This lovely British collection contains retellings of 10 traditional tales from around the world, revised to emphasize living simply and in peace and harmony with the Earth and its animals.
Some of the stories are revisions of familiar tales (Persephone and Demeter, the Tower of Babel and "The Fisherman and His Wife"), while others are less familiar. "The Hunter and the Swan" (from the Far East), "The Saint and the Blackbird" (from Britain) and "The Panda’s Tale" (from China), among others, teach kindness to animals. In "Maha and the Elephant," from Thailand, elephants warn humans of a coming tsunami. Not surprisingly, in more than one tale human greed is contrasted with caring and generosity. The words flow smoothly and make for fine reading aloud. Ray’s charming illustrations, many with her trademark intricate stylization, are an excellent complement to these gentle, nature-loving tales. Unfortunately, although the tales are briefly attributed to regions (Africa, South America) and countries (Thailand, Greenland), no specific sources are cited.
Readers looking for a story collection with environmental themes and minimal didacticism may find what they want here. (Folktales. 5-10)