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Around the World

Tales travel — just as do tricksters — from country to country. Some things stay the same while others may change here and there. Most of the trickiness is done by animals, but on the pages of these books, you'll also meet a very clever boy named Wiley and his mother. Together they outwit the Hairy Man just as Turtle manages to outwit a classic trickster named Anansi.

Meet these and other tricksters as they travel from Africa to the Americas and places on the way. You're likely to laugh out loud when you meet these crafty, sometimes outsmarted, but always enjoyable characters!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa

By: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by: Barry Moser
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A collection of trickster stories — from the Brer Rabbit found in the American South to East Africa's Anansi — are presented from a master storyteller. Watercolor illustrations add humor and verve to each of these outrageous and often funny characters.

Anansi Goes Fishing

By: Eric Kimmel
Illustrated by: Janet Stevens
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Anansi is a known charlatan, so he gets little sympathy when Turtle eats all of the fish that Anansi has learned to catch. But the reader knows that the trickster has not really learned a lesson! Sly humor abounds in both text and image in this lively retelling.

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl

By: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Bruh Rabbit outwits farmer Bruh Wolf again — even after the shrewd hare is stuck fast to the pretty baby girl made of tar. Told in the cadence of the Gullah with full-color illustrations, this version is sure to delight readers and listeners of all ages.

Jump! The Adventures of Brer Rabbit

By: Van Dyke Parks, Malcolm Jones
Illustrated by: Barry Moser
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Brer Rabbit is the quintessential American trickster. Early versions, first collected by Joel Chandler Harris, are retold here without dialect — ideal for reading aloud — and illustrated by lively watercolors to make a timeless trickster accessible to contemporary children.

Please, Malese! A Trickster Tale from Haiti

By: Amy MacDonald
Illustrated by: Emily Lisker
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Malese, a clever lazybones, sets out to get new shoes and he briefly winds up in jail — that is, until he convinces his jailers that it's more trouble than it's worth to hold him there. Bold illustrations evoke the Haitian setting and the humor of one trickster.

Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females

By: Robert San Souci
Illustrated by: Daniel San Souci
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Why does Mister Bear think that the pumpkins he’s sitting on will hatch? Because Miz Goose convinces him so! And she's only one of the funny tricksters whose tales are told in this engaging collection, sure to tickle listeners or readers.

Sungura and Leopard: A Swahili Trickster Tale

By: Barbara Knutson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Sungura, a resourceful hare, and grouchy Leopard decide to build their homes in the same spot. How Sungura outwits Leopard to get him out is told in lively language with boldly lined illustrations that suggest the place in which the animals live and work.

The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

By: Tony Johnston
Illustrated by: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Coyote howls at the moon because of a small, smart, and very tricky rabbit. This lively retelling of an Oaxacan (Mexico) tale has familiar elements like rabbit becoming stuck on a farmer made of sticky beeswax. The energetic tale is complemented by illustrations reminiscent of folk art.

Wiley and the Hairy Man

By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Wiley and his mama live near the swamp; together, they trick the scary ol' hairy man three times, getting rid of him forever. A traditional southern tale has been retold for newly independent readers but loses nothing of the original's energy and suspense.

Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa

By: Gerald McDermott
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

To gain wisdom, Zomo, the small black rabbit, successfully accomplishes a series of impossible tasks assigned by the Sky God in this traditional Nigerian tale. Richly colored, stylized illustrations accompany the simple text — ideal for sharing aloud.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
April 7, 2014
March 27, 2014
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln