Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

A Modern Spin on Old Favorites
Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
A culture’s stories say vast amounts about the values, virtues, and humor that the people hold in esteem. Every country knows their own stories very well, but it’s great fun to hear stories from far away places and compare them with our own. Not only will children learn something new, the adults might too! Folk tales often originate to explain the origin of things when an obvious explanation could not be found. Fairy tales usually illustrate a moral and the lesson is supposed to stay with the reader. Both may include fantastic and magical events which make them very entertaining for all listeners. Here is a collection of top notch stories that are perfect for story time and bed time. 

   Rainbow Crow is a Lenape tale about how the crow sacrificed his beautiful voice and plumage to save his friends from a terrible snow storm. It’s a heartwarming story with a great moral.
   Strega Nona has a rather simple lesson about paying attention but the story will become a fast favorite. Big Anthony, who is helping Strega Nona with her chores, gets into a bit of trouble with her magic pasta pot. Loosely based in Italian folklore, Strega Nona is a funny story with loveable characters.
   Stone Soup is a Scandinavian folktale by origin but it has been widely recieved by many cultures. Various adaptions have appeared everywhere. I like this particular re-telling because it’s very colorful and takes place in a very diverse town. The wit of the travellers will greatly amuse readers as they figure out what’s going on.
   Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are an extrordinary team that shaped the North American landscape during their many adventures. Learn how the Great Lakes and Grand Canyon came to be in this classic American folktale.
   Anansi the Spider is a well loved folk hero from Ghana. His cleverness never ceases to charm listeners and the bold illustrations depict traditional West African style. Also by McDermott is Arrow to the Sun, a traditional Pueblo tale of the hero’s quest.
   The Crane Wife is a medeival Japanese fairy tale about a sail maker who meets an extrordinary woman. She asks one simple thing of him, but will he keep his promise? The story is somewhat somber, but the illustrations are remarkable and the prose stays true to Japanese style.
   Baba Yaga is the famous witch of Russian folklore that lives in a house standing on a chicken foot. The beautiful and brave Vasilisa must out-wit the evil old witch to gain her freedom with the help of a magical doll. The illustrations alone make this a fantastic book with illuminated capital letters and exquisitely detailed pages.
   Yeh-Shen is a Chinese Cinderella story about the friendship between a lonely little girl and her fish with golden eyes. The scaley little creature remains loyal to her even in death and makes this story very charming.
   Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a more child-friendly version of The Mongoose and the Brahmin’s Wife, a traditional Indian folktale. A mother and father aquire a mongoose to protect their child and the mongoose earns his place among the family. Also part of the Jungle Book, this revised version of the story has become as popular as the traditional version.