Archive for ‘Folklore’

May 28, 2011

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
Retold by: Verna Aardema
Illustrators: Leo & Diane Dillon
Copyright 1975 Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0-8037-6089-2
Genre: Folklore

In this ancient African tale, the reader enters the world of several animals who lay blame on one another when a tragedy takes place in the jungle.  In the beginning, a mosquito tells a lie that sets a series of events into motion.  When the lion, king of the jungle, calls each animal before him to explain its actions, the animals learn that it is all the mosquito’s fault.  With this tale, storytellers provided an explanation for why the sun rises in the morning and why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears.  With beautifully created illustrations, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears is an excellent example of quality folklore retold for the contemporary reader.

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May 20, 2011

Strega Nona

Strega Nona
Author/Illustrator: Tomie de Paola
Copyright 1975 Half Moon Books
ISBN: 0-8124-4831-6
Genre: Folklore

As with many stories that have been passed on through oral tradition, Strega Nona presents a lesson within the context of an enjoyable read aloud.  After reading, classes can discuss what might happen when one is prideful and make connections between times they might have “shown off” and faced a poor outcome as a result.  De Paola’s pictures illustrate the details in a storyboard format, and the reader may even be able to tell the story without reading the text.  Not only does the story present the context for discussing pride, classroom teachers can also discuss the setting – particularly the time period – and the customs that were a part of daily life at that time.  The mention of priests, convents, and Strega Nona healing headaches and warts can help students connect to the practices and beliefs of those living during that time.

May 16, 2011

Stone Soup

Stone Soup
Author/Illustrator: Marcia Brown
Copyright 1947 Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN 9780689711039
Genre: Folklore

Stone Soup is a wonderful story that has been passed down through the generations and was adapted to create a text version in 1947 by Marcia Brown.  Since then, Stone Soup has been a standard piece of literature in classrooms across the country.  Through the story of three hungry soldiers who are turned away by many of the village inhabitants, the topics of greed and honesty can be discussed with children.  With the use of their irresistable charm, the soldiers trick the villagers into helping them make a large pot of soup that ends up feeding the entire village.  This is an excellent book to help promote generosity and compassion in a classroom.