American Tall Tales. New York: Viking Press, 1966. Summary



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Stoutenburg, Adrien.                                    Traditional Literature: American Tall Tale         American Tall Tales.


New York: Viking Press, 1966. 

Summary: Lost! is about a prospector who is wandering through the Yukon and gets lost. When he falls asleep, he dreams of a warrior who agrees to send him a guide. The guide is a beautiful Native American woman who turns into a hare to lead him out of the wilderness.  

Concepts/values:
1. All hope is never lost.
2. The tale is a territorial one because the warrior says he must protect his territory.

Reaction:  This story was interesting because it tells a tale of a man whose hope seems lost, just as he is. However, it teaches that we should never lose all hope because the man dreams and a guide helps him find his way out. Children will understand and enjoy this tale because everyone has gotten lost at one time and it is a simple tale with not too many characters so it is not confusing.  

Discussion questions:  
1.  Was there a time when you got lost? -1
2.  How did you find your way back to where you belong?
3.  Why wouldn’t the warrior help the lost man?

Mathias, Robert.                                    Traditional Literature: Aesop Fable          Aesop’s Fables.


Morristown, N.J.: SilverBurdett, 1986. 

Summary: The Sick Lion is about a lion that gets so old that he cannot hunt for food for himself anymore. So, he makes his sickness publicly known and creatures come to visit, feeling bad for him. When they come into his cave, he eats them. Finally a fox figures it out and refuses to enter the lions cave because he sees many footprints going inside, but none coming out.  

Concepts/values:_1._Learn_from_others’_mistakes._2._Come_up_with_solutions_to_your_problems.__Reaction'>Concepts/values:
1. Learn from others’ mistakes.
2. Come up with solutions to your problems.

Reaction:  I liked this story because it can really be relevant to real life. People will try to take advantage of you, just as the lion did to all the creatures. However, we can still be smart like the fox and not allow people to use us and to learn from others’ mistakes.  

Discussion questions:  
1.  Is there another way the lion could have gotten food without eating the creatures? -1
2.  Have you ever learned from someone else’s mistake?
3.  Why wouldn’t the fox enter the cave?

Wolfram, Eberhard.                                    Traditional Literature: Chinese Fable          Chinese Fairy Tales and Folk Tales.


Folcroft: Folcroft Library Editions, 1974. 

Summary: A Foolish Man Buys Shoes is quite the literal translation of the story. A foolish man wants to buy himself a pair of shoes, so he measures his foot and writes down his size. Being foolish, he leaves it at home and so does not have it when he goes to buy the shoes. He runs home to get it and by the time he returns, the store is closed. This whole time he could have just tried the shoes on to find his size.  

Concepts/values:_1._This_myth_encourages_children_to_be_creative._2._It_is_good_to_wonder_about_how_things_came_to_be.__Reaction'>Concepts/values:
1. Don’t be in such a hurry to buy something that you are foolish about it.
2. Slow down and think about your actions.

Reaction:  I liked how simple this tale was, but it is a very good life lesson. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to do things that we do them foolishly. It also tells how it is good to listen to other people’s advice sometimes. They may have a lot of wisdom to share with us.

Discussion questions:  
1.  When have been in such a hurry that you were foolish?
2.  When has a friend ever offered advice to you?
3.  When have you made a wise purchase, that paid off in the end?

Bruchac, Joseph.                                    Traditional Literature: Native American Fable Native American Stories.


Golden: Fulcrum Pub., 1991. 

Summary: The Coyote Dancing With the Stars is about a conceited coyote that wants to dance with the stars so when one comes around by the mountain, he grabs it and dances in the sky with it. However, when he gets tired of doing it, he is too impatient for it to come around the mountain again so he can just jump off. So he jumps off before and falls to his death. A second coyote does the same thing.  

Concepts/values:_1._Things_are_not_always_as_they_appear._2._This_legend_shows_how_Native_American_Legend_instills_the_value_of_trusting_elders.__Reaction'>Concepts/values:
1. Be patient, it will pay off.
2. Do not make the same mistakes as others- learn from them.

Reaction:  This tale really shows that patience is a virtue and that we should not be so conceited in ourselves that we think we can accomplish anything. Children can learn a lot from the foolish coyote who thought he could dance with the stars and then grew tired of it too quickly. We need to be aware of the consequences of our actions.

Discussion questions:  
1.  When have you thought you could do something that you couldn’t?
2.  If the first coyote had been patient, do you think he would still be alive, and why?
3.  What should the second coyote have learned from the first coyote?

Spence, Lewis.                                    Traditional Literature: Native American Myth Native American Myths and Legends.


Stamford: Longmeadow Press, 1993. 

Summary: Creation Myth 1 is about one of the Native American views on how the earth was created. It tells about how a long time ago, an island floated in the ocean and was attached to the sky by ropes on all four corners of it. The animals put the sun on a path that went from east to west every day. It does not tell about how people came to be, just plants and animals.

Concepts/values:
1. This myth encourages children to be creative.
2. It is good to wonder about how things came to be.

