenge himself and his neighbours in a truly democratic way.

40. The Enchanted King (Rumania)

When her widowed mother dies, Lia sets off into the world where she encounters a band of wicked fairies tormenting the young King Limir. To help him, she has to tackle first the fairies' mother, and then their grandmother, to find the remedy for the king and his kingdom.

41. The Three Coins (Spain)

Three brothers set out to seek their fortunes, each with a silver coin from their father to start them out in life. At the end of a year, they meet up again and go in search of adventure. The skills that each of them has learned come in useful, but one is better rewarded than the others.

42. The Foolish Lad (Eastern Europe)

A widow's son who appears to be incurably stupid and manages to get the wrong end of the stick, nevertheless, manages to outwit those who try to exploit him.

43. The Blacksmith (Africa)

Mandalla is the King's blacksmith and welcomes the King's demands as a challenge, until one day, the King demands the impossible. Neither Mandalla nor his sons can come up with an answer. Who can tell them what to say to the King?

44. The Bar of Gold (Eastern Europe)

A poor but hardworking man does nothing to make matters better by feeling sorry for himself all the time. Then a prosperous doctor takes him in and gives him a bar of gold which changes his entire life.

45. The Clever Thief (China)

When a wily thief is eventually imprisoned, he persuades the jailer to let him see the King. His cleverness not only sets him free but also teaches a valuable lesson to the greatest in the land.

46. The Squire's Bride (Scandinavia)

A rich, ugly and unhappy man decides to marry his beautiful servant girl, but she refuses him. After bribing her father with a large dowry, he sends for his bride but gets more than he has bargained for.

47. The Lost Ruby (India)

A King, deciding to punish his Chief Minister's presumption, a huge ruby into his care while arranging secretly to steal it back. When it cannot be returned, the King gives him seven days in which to find it, or face dire consequences.

48. The Blind Beauty (Philippines)

A poor fisherman manages to get a job with a rich merchant and falls in love with his daughter, but the foreman is jealous of him and schemes successfully for his removal from the firm. In the end, hard work, honesty and love triumph over all obstacles.

49. The Wise Merchant (Arabia)

A merchant wants to hand over his business to his son. Although the boy enjoys life to the full, he lacks experience of the harsh realities of business. At first his father is horrified as he makes dreadful mistakes, but in the end they both learn from each other.

50. Two For One (Arabia)

Everyone wonders why a beautiful young woman is so happy and always so well-dressed. No one guesses that the secret of her success is a double life with two husbands - one who works days, the other nights. Then something threatens her idyllic existence.

51. The Little Beggar (Arabia)

In a series of accidents, the village beggar is "murdered" by a succession of prominent citizens. All is revealed at the sensational trial.

52. Great Heart (North American Indian)

When the time comes for a young warrior to prove his manhood and earn the right to marry, he has to overcome one obstacle after another.

53. The Old Kitbag (Canada)

A soldier retires from the army with a pension of only three coins: but his generosity and wisdom wins him happiness and wealth.

54. The Strange Guest (Canada)

When a rich and greedy farmer finds that his poor neighbour has somehow become lucky, he cannot rest until he finds out how it happened. Things don't work out quite the same way for him.

55. The Clever Trapper (Canada)

A callous landlord taxes his tenants for every penny they are worth. Then a strange turn of fate gives the miller and his family a chance to remedy their desperate situation.

56. Myself (Canada)

A poor widow has to send her gullible son out into the world. He starts off slowly, but in the end he learns how to take care of himself.

57. The Magic Stone (Serbia)

A lazy young man goes into the world as a beggar, but thanks to some magical advice, he soon gets everything he wants in life.

58. Bags of Silver (Croatia)

A miserly father sets his daughter's dowry impossibly high to prevent her ever marrying and leaving him. He hasn't counted on the cleverness of a young man who falls in love with her.

59. The Ambitious Cobbler (Slovenia)

The greedy, envious wife of the town cobbler is unhappy with her lot. She decides that the way for her husband to become rich is to become an astrologer. The result is not quite as expected.

60. The Stubborn Princess (Eastern Europe)

When a poor young man gains certain powers, he not only marries a princess, but finds himself in a set of rather strange circumstances.

61. The Great Slayer (Eastern Europe)

A cobbler who is unhappy with his lot inadvertently builds himself a totally undeserved reputation as a great warrior. Then he sets off to prove his worth and earn his fortune.

62. The Princess Who Never Laughed (Slovenia)

A princess who is never amused is offered in marriage by her father, the King, to the first person who can make her laugh.

63. The Three Helpers (Turkey)

When a prince falls in love with a princess held captive under the spell of a wicked wizard, he needs the help of some unusual companions to overcome the enemy.

64. Secret Soup (Wales)

A mean, old woman finds herself giving a stranger not only supper but also shelter for the night when he promises her his secret recipe for a dish that costs nothing.

65. The Discontented Daughter (Wales)

A spoiled young lady's bad manners get her into hot water. Her enlightenment and subsequent behaviour rescue her.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful, May 24, 2006
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
This is a beautifully told, engaging series for young and old. My husband and I watch together with our 9 year old daughter and 4 year old son; we all look forward to each episode. They are delightfully staged -- haven't found a clunker yet! I love having my children see the costumes, cultures, landscape and architecture of so many other countries. I also love that we've had many a lively discussion about the lessons imparted through these simple, gentle folktales. Highly recommended.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, April 30, 2007
By 
Thomas H. Ayers (Bowie, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
I came across this title unexpectedly and, based on the previous two reviews, decided to give it a shot. This set of 10 DVDs covers 65 folktales from around the world, and each episode is filmed on location and acted by indigenous actors.

