Genre- Traditional Literature

Title: Why the Crab Has No Headwhy-the-crab-has-no-head

Author: Barbara Knutson

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books, INC.

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Date: 1987

Summary: “Retails the African folktale from the Bakongo people of Zaire in which Crab’s pride influences his creator, who leaves Crab without a head to make him humble.”

Strengths: I enjoyed this story. It is very interesting and it makes you want to get to the end quick so you can find out why the crab has no head, but also I like that the author included the fact the crab was sideways. I thought there was a lot of culture in the story with the story, but especially in the illustrations.

Concerns: I did not like that the book doesn’t have any color. I think the illustrations would be more eye catching if there would have been color added. I think more kids might choose to read the book if there was color. I also thought that for younger kids the lesson behind the story might be hard for them to grasp. The teacher might have to explain some things after the story.

Classroom Use: Again, this book could be used in a lesson about African culture or as a part of different folk tales. The teacher could read this book to the class. Then she could have the students individually or in groups think of an animal and make a story of how that animal got a characteristic. For example, maybe how the leopard got its spots or how the frog got its super long tongue.

Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Traditional Literature

Title: The Stone Cutter

Author: Pam Newton

Publisher: G.P. Putman’s Sons

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Date: 1990

Summary: “A retelling of a traditional Indian tale in which a discontented stonecutter is never satisfied with each wish is granted him.”

Strengths: I truly loved this book. The illustrations were really detailed and fun. The language was discriptive and filled with emotion. I could feel for teh stonecutter as he was in each in wish. I liked that each time he wanted to be something else, he repeated “then I would be truly happy.” I feel if this was read to students they would start to jump in on that line and repeat with the teacher. My favorite part was the ending. I did not see it coming, I thought he might be stuck as something he didn’t want to be. The stonecutter realizes that being a stonecutter is exactly what he wants to be. This teaches kids, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Concerns: I felt the tigger in the book was just thrown in there. I thought the tiger would be the one to grant the wishes, but it was the mountain spirit. I didn’t understand what the point of adding the tigger was.

Classroom Use: This book could be read in a lesson about traditional literature or folk tales. This book teaches a great lesson. It could also be read just for the lesson it teaches to students.

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Traditional Literature

pretty-salmaTitle: Pretty Salma

Author: Niki Daly

Publisher: Clarion Books

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Date: 2006

Summary: “In this version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” set in Ghana, a young girl fails to heed Granny’s warning about the dangers of talking to strangers.”

Strengths: I like that the pictures are simple but just enough to make the pictures go along with the story. I like how the author used aspects of “Little Red Riding Hood” in this story, but still made it unique and different.  It is great that there are some pronouncations in the front of the book of the different Ghanaian words used in the story.  Toward the end of the book when Mr. Dog gets to Granny, I like on the top half of the book they show Pretty Salma and Grandfather dressed up on there way to Granny’s house to scare the wolf.

Concerns: It bugged me when Pretty Salma gets to Granny, Granny doesn’t realize it is not her and is Mr. Dog. I understand it is a vital point in the story. Granny gives Mr. Dog a bath and still doesn’t realize it is Pretty Salma. It bothered me, because clearly Granny should have recognized her Salma especially if she is Pretty Salma.

Classroom Use: This book could be used when talking about traditional literature in the classroom. Little Red Riding Hood is a popular folktale, with many varieties. Teachers could use Pretty Salma when talking about the different ways a story can be told. It would be a great book for a specific lesson or topic on the African culture.

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 6:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Traditional Literature

handful-of-beansTitle: A Handful of Beans

Author: Jeanne Steig

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Date: 1998

Summary: A book with a collection of six fairy tales with a few illustrations to go along with each one. The fairy tales include: Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Strengths: Fot the most part the six different fairy tales are told like I remember them. There might be a few differences, but not many. I like the idea of six fairy tales in one book and I like the size of the book is smaller than a normal book. There are few pictures, but they are still fun to look at.

Concerns: There is a lot of text in these fairy tales with very few pictures. This could be a problem if a teacher tries to read the fairy tales to the classroom. They might not pay attention for long. There is a lot of use of white space and as I was reading I did not appreciate it. I thought it would have been nice for some more pictures or even spot drawings.

Classroom Use: This book would be hard to use in the classroom. There are not a lot of pictures, so it might be hard to read it to the class and keep them entertained. The only way I can think of to use it is to show students the different variety of fairy tales and the different versions.

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Traditional Literature

Title: Finn MacCoul and His Fearless Wifefinn-maccoul

Author: Robert Byrd

Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Date: 1999

Summary: “With the help of his brave and clever wife, Finn MacCoul bests the fearsome giant Cucullin.”

Strengths: This book is so fun and has really great illustrations. The story line is great and I like how the wife is the dominant character in the book. She pushes Finn aside and deals with Cucullin on her own. I like the way she tricks Cucullin. As an adult reading the book, I wanted to read the book faster and get through the pages to see what would happen. I can only imagine students would love it as much as I did. Also, in the back of the book is a pronunciation guide of the names in the book.

Concerns: I cannot think of any concerns I have about this book.

Classroom Use: This book would be great to act out as a class. I think it would be fun to assign students different characters and allow them to really get into character by acting parts out and changing their voice to match their character. It might also be a great book to read and then have students come up with their own ending. The students would have to think of different ways to trick Cucullin.

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment