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Jessica Johnson EDU 291 Literature Reviews 106/108 Magnificent!

American Tall Tale

Calhoun, Mary.

Jack and The Whoopee Wind.

New York: William Morrow and Co., 1987.

Summary: A man named Jack lived in a town with wind that blew him and his dog all over the place. Jack could stand the wind no longer so he plotted on ways to get the wind to stop blowing in their town so much. He had many ideas, but only one worked and that was to build windmills in the valley and hook them up to the electricity in their town and, they all became rich.

- Never stop trying to achieve something you have your heart set on.

- Persistence pays off.
Reaction: I liked this tale because of how extravagant it is on how bad wind can be and how they used the wind for their wealth. It is a very good look on how windmills were made.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if your pet was blown away?

- What would you do to help try and get the wind to stop?

- What would you do if you were rich from making windmills?

African Fable

Climo, Shirley.

Why a Monkey’s Not a Man.

New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2005.

Summary: This fable was about a monkey who was told from a Goddess that he would be part of man if he helped her making people. He was so excited that he went all over the forest and gloated about becoming part of man and was then told by the Goddess that since he did nothing to help that he would not become man.


- When asked to do something you should do it right then and not waste time.

- You should not gloat so much, because it will never turn out what you had planned for.

Reaction: I thought this was a good fable for children to learn that they should always do what their parents ask if they want something great in return. It is a nice short story that all children can learn from.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if your parents asked you to help around the house?

- What would you do if you were the monkey and you were told you could not be apart of the humans since you didn’t help?

- How would you help the Goddess if she asked you for help?

English Fable

Lionni, Leo.


New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1997.

Summary: This fable is about four mice who are gathering food for the upcoming winter. There is one other mouse, Frederick, who is doing nothing but he said that he is gathering sunrays and colors and even words when the mice run out of things to say. During winter the mice ate all of their food and then asked Frederick to tell them about the things he thought of when he wasn’t gathering food.

- Don’t underestimate people.

- Don’t try to make people feel bad, because they might have something under their sleeve for you.
Reaction: I liked this story it helps to show that even if you aren’t doing anything physically to help you can be doing something to help mentally and it could mean more to you than you think.
Discussion Questions:

- How would you feel if you were the other four mice and Frederick wasn’t helping?

- How would you feel if Frederick told you about his thoughts when he wasn’t helping?

- What would you do if you were the other mice and Frederick wasn’t helping?

Aesop Fable

Watts, Bernadette.

The Wind and The Sun.

New York: North-South Books, 1992.

Summary: This fable is about the wind and the sun taking a test to see which one could get a cloak off of a mans back. The wind went first and made it very cold and harsh for the man so he held the cloak closer to his body to keep him warm. The sun went last and just sat in the sky shining as bright as it could and eventually the man took his cloak off and the sun won.

- You can get your way with being nice and gentle rather then mean and harsh.

- Never underestimate others.
Reaction: I think this is a good fable for everyone to read so that everyone knows that if you are nice you can get your way. It is good for people to always be nice.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if you were the sun?

- What would you do if you were the wind?

- What would you do if you won the test?

Egyptian Myth

Cashford, Jules.

The Myth of Isis and Osiris.

Massachusetts: Shambhala Publishing, Inc, 1993.

Summary: This story was about a brother and a sister named Osiris and Isis who were Gods and were married. Osiris had a brother named Seth and he was very upset that Osiris was making man and having them bring order to the world. Seth then killed Osiris and Isis was very angry about that and brought him back to life and gave birth to a son, Horus. Horus then fought Seth for what he had done and they finally decided that Seth shall be a slave to Osiris and the sun.

- Karma will always come back to haunt you somehow.

- Trying to hurt someone else will only hurt you.
Reaction: I thought it was a good story to show everyone that you shouldn’t try and get what you want by hurting other people because, it will only end up hurting you.
Discussion Questions:

- Which God would you like to be?

- How would you feel if your brother hurt you like Seth did to Osiris?

- What would you want the punishment to be if your brother or sister was mean to you?

African Myth

Anderson, David.

The Origin of Life on Earth.

United States: Sights Productions, 1991.

Summary: There was life in outer space made up of orisha’s and they had a ruler who told them they could do as they wish in the sky. There was one orisha named Obatala who was not satisfied with the sky RO he wanted to make land and life on earth. The ruler Olorun told Obatala he could do so and so Obatala gathered all the things that he would need for earth. He finally did make earth and started making people with the sand and Olorun made them real.

- With enough belief in your self you can do anything you put your mind to.

- Make sure that you always pay attention to the things you do, just incase you are to mess up and not be satisfied with your self.
Reaction: This was a good myth to show children how to keep working on something even if you might not be perfect, RO everything will come out the way it is supposed to be in the end.

Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if you got to live up in the sky?

- What would you do if you had magical powers?

- What would you want your magical power to be if you had one choice?
Greek Myth

McCaughrean, Geraldine.

The Golden Wish.

New York: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1995.