Reaction:  There were several myths to chose from about creation and how the world came to be, but I liked this one because it was very imaginative, yet simple. I like the concept of the island floating in the ocean, as the earth, and how it is attached to the sky. I think this myth would get children thinking about how things came into being.

Discussion questions:  
1.  How do you think the world began?
2.  Why do you think the story only tells about plants and animals, and not people?
3.  What would you have done if you were one of the first people on earth?

Shone, Rob.                                    Traditional Literature: Chinese Myth Chinese Myths.


New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 2005. 

Summary: Pangu and the Creation of the World is the Chinese version of creation. It tells the story of Pangu who grew inside an egg until he was so big that he cracked it. The lighter parts of the egg floated up became the sky, and the heavier parts sank down and became the earth. He placed himself between the sky and earth until he got so big and it got so far apart that he died. The parts of him became everything on the earth.

Concepts/values:
1. There is a balance between heaven and earth (yin and yang).
2. Everything on earth is a part of each other.

Reaction:  I liked this story of creation better than the Native American one. I think it does a really good job of explaining the balance between everything on earth and teaching about counterparts. There is not a whole lot of room for imagining things on your own with this story, but it is still very creative.

  1. Discussion questions:  
    1.  How was Yin and Yang created?
    2.  Can you think of other things on earth that balance each other out? -1
    3.  Where is Pangu now?

Coolidge, Olivia E.                                    Traditional Literature: Greek Myth Greek Myths.
Boston: Houghton Miffin Co., 1977. 

Summary: The Wanderings of Dionysus is about how after Dionysus was grown, he traveled about and had many adventures. He was very strong since he was a god so he was able to overcome anyone that stood in his way. However, he did show mercy to those that did not oppose him.

Concepts/values:
1. Do not let anything stand in your way.
2. This myth really has Greek mythology at its core since it shows how strong Dionysus is.

Reaction:  I really think that this is a classic piece of Greek mythology. Generally their myths have a sort of theme about strong versus week. Gods are always extremely strong, as in this one, however they do show mercy to the week. It is only if you oppose them that they will destroy you.

Discussion questions:  
1.  Why did Dionysus show mercy to the helmsmen?
2.  What are 3 characteristics that most gods possess?
3.  What happened when the shipmen tried to capture Dionysus?

Wiget, Andrew.                                    Traditional Literature: Native American Legend Native American Literature and Legend.


New York: Garland, 1994. 

Summary: The Boy and the Turtles is about a little boy that went hunting for turtles in the lake and found something very different. As he was undressing carefully to go into the lake, he saw lots of tiny men float to the surface. He told the elders and they went and saw it too. So, they renamed the lake Man Lake instead of Truth Lake.

Concepts/values:
1. Things are not always as they appear.
2. This legend shows how Native American Legend instills the value of trusting elders.

Reaction:  I enjoyed this legend because it was very class Native American. The story involved animals, and a piece of nature, and described how the name of a lake came to be. It also showed how important it is to trust your elders because after the boy saw the little men at the lake, he immediately told his elders.

Discussion questions:  
1.  What happened to the little boy at the lake?
2.  Why did they rename the lake Man Lake?
3.  Why is it important to tell your elders things?

Levy, Buddy.                                    Traditional Literature: American Legend American Legend.


New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005. 

Summary: The Tarbaby is about how Brer Fox always wanted to eat Brer Rabbit but couldn’t catch him. So he made a tarbaby because he knew that Brer Rabbit would be curious and look at it and get stuck. Brer Rabbit did and when Brer Fox had caught him, Brer Rabbit told him not to throw him in the briar patch, but Brer Fox did. Brer Rabbit fooled him because he was born in the briar patch and loved it.

Concepts/values:
1. It is not hard to outsmart someone if you really think about it.
2. Sometimes being curious can get you in trouble.

Reaction:  I liked how this legend sort of had a surprise ending. Most of the other legends were just simply stories that told how things came to be. This one was short but kept things interesting because it makes you think that Brer Rabbit has been caught and then he tricks Brer Fox in the end.

Discussion questions:  
1.  Why did Brer Fox think that the tarbaby would help him catch Brer Rabbit?
2.  How did Brer Rabbit end up tricking Brer Fox in the end?
3.  When have you ever tricked someone?

Greene, David.                                    Traditional Literature: Irish Legend Irish Literature.


New York: New York University Press, 1971. 

Summary: Legend of Priest and Were-Wolves is about a priest who is traveling through the woods when a werewolf approaches him and speaks to him in human speech. He tells the man that he has a curse put on him and that he is actually human, and so does his wife. He asks the priest to help his wife who is dying, which the priest does. In return, the wolf sets him on the right road.

Concepts/values:
1. Do not judge a book by its cover.
2. Be cautious when making decisions.

Reaction:  This story was interesting because it had an animal with human characteristics. It was also unusual because the man trusts that the wolf is telling him the truth. I would have thought that it would have a different ending where the wolf was a trickster, but it did not turn out that way and that was unexpected.

  1. Discussion questions:  
    1.  Would you have trusted the wolf? -1
    2.  How does the priest feel after he helps the wolf?
    3.  When have you not judged a book by its cover?



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