African-American Folktales for Young Readers
Young, Judy Dockrey
. August House Publishers . Little Rock
PZ8.1.A252 1993 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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A rich book whose stories are easy to like. One section (49-73) is given to animal fables, mysteriously called Animal Tales in the section's headers. Python and Lizard (50) is about friendship betrayed. Mr. Frog Rides Mr. Elephant (55) is known from Br'er Rabbit's ride of Br'er Fox. In Brother Lion and Brother Man (59), the former learns the truth that the latter is the king of the forest. An illustration of the rabbit and bear cheating each other at checkers (48) goes with this tale. In How Br'er Rabbit Outsmarted the Frogs (66, with an illustration on 73), the former gets the latter to dig a supposed grave for Br'er Coon, but really it is just a hole they can no longer get out of. There are good trickster tales and Parables about People. Two good selections among the former are Clever Mollie (101) and Why Brother Alligator Has a Rough Back (103). Perhaps the best of the parables is Meat of the Tongue (111). At the end there are two final Br'er Rabbit fables includingShow me how, this time with a snake under a brick and Brother Rabbit as the clever questioner. I am glad to have found this book. It celebrates Afro-American storytelling well.