Reviews for Can You Guess My Name? : Traditional Tales Around the World


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 November 2002
Gr. 3-5. For pleasure reading as well as for demonstrating the universality of folktales, this collection brings together 15 variants, from as many cultures, of five familiar stories--"The Three Little Pigs," "The Bremen Town Musicians," "Rumpelstiltskin," "The Frog Prince," and "Hansel and Gretel." Sierra staves off the potential monotony of reading multiple versions with hilariously matter-of-fact humor. In a version of "The Bremen Town Musicians," from Burma/Myanmar, for instance, a thumb-size lad takes on the sun with the help of a rotten egg and a cowpat--as well as a light sprinkling of sound effects and side comments. Vitale, who paints on rough wood to add visual effect, contributes a different patterned border for each story, plus scenes of stylized but easily recognizable figures. For students of folklore, the list of sources and extensive endnotes (some of which undermine Sierra's own thesis by noting motifs that seem to be unique to particular traditions) further enhance the value of this handsome, horizon-expanding collection. ((Reviewed November 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Spring
Carefully selected and enhanced with robustly elegant illustrations, these fifteen tales, arranged in groups of three, serve as an introduction to comparative literature and to different cultures. The titles for the groups reflect their general themes and identify each group as a set of variations on a familiar tale. This is an outstanding example of what folklore collections for children can and should be. With substantial notes on each tale. Bib. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2003 #1
Folklorist and storyteller Sierra and illustrator Vitale have given readers another collection of folktales to rival their Nursery Tales around the World (rev. 5/96). Carefully selected and enhanced with robustly elegant and colorful illustrations, these fifteen tales, arranged in groups of three, serve as an introduction to comparative literature and to different cultures. The titles for the groups reflect their general themes and identify each group as a set of variations on a familiar tale. Thus, the section entitled ôCan You Guess My Name?ö includes variants of ôRumpelstiltskinö from Sweden, Nigeria, and Japan. Some of the more unusual variants are those for ôThe Frog Princeö in the section entitled ôI Married a Frog.ö The Chinese version, ôHow a Warty Toad Became an Emperor,ö is truly a story of perseverance and assertions of the right to be accepted-the toadlike son, despised by his parents, eventually wins his bride and an empire. VitaleÆs illustrations for this particular tale are evocative as well as decorative; his use of the bamboo frame as well as other motifs characterizes the inclusion of indigenous references throughout the book. Beautiful to look at, appealing in tone, scholarly in preparation, this is an outstanding example of what folklore collections for children can and should be. With substantial notes on each tale and a fine bibliography. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 October #2
Stories with familiar motifs from "The Three Little Pigs," "Bremen Town Musicians," "Rumplestiltskin," "The Frog Prince," and "Hansel and Gretel" are collected in five chapters of three stories each. Opening each chapter is an introduction to the motif of the section and what to expect; each tale that follows will connect to the chapter's anchor story, some more closely than others. For example, in the "Three Little Pigs" chapter there are three tales. Obvious connections in two follow traditional story lines with variations on some of the details. "The Three Geese," a tale from Italy substitutes geese for the pigs and includes a variation on the end, but the results are the same. The connections between tales in the other chapters aren't always as recognizable. Oniroku, a unique variation of the Rumplestiltskin tale, is representative of the rather uninspired retellings that might have been rich in tapestry and imagery. However, a strong component of this production is the vibrant and detailed borders, designed for each story, that create a mood and complement the gloriously executed illustrations created, on wood, by Vitale (Sleepy Book, 2001, etc.). While there may be more richly textured gatherings of comparison folktales, this beautifully illustrated volume presents readable examples that just might send readers to the shelves to search for single editions of other tales that contain similar motifs. And it is simply splendid to look at. (Folktales. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 September #5
The Story Goes On... Fans will cheer a host of sequels and series additions hitting the shelves this fall. Graduates of Nursery Tales from Around the World by Judy Sierra, illus. by Stefano Vitale, will appreciate the fine sequel, Can You Guess My Name?: Traditional Tales Around the World. Sierra's division of these 15 impeccably researched tales into five categories, such as "Can You Guess My Name?: Tales Like `Rumpelstiltskin,' " demonstrate common elements that link the globe-spanning stories; they subtly echo each other without overlapping. Vitale honors each tale's country of origin with his stunning oil-on-wood illustration style, painting blue-faced Sri Lankan ogresses and poised Swedish princesses with equal aplomb. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 November
Gr 3-6-Familiar themes, characters, and plots appear in the folklore of cultures around the world, reflecting the commonality of the human experience. Sierra has organized 15 of these tales into 5 categories of stories that resemble "The Three Pigs," "The Bremen Town Musicians," "Rumpelstiltskin," "The Frog Prince," and "Hansel and Gretel." Each section is fascinating for both the similarities among the tales, and the differences, highlighted in a brief introduction. The author explains, for example, that stories like "The Three Pigs" were exclusively European or from European colonies because "The idea of moving far from home and living on one's own- was once unthinkable in most parts of the world." Each of the three stories in the "Hansel and Gretel" section, from France, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, is terrifying, involving children escaping from a cannibalistic monster. Fortunately, although each creature is huge, it is dull-witted. All of the selections have dramatic dialogue and repetitive phrases and refrains, and are easy to learn. The author's extensive notes list sources and "tale type" numbers based on the classification system developed by folklorists. Vitale's engaging folk illustrations are painted on wood. Borders incorporate culture-specific motifs and designs, and full-page art throughout gives compelling visual appeal. This collection provides a fascinating experience with comparative literature, one that can open doors to other cultures. A must purchase for most collections.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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