WHY SNAILS HAVE SHELLS: Minority and Han Folktales from China by Carolyn -- Adapt. Han

WHY SNAILS HAVE SHELLS: Minority and Han Folktales from China

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A very attractive collection of 17 animal fables and pourquoi tales, from a dozen of the 55 minorities that together comprise 7% (i.e., 67 million) of China's inhabitants, plus three from the majority Han (ethnic Chinese). Some tales resemble more familiar versions, e.g., Jataka stories; many involve trickster motifs. The adapter (who collected these stories during the three years she taught English in Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces) retells them with a simplicity and easy informality that especially suit them for sharing aloud. The Chinese illustrator (who teaches at Yunnan Art Institute) uses vibrant, sophisticated colors for portrayals that are stylized, yet animated; his swirling continuous line, filled in with solid color to create animal figures, will intrigue children who have used a similar technique to make nonrepresentational designs. A map shows the distribution of these peoples (large areas of Mongols and Tibetans and a scattered patchwork of others, largely in China's mountainous southwest); the groups' cultural characteristics are summarized in the final pages. An unusual, and unusually interesting, contribution, handsomely and intelligently produced.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 082481505X
Page count: 74pp
Publisher: Univ. of Hawaii Press