Our reaction: We watched our first episode tonight. After a lovely song introducing the series, we watch A Hundred Cattle from Africa. My kids loved it and were very intrigued by the people, their way of life, and how they handled problems. This particular story was narrated, and the narrator spoke the actors' parts as the actors, through facial expressions and gestures, illustrated the story. The overall effect felt like being read to as the book's pictures came to life. I suspect all of the episodes are done this way.

What You Get: The boxed set consists of two cases, each containing five discs which are stacked on top of each other. I've never seen DVDs packaged this way before. I'm tempted to buy thin cases to hold each DVD separately to avoid damage. Also, the set contained a loose disc to replace disc 5 from volume 1. I'm not sure why - I presume it replaces a defective disc. I'm glad they corrected the problem before I found out about it the hard way! The shows are over twenty years old, but the picture and sound are acceptable.

Warning: I bought this used on Amazon without ANY problem. However, while researching this title, I discovered that some dealers are confusing "The Ugly Duckling" with Storybook International - perhaps because of similar UPC codes? Beware of prices below $15, because you might get "The Ugly Duckling" instead of this - ask before buying. I paid under $30 for this set and got what I paid for--I'm pleased with my purchase.

Based on one episode, I think this set of folktales is an amazing value. My children are looking forward to seeing more episodes--and so am I!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazed to find this on DVD, May 31, 2009
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
For years I wondered about this fairy tale series I had watched on TV as a child. I was beyond thrilled to find out years ago that this show wasn't just in my imagination. I recently stumbled across this DVD set while searching Amazon...I ordered it immediately! The DVD's are perfect...the storyteller singing at the beginning with the fox is extremely nostalgic for me. I couldn't be happier.

"I'm the storyteller and my stories must be told
I have many stories tales for both the young and old
I have many voices to describe many places
Many names have I and many faces.....
In Russia I am Ivan, in Sweden I am Jan(Yon)
In Germany I'm Johan, In America I'm John
From my many travels I have gathered these tales
To teach to you good sense when all else fails
Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there is laughter,
But always, a Happily Ever After"
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing entertainment, September 27, 2009
By 
Kevin Conway (Cleveland, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
When we started watching these fairy tales our kids would protest, get bored, and leave the room. Instead of racing to the remote like we do when the kids finally get sick of iCarly or Spongebob, we found that we, the parents, were actually enjoying these fairy tales even without the kids! We kept playing the stories, especially at night since the soft background music and pleasant voice of the narrator created a peaceful atmosphere to settle down to. Pretty soon, our kids started asking us to put on the dvds and now they know all 65 of the stories! These dvds can be appreciated on so many levels and I highly recommend them for any age.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Anthropology...., August 10, 2009
By 
Imogene (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
If you are interested in anthropology and seeing how other people realize this world we live in, then you will enjoy these beautifully wrought fairy tales. Exquistely done with detail in mind, I enthusiastically recommend this set.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality, July 12, 2009
This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
In perfect condition, interesting folk tales told from all over the world. For children and adults alike. Narrated in English.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, May 28, 2009
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
I bought this for my wife's birthday. It reminds us of our childhood. Storybook International used to screen on a Sunday and watching it now brings back that bittersweet feeling of Sunday afternoon, when you know there is school on Monday but are enjoying just being at home watching TV.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous & very Impressed with the box set & menu layout., February 19, 2011
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
I had watched these episodes as a child. For years I would often think about how I could find & view them again. I would ask others if they recalled the episodes or knew anything about them. I had also forgotten the name of the series. Only one person recalled what I was describing.. I started to think that maybe I was confused about what I had watched, yet I will never forget the cartoon singer in his Robin Hood style clothes- lol. I had a crush on him- yes a cartoon. I finally looked for them on youtube after finding out the name Storybook International and through my research - came to find that I could buy them on Amazon- but only in the USA. I was slightly worried about this at first. I thought there may be problems with it being an overseas sale as I am from the UK. The box set did come later than stated about 7-10 days. Packaged very well.

It was a present for my 41st Birthday. I requested it from my eldest son. The Cartoon man has a different voice & states he is John in America- Yet on one of the stories I was excited to hear the original voice that I had heard sing it as a child- where he was John in England - The voice is slightly country bumpkin style, which made my children laugh. I was very impressed with the DVD box - the Menu on the DVDs is especially impressive. I love it- it has brought back such fond memories. I left it running while I was in the kitchen one day & my children who are 18 & 14 were mesmerised. It kept them glued to the sofa for a full 5-6 stories.We also watched more tonight- so many to watch.... We sit and laugh at some of the stories which are so funny with them being very dated. We always chat about the moral of the story after each tale. One of the tales states it is set in England - yet clearly it was filmed at St Fagons in Wales- very amusing.

In fact I am going to order another set before long, just in case any of mine gets damaged or lost. A bit over the top maybe but it holds so much sentimental happiness for me - I value it greatly. Well worth the money. For those of you who have never watched any of the stories - the narration is so relaxing, interesting imagery from all over the world & well overall -you wont be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous outstanding the best, February 25, 2010
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This review is from: Storybook International Collection 10 Disc Set (DVD)
travel all over the planet , visiting many countries with real natives in their natural dress. intrigues the heart of all ages. wonderful family fun.
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