From School Library Journal
Gr 2-5–While some of these seven tales are familiar, such as “The Strange Visitor” from Scotland, others are more obscure, such as the Inuit “The Mightiest Mouse that ever Nibbled Fat.” All of the selections are impeccably told, and practicing storytellers will gleefully add them to their repertoires. Baruzzi's folk-art illustrations, rendered in digital collage, are a perfect complement to the tales. Through careful selection of appropriate details, including dress, landscape, border patterns, etc., the artist gives readers a good sense of the particular tale's country of origin; at the same time, the design is consistent enough so the presentation never feels disjointed. The slightly skewed perspectives add to the sense of mystery and magic that Lupton is trying to convey. Sources notes as well as a delightful CD narrated by the reteller are included. This is a fine addition to the folklore shelf, sure to be popular with children and storytellers.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Footless elves. An inhabited skull. The regeneration of a pile of bones. These seven stories have their share of gore, but their simple tellings and folktale conventions make them seem, as the book’s title indicates, more mysterious than macabre. Storyteller Lupton (a CD with his narration is included) has chosen intriguing tales from across civilizations: Chilean, Scottish, South Asian, Inuit, Russian, Seneca, and West African. As fine as the tales are, Baruzzi’s evocative artwork is what really elevates this. With styles changing from story to story, each is bordered with a design from the region, and the tales sweep across the pages and find as much humor as relevancy. Perhaps the most moving is the West African story of a father who goes missing, with its message about how life is linked to remembrance. Although the collection was originally published as Freaky Tales from Far and Wide (1999), the artwork is all new here, so even libraries owning an older copy will want to replace it. Grades 2-5. --Ilene Cooper