CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002
Tales, Then and Now: More Folktales as Literary Fictions for Young Adults is a companion to the first book written by Altman and de Vos called New Tales for Old (1999). Similar to the first volume, Altman and de Vos identify their audience as "storytellers; librarians; researchers; and teachers in high schools, colleges, and universities who deal with folktales in their classrooms" (p. xix). Both volumes deal with the reworkings of traditional stories. The authors describe reworkings as "versions that are more radically changed than simple retellings" (p. xvii). In the second volume, Altman and de Vos present the reworkings of four folktales and five literary fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. The authors describe folktales as stories that originate from the oral tradition and that have a "family tree of written versions going back through several centuries. All of these versions are literary in the sense that they were polished, embellished, and revised by writers to please their anticipated readers" (p. xx). "Literary fairy tale is the term established by usage for stories that imitate folktales in structure, style, and subject matter but are the product of one individual's craft and creative imagination. A literary fairy tale has one original, and therefore definitive version" (p. xx).
Although the authors write in the introduction that they have included the reworkings of "three folktales," there are actually four folktales (they do acknowledge that the two ballads described in Chapter 3 are often interwoven). The four folktales are "Beauty and the Beast," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Tam Lin," and "Thomas the Rhymer." The five literary fairy tales are "The Snow Queen," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Princess and the Pea," "The Little Mermaid," and "The Wild Swans." A consistent organizational structure is followed for each tale: identification of the tale type and motifs; a brief synopsis of the tale; an account of the tale's history; a chronological listing of critical interpretations of the tale; and a summary and discussion of each reworking of the tale (including short stories, films, plays, poetry, song lyrics, films, graphic novels, picture books and Internet resources). Finally, the authors provide classroom extension ideas for each tale for teachers and librarians working with this material and young adults. However, many of the teaching suggestions can easily be modified and used with several of the tales in the book. The concluding chapter of the book is an update of reworkings for the eight folktales discussed in New Tales for Old.
The book is thorough, comprehensive, and carefully researched. The text is well laid out and written in an accessible style. Tales, Then and Now: More Folktales as Literary Fictions for Young Adults is an outstanding resource.
Sylvia Pantaleo is a Assistant Professor of Language Arts in the Faculty of Education, the University of Victoria, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.