Eleven fine early-reader, or read-aloud, tales. This collection of traditional folktales, slightly adapted by DeSpain (Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell, 1993, etc.) focuses on the turtle character in his, and her, many guises, using the animal to explain natural phenomena or to illustrate moral lessons. In one Native-American tale, giant turtle siblings are used to create the land that is now California (the earthquakes that occur there are caused by their occasional quarreling). In the Indian story of the ""Talkative King,"" the turtle who wished to fly hut falls from the air because of her inability to hold her tongue provides a lesson to the monarch. ""Leopard's Magnificent Drum"" creatively explains how the leopard got his spots and the turtle his protective shell. Although little effort is made to distinguish between the various cultures through language, these stories are all clear, fast-paced, and fun.