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WHAT’S THE HURRY, FOX? by Zora Neale Hurston


and Other Animal Stories

edited by Zora Neale Hurston & adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas & illustrated by Bryan Collier

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-000643-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

Thomas polishes up nine anecdotes and pourquoi tales collected by Hurston, but only recently rediscovered (along with hundreds more) and published in a collection for adults. Originally transcribed in dialect, their regional flavor has been toned down, but not completely erased: when Porpoise outraces the Sun, for instance, God says, “Aw, no, this ain’t gonna do!” and fixes Porpoise’s tail “on crossways.” Sandwiched between not-quite-identical versions of “Why the Buzzard Has No Home,” these short tales of rivalry (“Why the Dog Hates the Cat”), friendship (“Why Frog Got Eyes and Mole Got Tail”), and troubles explained (“Why Flies Get the First Taste”) will appeal to readers and tellers alike for their simplicity, humor, and action. To all of this, Collier adds an unexpected, but not overdone, layer of visual complexity with painted collages in which easily recognizable animals and background features, abstract forms, and swirls of color coexist. Younger audiences might not know Hurston as a folklorist; here’s help for that, in an inviting mix of new tales and familiar ones made fresh. (Folk tales. 7-10)