________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005


Little Book of Nursery Tales.

Verónica Uribe, reteller. Illustrated by Carmen Salvador. Translated by Susan Ouriou.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 2005.
105 pp., cloth, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88899-673-X.

Subject Heading:
Children’s stories, Latin American.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

**** /4


The little pig began building his house - swish, swoosh, swish - and as he worked, he sang a little song:

Here I’ll live in a house of straw so fine
I’ve built a home that I can call all mine
And never will I let the big, bad wolf inside

The next day his house was ready. The little pig was very pleased with how fine his house looked. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him.


This small size collection contains some of the best known nursery tales from Europe as well as some tales which have taken on a Creole flavour after being retold in Latin America. It is a part of the “Little Book” series, and Uribe has two previous titles in the series, Little Book of Fairy Tales and Little Book of Fables which were both published in 2004. Uribe is the co-founder of Ediciones Ekaré in Venezuela, and this book was previously published by them in 1996 and has been translated into English by Susan Ouriou.

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     The stories include The Little Red Hen, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Seven Little Kids, The Three Little Pigs, Half-a-Chick, Cucaracha Martínez, and How Ratón Pérez Came Back to Life. Half-a-Chick is from Spain, and it is like a fable in that the chick does not help anyone or anything in need, and, when the chick needs help, he ends up as the weathercock on the bell tower. Cucaracha Martínez is a Spanish tale told in Latin America, and the cucaracha is a cockroach who marries Ratón Pérez , the mouse. The mouse falls into the soup and is dead at the end of this first tale but is brought back in the sequel, How Ratón Pérez Came Back to Life. This tale is told cumulatively and is often told in Caribbean countries. Also included are five nursery rhymes which are quite unusual like the one titled Pimpimarantula which begins:

Here comes the tarantula,
Asking for a book of psalms
For prayers to keep him calm.

     This little tongue twister is a very interesting play on words which would be fun to act out at a Mother Goose rhyme time. The stories themselves, like The Three Little Pigs, also contain rhymes which add to the rhythmical quality of the stories and make them fun to share. Each of the stories is illustrated with coloured illustrations which have a naive style and appeal. The end papers and repetitive borders on the pages integrate the book’s design. Uribe adds an excellent section on the sources of the stories and also a short bibliography.

     The small size of this book makes it ideal for parents to carry with them easily wherever they go for a quick read or playful rhyme.

Highly Recommended.

Lorraine Douglas is an artist and writer now living in Sidney, BC.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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