Summary: This Greek myth was about a man who thought of only gold, and one day a centaur walked through his garden and asked him how to get to Mount Olympus and when Midas told him he wanted to grant Midas a wish. Midas wished that everything he touched turned to gold and it was granted. Midas soon realized that he would starve to death and always be lonely so he went up to Mount Olympus and found the centaur to change him back and it was granted. Midas no longer thought of gold only jewels.

- Don’t wish to hard for something because you might regret it.

- Make sure that you always learn your lesson the first time and listen to others advice.
Reaction: I really liked this story because it shows that wishing for things can cause bad results for most people if you are too greedy. I think that it is a good lesson learner for kids who think that they should get whatever they want.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you wish for if someone told you they would grant you one wish?

- What would you do if everything you touched turned to gold?

- How would you feel if everything around you turned to gold?

American Legend

Keats, Ezra Jack.

John Henry: An American Legend.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1965.

Summary: A man named John Henry was sent off to work and he decided to work with steam boats, at first. He then heard of people making train tracks that went all over the United States and he wanted to make train tracks to have a hammer in his hand once again. He worked and worked on those train tracks and then he had to blast and hammer through a mountain and when he got through he died with his hammer in his hand.

- Always try your hardest and you will succeed.

- Never give up.
Reaction: I really liked this book because it shows children just how they can make a difference in the world no matter how big or how small the task might be. This is inspirational for everyone.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if you were going to sink into the ocean?

- What would you do if you were working on the railroads?

- What would you do if you were told you had to hammer through a mountain?

Spanish American Legend

McCaughrean, Geraldine.

The Death of El Cid.

New York: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1995.

Summary: This legend is of a man named “El Cid” who was banned from his home by the king and he was filled with such pride that he never cut his hair or beard and went out to show the king his loyalty to him even though he was banned. “El Cid” formed an army of men to conquer all the cities that he could and sent back the jewels to the king which eventually pleased him enough to allow him back to his city. “El Cid” was eventually assassinated, but his wife and a close friend took him on one more ride by attaching them to his horse so that his army could take down Morocco.


- Never give up when you have your mind set to something.

- Even though that someone might be dead, there courage and love still lives in everyone’s hearts.

Reaction: I liked this story because it shows people that this man tried so hard to be accepted again by his king and it came out for the better for him ro even though he died his legacy and life still lived on.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if you were banned from your city?

- What would you do if your city was being attacked?

- What would you do if a loved one was killed?

Irish Legend

Peirce, Maggi Kerr.

Redmond O’Hanlon and the Wee Fella.

United States of America: August House Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Summary: This legend was of a man that had money owed to him, but no way of getting it from them, so he tried to talk to others to get them to go across a certain part of land and all refused, but his little nine year old servant boy. The little boy went across this land and got the money back for his master and on the way home a robber came to steal his money but he tricked him and got away with the money. The little boy came home and he was the hero to his master.

- Never underestimate children, because you never know what they can do.

- Karma will come back and make things worse for you.
Reaction: I liked this story because it shows children that if they try things hard enough and are determined they can do great things. It also shows that nothing good comes out of stealing things from others because then something will be stolen from you.
Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if someone tried to rob you?

- What would you do if someone put a gun in your face?

- How would you feel if someone praised for something good you did?

European American Tale

McCaughrean, Geraldine.

The Needlework Teacher and The Secret Baby.

New York: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1998.

Summary: This tale was of a woman who met a prince and they secretly got married behind her fathers back and once the Prince left the woman, Hilde’s side, she had a baby nine months later. Hilde’s father and her husband Prince Hugh had to go off to war together and when they came back, Hilde told her father of everything that was going on and of their new grandson and her new husband, which he approved of.

- You should never hide things from your family, because there is never a way to tell them with out them getting upset.

- Always be honest and be true to yourself also.
Reaction: I didn’t like this story because of the lies that were told and it doesn’t show children how not to tell lies, just how to explain everything after it comes out anyways. I think that it could show more of a lesson on how not to lie to family, no matter how heart breaking it could be to them.

Discussion Questions:

- What would you do if your family lied to you about something?

- What would you do if you were the daughter and your father locked you away in a stone house and could not get out?

- How would you feel if your father never wanted you to marry someone you loved?
Native American Tale

Rodanas, Kristina.

Dragonfly’s Tale.

New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.

Summary: This tale is about a village of people who were blessed with an abundance of food, they decided to have a food fight and the corn maidens that gave them the corn were so disappointed at the village just throwing there food away they made a famine in the village. The whole village searched other places for food and left a brother and sister behind all alone. The boy made his sister a dragonfly and she asked it to bring food to her and her brother. The dragonfly did so and then the people of the village came back with a new outlook on food and the famine they were in.

- Never take advantage of food, because you never know when you could be out.

- Always be kind and courteous because everything will turn out in your favor.
Reaction: I liked this tale because it shows children that if you are nice to others all the time you will get something in return from them or in different ways. It also shows that people shouldn’t take advantage of anything no matter how meaningful it is to life.
Discussion Questions:

- How would you feel if you were left in your house all by your self?

- What would you do if you were in a famine and hungry?

- What would you do to try and get yourself food?

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