For those who like their folktales mild, this is the perfect introduction. Four continents are represented, with contributions ranging from the familiar (Aesop's fable of the thirsty crow) to obscure legends of the Pueblo and Inuit peoples. Eight of the ten are animal tales, the other two dealing with childless adults who suddenly become parents. The title story from Russia concerns a husband and wife who climb a magic tree into the sky and find a talking rooster. Humor and magic abound in these no-frills adaptations: What the tales lack in individual personality, they make up for in craft. Rockwell (The Robber Baby, 1994, etc.) also livens the pages with unassuming but effective illustrations. Straightforward, easy-to-read, and well-selected, these ten stories draw the farthest corners of the earth closer to the youngest reader.