For the storyteller with a particular mission.

ANCIENT STORIES FOR MODERN TIMES

50 SHORT WISDOM TALES FOR ALL AGES

Purposeful stories meant to enlighten older children and adults in both religious and secular settings.

Developed for retelling by a Unitarian Universalist educator, these international tales are short, subtle, and intended for oral presentation. Most are serious and deal with specific themes including acceptance, resistance to oppression, compassion, dignity, and reconciliation. Mogensen also introduces the seven Unitarian Universalist Principles (ideals such as “Justice, Equity, and Compassion in Human Relations” and “A Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning,” among others) and creates indices for themes and these ideals. She arranges the stories in eight behavioral sections, including “Living with the Natural World,” “Living with One Another,” and “Practicing Generosity.” Although a few stories are from religious texts, such as the Talmud or the Buddhist Jataka tales, most of the selections are folk tales, presented here for both their entertaining qualities and their morality lessons. This is an instruction manual for a certain type of storyteller. The introductions provide information about variants or adaptations. The five-minute tales are made easy to learn with story maps or bulleted outlines that follow each tale. There are questions for reflection, and the themes and principles are provided. The source list, given at the end, provides a starting place to learn about folklore. While the manual assumes a largely adult audience, the stories will work with early elementary children.

For the storyteller with a particular mission. (Folklore. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55896-779-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Skinner House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Best for readers who have clearly indicated they would like to take their writing efforts to the next level.

THIS IS A GOOD STORY

A young white girl writes and illustrates a story, which is critiqued by the narrator as it is created.

The girl begins her story by drawing a Hero. Then she thinks maybe a Heroine would be better. Then she decides both will work. She places them in “a good town, filled with good people, called our Setting.” The narrator, an unseen editor who lurks over the artist’s shoulder, tells the storyteller she needs to put in some Conflict, make the Evil Overlord scarier, and give it better action. This tongue-in-cheek way of delivering the rules of creative writing is clever, and paired with Le Huche’s earnest, childlike illustrations, it seems to be aimed at giving helpful direction to aspiring young creators (although the illustrations are not critiqued). But the question needs to be asked: do very young writers really need to know the rules of writing as determined by adults? While the story appears to be about helping young readers learn writing—there is “A Friendly List of Words Used in this Book” at the end with such words as “protagonist” and “antagonist” (glossed as “Hero and Heroine” and “Evil Overlord,” respectively)—it also has a decidedly unhelpful whiff of judgment. Rules, the text seems to say, must be followed for the story to be a Good one. Ouch.

Best for readers who have clearly indicated they would like to take their writing efforts to the next level. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2935-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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