Books by Natl. Assn. for Preservation & Perpetuation of Storytelling

Released: Nov. 1, 1992

A sequel to last year's Best-Loved Stories that, again, is a literary record of oral tellings that have taken place at the national festival, held annually since 1973. The 39 pieces represented here come from a rainbow of places, including Japan, Norway, Israel, Vietnam, and Persia; and from a number of indigenous cultures—African-American, Native American, and southern, etc. All the tales include concise, useful comments about origins, and most are told simply, usually incorporating a kind of moral or folk-culture epiphany: ``The Boy with a Keg,'' for instance, told by Carol L. Birch, is the story of a boy who meets God, the devil, and Death. The piece, in which the boy barters with Death, is not as richly textured as the best-known tales of Grimm, but it uses a strong plot and folk wisdom to entertain and amuse. ``The Calico Coffin,'' an Appalachian tale told by Lee Pennington, is more gothic, a take on the story Poe loved so much about a beautiful young woman who is unknowingly buried alive. Some tales, such as John Basinger's ``Chester Behnke Goes Hunting,'' use characters who are alter egos of the teller and whom the teller often reuses. Others, such as Luisah Teish's ``The Legend of Obi Gui Gui,'' based on a Yoruba tale from Nigeria that explains why coconuts fall from trees, allow us to experience tribal reality as filtered through the mind of an oral folklorist. Once again, a robust and entertaining collection. Most of the tales are suitable for adults and children alike, and a number would make good bedtime reading. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

A robust collection of yarns ranging from ancient Scottish folklore to a modern, urban twist on ``Cinderella''—contributed by professional storytellers whose backgrounds are equally diverse, and published to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the annual Jonesborough, Tennessee, National Storytelling Festival. A midwestern farm boy rings a bell to warn his field-bound father of trouble; a Japanese samurai betrays and abandons his faithful wife; a peasant boy asks a witch to sell him a pot of brains. So go the often eccentric tales in this collection of 37- -many autobiographical, some handed down from older relatives in pre-television days, others garnered from fellow storytellers or culled from books in distant libraries. Together, they evoke both a universal delight in the extraordinary and a powerful respect for truth and justice—all the more remarkable considering the widely varied contexts from which they spring. The storytellers themselves, many of them former librarians or teachers, along with a few actors, cultural preservationists, and some who simply grew up hearing stories and continued telling them as adults, offer brief descriptions of each tale's history and the reasons for including it here. The result is a refreshingly unsystematic journey through some of America's most isolated corners, in which unlikely accounts pop up at every turn (of the boy who nailed his grandmother's tablecloth to her dining room wall; the American Indian woman who married a ghost; the Cajun girl who fought the Devil and won)—entertaining and inspiring for adults and children. A valuable resource for librarians, teachers, and all those who seek an audience. Read full book review >