Reviews for Nursery Tales Around the World


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1996
Eighteen tales are grouped in six categories: Runaway Cookies, Incredible Appetites, The Victory of the Smallest, Chain Tales, Slowpokes and Speedsters, and Fooling the Big Bad Wolf. The folk-art style of the illustrations illuminates the collection's multicultural roots. The striking design, careful documentation, and excellent selections make this a prime choice for classroom, library, and home. Bib. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #3
Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Striking design, careful documentation, and excellent selections make this a prime choice for classroom, library, and home. Add to this a thoughtful introduction and informative notes on interpretation and the result is a basic resource for a wide audience. Sierra - a folklorist, librarian, and storyteller - combines scholarship and knowledge of her young audience with the art of oral communication. The folk-art style of the illustrations, done in oil paint on wooden panels, illuminates the collection's multicultural roots; intricately designed borders incorporate motifs from the various countries represented. Eighteen tales are grouped in six categories: Runaway Cookies, Incredible Appetites, The Victory of the Smallest, Chain Tales, Slowpokes and Speedsters, and Fooling the Big Bad Wolf. This arrangement permits comparison and contrast of similar stories as in the juxtaposition of "The Gingerbread Man" from the United States with "The Pancake" from Norway and "The Bun" from Russia. All of the tales beg to be read aloud - again and again. With source notes and a selective bibliography. m.m.b Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1995 December
~ Eighteen traditional stories, specifically selected, according to the introduction, for reading to children who are beyond nursery rhymes but are not yet ready for Winnie-the-Pooh. Sierra (The Elephant's Wrestling Match, 1992, etc.) gives the whole enterprise an academic air, opening with a disquisition on the nature and educational benefits of folktales and closing with needlessly detailed source notes (``Catalogued by Aarne and Thompson as Tale Type 275A . . .''). The tales themselves, though, have been chosen with the heart and ear of a storyteller: a healthy mix of chestnuts (Joseph Jacobs's ``Three Little Pigs''), less common stories (``The Pancake,'' from Norway), and delightful variants on familiar tales, such as a Philippine version of ``The Bremen Town Musicians'' that features a crab, an eel, a bedbug, a mosquito, and a small bird. The stories are arranged into thematic triplets--``Fooling the Big Bad Wolf,'' ``Runaway Cookies''--accompanied by Vitale's stately, naive illustrations and his wide folkloric borders around each page, all done with thinly applied oils on rough panels of wood. A sumptuous, if cerebral, alternative to Kay Chorao's Child's Storybook (1985) or Anne Rockwell's popular collections. (bibliography) (Folklore. 4+) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 February #3
Innovatively conceived and exquisitely executed, this sumptuous collection of 18 tales is a surefire crowd-pleaser. While presenting familiar fare, Sierra (Good Night, Dinosaurs) takes a fresh approach: rather than organizing the stories by country or continent, she groups them by the themes they share and the similarity of the messages they convey. From this structure the striking parallels among the folktale traditions of vastly different cultures immediately emerge. For young readers and listeners, opportunities arise: to discover the likenesses or differences among various tales in a grouping, and to choose the type of story they want to hear or read next. A section titled Runaway Cookies, for example, unites "The Gingerbread Man," from the United States, with Norwegian and Russian variants. The source notes on each entry reflect Sierra's scholarship; the read-aloud appeal of the tales demonstrates her storytelling skills. Vitale's (Christmas Lullaby) oil paintings on wood panels, with their distinctive folk-art sensibility, echo the cultural cadences of each tale, while the intricately patterned borders he supplies for each page contribute vastly to the luxurious quality of this outstanding offering. Ages 3-up. (Feb.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 April
PreS-Gr 2 Eighteen nursery tales, grouped by type or theme: Runaway Cookies; Incredible Appetites; The Victory of the Smallest; Chain Tales; Slowpokes and Speedsters; and Fooling the Big Bad Wolf. Six stories are from the U.S., including one African American and two Native American tales. There are two from England, and one each from ancient Greece, China, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Russia, and Zaire. Some ("This Is the House That Jack Built," "The Three Pigs") are familiar and readily available elsewhere, while others ("The Boy Who Tried to Fool His Father," "Odon the Giant," "The Rooster and the Mouse") are less well known. The selections generally read aloud well, although Wilhelmina Harper's version of The Gunniwolf (Dutton, 1970) is preferable to the one given here, and Sierra's retelling of "The Goat in the Turnip Patch" in The Flannel Board Storytelling Book (Wilson, 1987) is better than "The Ram in the Chile Patch" here (which appeared in Spanish in Sierra's Multicultural Folktales [Oryx, 1991]). "Groundhog's Dance" is also available in Margaret R. MacDonald's Twenty Tellable Tales (Wilson, 1986). The book is extremely attractive. Each selection has a full-page painting and one or more smaller pictures done in oil on wooden panels in a folkloric style evocative of the tale's country of origin, and every page is framed with a full-color border. The introduction and notes are a model of clarity and care, making the collection equally useful for parents and professionals.æPam Gosner, Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ School Library Journal Reviews

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