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TRICK OF THE TALE by John Matthews Kirkus Star


A Collection of Trickster Tales

by John Matthews and Caitlín Matthews & illustrated by Tomislav Tomic

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3646-3
Publisher: Candlewick

Packed with humor and wisdom, this choice collection showcases the timeless, cross-cultural fascination with that most wily and wise character, the trickster. Whether they be hares, foxes, ravens, spiders, frogs, rats, coyotes, lions or crows, the tricksters in these tales use cunning and craft to survive and outwit when everything seems hopeless. Using tales from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe, this collection draws out themes common to the trickster tradition. The familiar African-American Br’er Rabbit has his cultural counterpart in the Hare from Japanese mythology; known as Reynard in French stories, the fox also appears as a favorite trickster in Finnish tales. While most of the tales focus on mundane affairs, several involve weightier deeds, like the Ojibwa Winabijou the Hare creating the world, the Inuit raven stealing back the light and Ghana’s Ananse the Spider forcing the Sky God to surrender all his stories. Tomic’s gloriously rendered pen-and-ink illustrations teem with fascinating detail and capture these clever con artists in action. Diverse in scope and rich in presentation. (introduction) (Folklore/anthology. 10+)