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Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia Hardcover – January 10, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-In this unusual collection, tales involving magical beings and flying carpets appear alongside prosaic explanations for the invention of felt and a legend about the origins of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. There is a story about the Kazakhstan trickster Aldar-Kose and there are riddles from Uzbekistan to test the wits of young readers, such as "One eye and a sharp tooth" (answer: a needle). The selections are illustrated with primitive, full-color paintings done with a thick and exuberant brush. The cover art employs especially brilliant colors in its depiction of a rapt family seated around a samovar while an elderly man regales them with stories. By opening a window to folkloric traditions not previously explored in American children's books, Clayton provides much material to tantalize storytellers, listeners, and readers alike.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 2-4. In 12 traditional stories from the nomadic cultures of Central Asia, folklorist Clayton retells myth and folklore she heard in Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The lively tales include epic creation myths, rhyming riddles, trickster tales, songs, and stories of magic carpets and music. The large picture book is illustrated with richly colored line-and-watercolor paintings that evoke Central Asian traditional culture, with settings ranging from deserts and mountains to rivers and cities. In "Zarina's Orchard" from Tadjikistan, the longest and one of the best stories, a bold, brave young woman fights the Dev, a demon with one red eye and a long black tongue. The backmatter includes a map, a glossary, and informal notes about each story and its connections. A rich resource, even for older readers, this anthology has stories that travel across the world. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
"A Whole Brain" (Kazakhstan) tells what happened on the seventh day when God finished making the world and realized he had forgotten to give human beings brains. "The Secret of Flet" (Turkmenistan) is what two brothers discover when one stubs his toe on a sharp rock. "Blue Sky, White Wing" (Central Asia) is is a poem reflecting the old saying, "The sky is your father, the earth is your mother." "The Girl Who Cried a Lake" (Kyrgyzstan) is what happens when the Khan's daughter falls in love with the young hunter who catches her when the girls play kiss-chase on horseback (think Romeo & Juliet). "The Carpet of Dreams" (Afghanistan) is the story of Arif, who dreams of traveling the silk road and explains the tradition of always weaving a mistake into a carpet on purpose, to show that only God can make something that is truly perfect. "Riddle Bazaar" (Uzbekistan) are eight riddles, such as "One eye and a sharp tooth") (yes, the answers are provided in the back).
"The Bag of Trickness" (Kazakhstan) tells how the trickster Aldar-Kose with his coat of seventy holes and ninety patches, tricks a rich man. "Zarina's Orchard" (Tadjikistan) is about Zarina and her thirty-nine sisters, and how she wishesd they could bring the river to them, instead of them all going to the river. This story involves a Dev, which is not a good thing. "The Heart of Your Friend" (Kazahkstan) is a poem based on a Kazakh folksong. "Father of Stories, Horse of Songs" (Central Asia) tells of Korkut, a young man who wanted his horse to carry him away from Death. Korkut would live a long time and become known as Dede Korkut, father or all the stories being sung by storytellers today. "The Fountain of Life" (Central Asia) is the story of Al Khadir (the Green One), whom we met earlier in this book, and shows that eternal life does indeed exist.
Clayton learned these stories by traveling through Central Asia, talking and sharing stories with storytellers in different lands. Following their tradition, she has made these stories her own. Clayton provides notes About the Stories in the back of the book, to explain where they came from and other interesting tidbits and additional sources. Sophie Herxheimer, who did the colorful illustrations for this book, also provides a two-page map of Central Asia, so that you know where these lands are to be found in relation to Turkey, Iran, Russian, China, and the rest of their neighbors. A Glossary of key names and turms, mostly those translates from the native languages of these people
These twelves tales bring the culture of Central Asia to life and I have little doubt that for most young readers (and their teachers or parents), this will be their first exposure to stories from those lands, which is why in the end I round up on "Tales Told in Tents." Through out the book Clayton provides proverbs, sayings and assorted words of interest, such as those written on a bowl in Herxheimer's final painting: "My tales I have told them, your pocket shall hold them...If they are bitter of if they are sweet carry them away and bring them back--along with a dish of rice and raisins."