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The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit Hardcover – April 20, 1987

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Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next. Hardcover | More for ages 3-5

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lester's thoughtful preface to his retelling of the Joel Chandler Harris folktales elucidates the problems inherent in a project of this sort, which, unfortunately, this volume does not entirely resolve. Harris's stories are told in the Gullah dialect, often thought difficult by modern readers. In an attempt to preserve the tales, Lester has rewritten them in his own voice, often with references to "things that are decidedly contemporary, like shopping malls." Lester calls such references characteristic of black storytelling and admits they may be jarring. But his retelling is uneven. For example, in the same story the narrator tells us formally, "Early one morning, even before Sister Moon had put on her negligee, Brer Fox was up and moving around," and then says in dialect, "Brer rabbit was sho' nuf' mad now." Harris's Brer Rabbit comes "pacin' down de roadlippity-clippity, clippity-lippitydez as sassy ez a jay-bird" while Lester's comes "strutting along like he owned the world." This collection is important as a way of introducing readers to the Harris tales; it also stands alone as a volume of wonderfully funny folktales. For many purists, though, it will not replace the original stories. Pinkney's drawings, both black-and-white and color, nicely combine realistic detail and fancy. All ages.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2 Up Recent retellings of Joel Chandler Harris' African-American folktales from former slaves have pruned the dialect and leave out Uncle Remus all together. Most notable of these is Jump!: the Adventures of Brer Rabbit (HBJ, 1986). This newest attempt brings together two distinguished children's book creators in a most unusual recreation. Lester has retold 48 of the folktales in standard English but with a strong feel for the dialect of the original stories. His retellings are as lively as the originals but they also have a liveliness of their own, as he incorporates modern allusions which never seem out of place. Even more importantly, he uses the sharp, witty Uncle Remus who narrated the original folktales, and not the more servile character from the opening and closing segments who many found offensive. Pinkney's illustrations are mostly black-and-white sketches with some full-color double-page spreads. They do not have the sass of the original A. B. Frost illustrations, but they are filled with strong interest and a great humor which serves the text well. This will be of great interest to school and public libraries as well as to storytellers as a source which gives new life to an American classic. Kay McPherson, Central Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Series: Tales of Uncle Remus
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; Twenty-fourth edition (April 20, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080370271X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803702714
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1939, Julius Lester spent his youth in the Midwest and the South and received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.Since 1968 he has published 25 books of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and poetry. Among the awards these books have received are the Newbery Honor Medal, American Library Association Notable Book, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, The New York Times Outstanding Book, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Caldecott Honor Book, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and a National Book Award Finalist. His books have been translated into eight languages.He has published more than one hundred essays and reviews in such publications The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Op-Ed Page, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, The New Republic, Katallagete, Moment, Forward, and Dissent.He has recorded two albums of original songs, hosted and produced a radio show on WBAI-FM in New York City for eight years, and hosted a live television show on WNET in New York for two years. A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, his photographs of that movement are included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution and are part of the permanent photographic collection at Howard University.After teaching at the New School for Social Research for two years, Mr. Lester joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1971 where he is presently a full professor in the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department, and adjunct professor in the English and History departments. He also serves as lay religious leader of Beth El Synagogue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.He has been awarded all four of the university's most prestigious faculty awards: The Distinguished Teacher's Award; the Faculty Fellowship Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship; Distinguished Faculty Lecturer; and recipient of the Chancellor's Medal, the University's highest honor. In 1986 the Council for Advancement and Support of Education selected him as the Massachusetts State Professor of the Year.Mr. Lester's biography has appeared in Who's Who In America since 1970. He has given lectures and papers at more than 100 colleges and universities.His most recent books are John Henry, And All Our Wounds Forgiven, a novel about the civil rights movement, and Othello, a novel based on the Shakespeare play.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J.M. Edwards on August 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was raised on these tales of the wiley rabbit. My mother read me to sleep with The Songs of The South. Being from the heart of Dixie I have a very personal feeling for these wonderful colorful and enlightning tales of old. My middle age has allowed me to pass these tales on to my children and I am now reading them to my Grandchildren. In fact they are in demand from my kids wanting to read them to their children them selves when not convenient to do so by me.
Uncle Remus spins a whimsicle yarn and uses old time forgotten vinacular that titilates the imagination to heights that brings a giggle to the staunches personality.
The are truly an endless means of allowing imaginations paint colorful pictures and creating cool summer breezes under an old sycimore tree decked out with lazy spanish moss.
Highly recommended and truly a milestone in our Southern Heritage and culture of The Old South. Song of The South will endure and hold on like a Mississippi snapping turtle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Julies Lester and Jerry Pinkney are forever finding new ways of retelling classic African American tales while removing the stigma once attached to their early presentation. Their other works include a whole new version of the old L'il Black Sambo story. Far more daringly is this collection; a retelling of the classic Uncle Remus stories. There is much to admire in this collection and a little to criticize. Admirable are the ways in which the stories are made interesting for kids today. The character of Uncle Remus has been made omnipresent. No longer are there pictures of little white children crouching at his feet. Instead, his narration encompasses everything that happens, and his humor infuses each and every story. Less admirable are some of the the more modern twinges placed here and there. Sometimes the narrator will mention a shopping mall or a pair of expensive running shoes. These "updates" seem to date an otherwise modern story. The violence found in these tales often seem straight out of a Grimm fairy tale. They are a bit similar in the methods of killing (boiling with water, burning alive, etc.). It is difficult in this day and age to find such tireless reworkings of classic American stories. Stories that should never be forgotten because they represent a part of our American past. If you have any interest at all, or nostalgia for, these tales then read this book immediately and do not dilly dally.
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I personally haven't read the book in years, but my Grandmother (Mama Toler, we called her) bought that book for me when I was very young. Actually, if memory serves, it was a collection of stories with Uncle Remus telling the tales, and included several stories about the adventures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, and the Doogang. Oh, I can't forget to mention "Tar Baby" either! Even before I was old enough to read on my own, Mama Toler would hold me in her lap and read all about the Adventures of Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch. I loved it when she would mimick Uncle Remus' laugh because her belly would jiggle and make me wiggle and giggle (can you tell the little child in me has been awakened?). This book is one is one of my all-time favorites and, although I haven't seen it in years, I'm thinking that this would be the perfect time for me to buy a copy for my four-year old granddaughter (and ME!) since she spends every other weekend with us and loves for "Nanna" to read to her. Thanks for rekindling some happy memories. Happy Reading to you all, too! Diane
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Janet S. Andrews on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
What a delightful book! I bought this to read to my 5 yr old home-schooled daughter, and my 15 yr old son sat in every night to listen. The stories are hilarious, and we all laughed out loud many times. What a treasure!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We bought this book to read to our grandchildren. My father-in-law used to tell my children Uncle Remus stories. So, the tradition will live on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Three Roses on June 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read my children a story each night and they love it and can't wait for the next evening to get another one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was brought up as a toddler listening to my mother read me the tales of Brer Rabbit. It may not be the most popular book on the market because of it's political correctness thing, but these characters are lovable and my grandson loved them. If you remember the Disney movie, "The Song of the South," it was made around the books' characters.
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By Karolyn Anders on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was given to a neighbor to read to his 4 year old great grandson-they both love it. This is a black family that remembered some of the characters from the stories but not the title of the book
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