A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs
School & Library Binding (October 1993), usually ships within 24 hours.
Reading level: Ages 4-8
From Kirkus Reviews , October 1, 1993
A swell compilation (almost as good as the 150,000 first printing, BOMC choice, etc., suggests) of ``the heart and soul of America's story''--folk tales and songs from major ethnic groups, historical vignettes, and more, all arranged in 15 topical sections (with eight to ten entries each) on historical periods, typical genres (tricksters; nonsense; animal stories), and such quintessentially American topics as railroads, tall-tale heroes, and baseball (including Abbott and Costello's ``Who's on First?''--one of several entries not easily available elsewhere). Cohn's selections are informed by conscience as well as diversity (the ten pieces in the section entitled ``Let My People Go'' all represent African-American points of view); her range, representation, and ear for cadence, humor, and appeal are admirable. The best entries are well-honed songs and stories left in the form in which they earned their popularity; the abridgments, retellings, and historical summaries don't have the same energy, but do help tie it all together and make a vehicle for the art that comprises nearly half of this generously huge book. The 14 blue-ribbon artists, most of them Caldecott medalists, aren't always at their best here, nor do they always work in their trademark styles and media (Van Allsburg's humorous ``Frozen Logger'' is in intricate pen and ink), but there's a wealth of splendid images (Ed Young's concluding ``Earth/always/endures''--Native American), and some intriguing matches (Trina Schart Hyman illustrating a Julius Lester tale originally visualized by fellow contributor Jerry
Pinkney). Introductory comments for each entry plus interesting endnotes (including ``Read More About It'' sections) and more specific acknowledgements yield a lot (but not always the actual sources for the retold stories, and it's cumbersome to search all three). A treasure-trove for browsing, enlivening the curriculum, reading aloud, devouring whole, or returning to nibble again and again. ``Suggestions for Further Reading''; subject guide; chronology; index. (Anthology. 4-12)
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