European folktales

Salt Is Sweeter than Gold by Andrew Peters

Salt Is Sweeter than Gold by Andrew Peters

In Andrew Peters’ Salt Is Sweeter than Gold, an old king has three daughters, but only one will inherit his kingdom. Who should it be? When it’s time to decide, the king holds a grand ceremony and asks in front of huge crowd a simple question: how much do you love me?  The first answer pleases him very much: “I love you more than all the jewels that encrust your fingers and all the gold that lies hidden in the vaults of this castle!”  The second daughter also gives a charming answer: “I love you more than all the land that spreads like an ocean beyond this castle!” But when the youngest, who did truly love him, says simply, “Father, I love you more than salt,” the king is so insulted he banishes her immediately and tells her she is no longer his….  until the day that salt becomes more precious than gold.

Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas

Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas

In the far-off days when the Picts and the Scots were dividing the ancient land of Scotland and fighting amongst themselves to decide who could get hold of the most of it, there came good men from over the seas to settle the land.

--“The Drowned Bells of the Abbey”

Firelight and drumbeat were the original backdrop for these tales, true and added to and some imagined altogether, that are retold in Sorche Nic Leodhas’ award-winning book, Thistle and Thyme.

A Tale Dark and Grimm

By Adam Gidwitz

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Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms' fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The Seven Ravens, Brother and Sister, The Robber Bridegroom, and The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs.

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Finn McCool and the Great Fish

By Eve Bunting

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Irish giant Finn McCool is told that in order to become wise he must catch and eat the salmon that possesses knowledge, but Finn finds that he cannot bring himself to kill the miraculous fish.
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Author of the Month: Uri Shulevitz

Picture book writer and illustrator Uri Shulevitz came into a world on the brink of a devastating war.  The son of son of Abraham and Szandla (Hermanstat) Shulevitz, Uri (pronounced oo-ree), he was only four years old when German bombs falling on Warsaw drove his Jewish family out of the city and into an eight-year period of travel in exile throughout Europe before finally settling in Paris in 1947, when Uri was twelve years old. 

Stories of Hope and Spirit: Folktales from Eastern Europe

By Dan Keding

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Twelve folktales from Eastern Europe are introduced:

The best wish (Croatia) -- The most precious gift (Turkey/Croatia) -- The first story (Georgia) -- The tsar's ears (Serbia) -- Strawberries in winter (Slovakia) -- The prince who married a frog (Croatia) -- The three brothers and the pot of gold (Moldavia) -- One man's trouble (Latvia) -- The enchanted princess (Russia) -- The old traveler (Estonia) -- How a rich man learned a lesson (Chechnia) -- Nail soup (Croatia) -- Telling the tales.

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Wonder Tales

By Marina Warner

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Marina Warner introduces this collection of six seventeenth-century French fairy tales with an explanation of how the literary form was invented by French aristocrats during the reign of Louis XIV. Gilbert Adair, John Ashbery, Ranjit Bolt, A. S. Byatt and Terence Cave have written elegant transalations of “The White Cat”, “The Subtle Princess”, “Bearskin”, “The Counterfeit Marquis”, “Starlight” and “The Great Green Worm."
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