- Hardcover: 450 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (May 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393045986
- ISBN-13: 978-0393045987
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World Hardcover – May, 1998
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From Library Journal
Disappointed by a lack of readily available folktales featuring women as heroines to read to her daughters, the well-traveled Ragan set about collecting tales from around the world for this anthology, which can be read and appreciated by youngsters and adults alike. More than 100 stories are included in the collection, which is arranged by broad geographic areas. Asia and the Pacific are widely represented, but there are only 14 stories from North and South America. Brief comments by the editor follow each story, and endnotes describe the sources. This convenient collection, more comprehensive than Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World (1981), for example, is appropriate for school, public, and academic collections.APatricia A. Beaber, Trenton State Coll. Lib., Lawrenceville, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Troubled by the scarcity of female protagonists of any kind in children's books, let alone strong, smart, and resourceful heroines, Ragan transformed her search for good stories to read to her young daughter into a full-scale research project, reviewing some 30,000 folk and fairy tales from all around the world. The 100 she selected to create this jewel of an anthology feature "courageous mothers, clever young girls, and warrior women," heroines that save lives and bring peace to their communities not through brute strength, although endurance is a frequent feat, but through creativity, intelligence, eloquence, wisdom, kindness, perseverance, and loyalty. Ragan is to be commended for her diligence and good taste: she has found captivating stories about wonderfully shrewd and fearless heroines from all across Europe, including Iceland, Scotland, Greece, and Yugoslavia, as well as Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Pacific. Ragan's concise yet discerning commentary follows each tale, making this affirming and long overdue collection as edifying as it is entertaining. Donna Seaman
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Top customer reviews
The author/editor's perspectives at the end of the stories, however, are sometimes too general and to be honest, detract from the nuance of the stories. Analysis doesn't really go much deeper than a surface-level celebration of "girl power" or "cleverness." While it's challenging to look at folklore and fairy tales, which usually have more archetypal characters, with a more nuanced lens, I think more attention can be given to the conflict that drives these stories. Any heroine worth her salt in a narrative worth its salt has to brave something that transforms herself. The analysis seems to favor a view that characters that emerge at the beginning fully-realized are fine just the way they are, often focusing on traits that the heroine doesn't necessarily gain, but already possesses. And what kind of a good story does that make?