Monday, December 8, 2008

Got folktales?

Folktales are one of the most enduringly popular genres with children of all ages, including teens who devour young adult novels inspired by these classic stories.

It is no secret that many folktales fall into common types that are echoed in cultures throughout the world. In fact, Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne first classified many folktales by motif in 1910 and his system is still used today.

One way to find variants on a beloved folktale is to go to this website:

Sur la Lune "features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations."

More serious folktale fans should check out Margaret Read MacDonald's The Storyteller's Sourcebook, available at the public library, which indexes literally hundreds of picture books and story collections. This will open up a treasure trove of family reading!

It is a thrill (as well as an engaging topic for discussion and inspiration for one's own writing) to read a variation on a beloved story that has been passed down through the ages.

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