Nothing is more satisfying than watching a valiant hero conquer a dragon, outwit a thief, or destroy a monstrous cannibal--unless it's seeing an intrepid heroine
accomplish all these brave feats! In this remarkable anthology by the mother-daughter team of Trina Schart Hyman and Katrin Tchana, 18 stories showcase the courage, cleverness, and integrity of women who dare to go beyond their traditional roles and stand up for themselves and their people. Gleaned from fairy tales from around the world and retold by Tchana to make them "more vivid and vital to her audience," the stories include the tale of Li Chi, a 14-year-old girl who refuses to let a greedy sorcerer continue to sacrifice young girls to a horrible serpent. Clever Marcela is so cunning, she manages to outsmart a king--and fall in love while she's at it. Then there's Amarjit, the barber's wife, who, fed up with her handsome husband's laziness, manages to take matters in her own hands and create fabulous wealth from nothing. Caldecott Award-winner Trina Schart Hyman (Saint George and the Dragon
) paints spectacular illustrations, worthy of their esteemed role in capturing both the noble and the grotesque. (Ages 7 to 11) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
From the Chinese tale of Li Chi who slays a serpent and saves her village to the Gambian story of an offbeat wise woman, Hyman (Saint George and the Dragon) and her daughter Tchana here collect 18 inspiring stories about women powerful in might and mind. While Tchana's retellings occasionally get bogged down in complicated or meandering plots, her heroines are uniformly impressive. They handle swords, needles and stew pots with equal skill, marry whom they please and even outwit the devil. A few tales contain odd scenariosAas when the skull of her grandmother tells Neruvana to kill her evil husband or the Sun-Girl chooses to abandon her baby to be with her true husband, the handsome Dragon-Prince. Brief source notes indicate the diverse origins of the stories, but Tchana maintains a consistent tone, emphasizing commonality rather than differences in cultures ("Hey, girl," calls the king to Clever Marcela, and "Hey, Janey," calls the squire in "Duffy the Lady"). The thick, oversize picture book features a single full-page watercolor and an opening spot illustration for each story. Hyman's spirited paintings emphasize bold and determined womenAJudith the pirate surrounded by her crew of court ladies, Vassilissa wrestling the duke's warlordAwhile keeping the details of the tales' settings intact. This is a fairy tale world where one can definitely hear women roar. All ages. (Sept.)
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