A cornucopia of retold myths and fables gathered from every inhabited continent.
With quaint disregard for rigorous authenticity, McAllister draws largely on old public-domain sources written for general audiences (most of which she helpfully cites at the end) for these 50 tales, tones down overtly violent incidents, and delivers animal-centered episodes that are stylistically similar no matter their (purported) ethnic or regional origins. Looking a bit crammed-in thanks to small type and narrow line spacing, the one- to four-page entries mix familiar stories such as “The Three Little Pigs” (featuring a brick-laying sow named Curly and a wolf who runs away singed but alive) and “The Elephant and the Blind Men” with some semifamiliar entries like “The Bear Prince”—ascribed to “Mexico” but actually reading like a version of the European “Bearskin” with a coyote shoehorned in—and a variety of lower-profile trickster and pourquoi tales. These include why cheetahs have tear tracks beneath their eyes, why pandas are black and white, why warthogs are ugly, and why bears have stumpy tails. In flat, folk-art–style compositions the Romanian-born illustrator scatters a broad variety of small realistic or anthropomorphic animals over stylized landscapes and interior scenes with human figures that are diverse of skin color and facial features but clad in likewise stylized generic national dress.
Broad of scope but parochially Eurocentric in style and vision. (Folk tales. 9-11)