Storyteller Harlynne Geisler
858-569-9399 storybag[a]

Reviews of More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World

More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World was recently selected as a Storytelling World Award 2001 Honor Title by Storytelling World magazine. The book was chosen in Category 5: Storytelling Anthologies.

Review One

This follow up to the editors' Ready-to-Tell Tales: Sure-Fire Stories from America's Favorite Storytellers (1994) is another fine anthology of stories introduced by some of the country's most accomplished storytellers. The first volume included only a few stories from other countries, but this title's focus is on the international, with tales originating from nearly every continent. As the introduction promises, these are short, gripping stories that "kick-in fast" and are "guaranteed to work." Grouped according to type (comedy, trickster, tall) and theme (family and community, codes of conduct, etc.), the selections include a photo of and suggestions from the storytellers. Indexes of tales by cultural source and recommended [age of] audience [from preschool through elementary to adolescents to adults] conclude this excellent resource for both school and public library collections.

Gillian Engberg Booklist Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review Two

Like Holt & Mooney's first Ready to Tell collection, this book urges readers to use their own words in freely retelling the stories provided by well-known tellers from all over the U.S. and abroad. These 55 stories are mostly short, direct versions of public domain world folktales, each elaborated with a unique twist by the teller, but all intended for retelling in your own way.

The book is well planned to be accessible and useful. Each tale has notes indicating its recommended audience or age range. Each is preceded by a short bio and source information from the teller who contributed it, and is followed by notes which further describe that teller's process in developing the story, their experience in using it with various audiences, and advice about how to spice the performance with gesture, voices, sound effects, etc. These generously shared hints, plus the photo portraits of each teller, make readers feel we are hanging out backstage with the featured tellers at a festival, eavesdropping on their reactions and picking their brains for ideas!

Holt & Mooney have arranged the stories by topic: comic tales, wise fools, tricksters, how & why, told with a twist, codes of conduct, wheel of fortune, family & community, and a final "benediction" story. Some of the stories will be familiar to experienced storylovers; some are unusual variants; and some, like Billy Teare's hilarious and creepy "Piper's Revenge," come out of a unique cultural heritage which he graciously shares with us. In the back, stories are cross-indexed by cultural source and audience appropriateness.

I recommend this handbook not just for beginners, but also for practicing tellers who want to enjoy a paper "visit" with esteemed colleagues. All readers will find here some new and refreshing material.

Fran Stallings, Territorial Tattler Newsletter, Oklahoma, August 2000

Review Three:

A companion volume to the 1994 Ready-to-tell Tales, and another gem. Here are 45 tales chosen carefully by 45 of our finest storytellers, who give not only the story but the background of the story and some of the tricks they use to tell it.

The only trouble with this book is that it is so hard to actually choose just one tale to concentrate on. There is scarcely a dud in the bunch.

Kate Frankel Storyline; Publication of the Storytelling Association of Alta California Summer 20001

Review Four:

Joan Wolff of The Patchwork Newsletter March-April 2001 writes: "With a cast of characters to rival a Cecil B. deMille film, this collection presents 45 stories--folk tales, fables, original stories, adaptations, and fairy tales--representing over twenty-five nations as well as several cultural groups including Hindu, Jewish, Native American, Cajun, and African American. All were contributed by the top storytellers of today.

Holt and Mooney have added some interesting features. Each story's text is accompanied by a message, biography, and picture of each teller as well as "Word from the Wise" (tips for telling). Appendices include acknowledgements and indices of stories by cultural sources and stories by recommended audience. Several tellers offer useful storytelling resources.

At 256 pages, this quick-reading tome assists the novice teller in discovering appropriate stories for particular age groups all the while guiding experienced tellers to find fresh material for expansive repertoires. It is designed to be read, reread, used, abused, talked about, thrown around and shared. With the best (and many award-winning) storytellers of today including Susan Klein, Harlynne Geisler, Syd Leiberman, Laura Simms, Charlotte Blake Alston, and Jim May contributing, you will find a feast for your storytelling soul. Taste and enjoy--again and again!

To order the book, go to

More Ready to Tell Tales from Around the World Tale Title Index

Against the Law (African-American)
B'Wahle and B'Elephant (Bahamas)
Barking Mouse (Cuba)
Belly Button Monster (USA)
Bottle Imp
Boy and the Devil (Mexican Borderland)
Changeling (Ireland)
Chelm Medley (Jewish)
Cherry Tree Buck (Pennsylvania Mountains, USA)
Dancing Fiddle (Scotland)
Deer and Jaguar Share a House (Brazil)
Dog Tails (Iroquois)
Edge of the World (British Isles)
Farmer's Fun-Loving Daughter (British Isles)
Grandmother Spider Brings the Light (Kiowa People)
How Hare Drank Boiling Water and Married the Beautiful Princess (Africa - Benin)
How the Rabbit Lost Its Tail (Haiti)
Jean Sot and the Bull's Milk (Cajun)
Juan Bobo's Pig (Puerto Rica)
Kiss of Evil (Iraq)
Little Frog and Centipede (Africa - Haya People of Tanzania)
Man Who Bought a Dream (Japan)
Mary and the Seal (Scotland)
Nixie of the Pond (Germany)
One Wish (Ireland)
Pine Trees for Sale! (Japan)
Piper's Revenge (Scots-Irish)
Praying Mantis
Redmond O'Hanlon and the Wee Fella (Ireland)
Ruby (India--Hindu)
Secret of the Animals (Huron of Quebec) (THE WORD "QUEBEC" HAS AN ACCENT MARK OVER THE LETTER "E")
Sky Is Falling
Snake and the Frog (North American)
Story of Anniko (Africa - Senegal)
Sweet and Sour Berries (China)
Taen-awa (Scotland)
Tail of the Linani Beast (Africa - Western Kenya)
Tale of Delgadina (Chile)
Tales of Aesop (Greece)
Talking Dog (Southern Mountains, USA)
Three Wishes (Sweden)
Tigertail Soup (Jamaica)
Why Armadillos are Funny (Guyana)
Young and Dashing Princess

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