A love of animals and an appreciation of the many different cultures of the world permeate this audio collection of folktales and legends. Each story is encapsulated within a piece of folk music typical of the country in which the story originates. Both inspiring and comforting, this CD is a worthwhile investment both for younger children and for those who are just starting to learn English for the first time. Each story radiates enchantment, which can be even further enhanced by going online to the website of this women’s collective (www.MythsandTales.com) to check out the whimsically illustrated stories. All the stories can all be printed out and read while one listens to the soundtrack by the renowned gospel musician Laura Hall.
The quirky uniqueness of each tale, marked by a strong sense of humor and compassion, is supported by the strong cast of characters that fill these tales with an awareness of the remarkable endurance of the human spirit in the face of adversity. After an overture that sets the tone for the telling of these stories, each tale is dramatized in turn by a different raconteur of stage and screen – all women, for this CD is a celebration of the woman in us all. ‘The Cleverest Tune’, a British folktale read by Bryce Dallas Howard, describes the capacity of a young girl to fill her home with joy and music on the death of her much-loved father. ‘The Goddess and the Ogre’, a Cambodian legend read by Jessica DiCicco, tells of the enterprising Manimekhala, the goddess of water, who is able to outwit the fearsome ogre Ream Eyso with the help of a wise hermit, who longs for nothing more than “to spread knowledge to everyone who wished to learn”.
‘Whisker of the Lioness’, an Ethiopian tale read by Margot Rose, shows how a daughter’s longing for her mother’s love drives her to overcome her fear of the mother of all beasts of prey, allowing her to gain insight into how to start loving again. ‘The Lady and the Judge’, a Turkish folktale read by Wendy Hammers, reveals how crossing social and class boundaries empowers the wife of a pasha to help a distressed and exploited dustman. ‘Reindeer Maiden’, a Siberian legend read by Yvette Freeman, tells how, by transforming herself into a “shimmering oil lamp”, the Reindeer Maiden is able to elude her ardent suitor, the Moon, and retain her precious freedom. My favorite, ‘Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind’ (recall ‘Annie Get Your Gun’?), an American tall tale read by Paula Poundstone, ends off the collection – the tale of a true frontier gal who captures her man, Davy Crockett, no less!
This collection of legends and (tall) tales will keep you and your children riveted to the CD player! Don’t forget to make the most of their website too…
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