A seasonal collection of world folk stories.
Arranged according to the calendar, the selected stories sometimes have tangential connections to the holidays or observances denoted, linked only by culture. With all the stories about Chinese New Year, for instance, why choose an unrelated Chinese folk tale like “King of the Forest,” which does not even feature the animals of the Chinese zodiac? However, most stories have a thematic relationship, like the Indian “Rama and Sita” for Diwali and “The Legend of the Poinsettias” from Mexico for Christmas. Some stories are quite unusual (and sophisticated) such as the Inuit “Skeleton Woman” for World Music Day in June. Although the author includes information that Ramadan is the ninth Islamic month, the holiday is listed in June. Many will not understand that the lunar Islamic calendar means that the holiday can occur in any month in a 33-year cycle. This is a problem with other religious lunar calendars as well. The relatively small font and double-column text on some pages may be off-putting to children, but this is probably a book that adults will read aloud from. Corr’s stylized gouache illustrations in vibrant colors include full-bleed pages and smaller vignettes. Short descriptions of the holidays from many cultures and religions, as well as international commemorations, can be found at the end of the volume, but unfortunately, no story sources are included.
Quibbles aside, this attractive anthology will prove useful. (Folk tales. 7-11)