Out of the Ordinary
“Folktale Classics” by Paul Galdone, HMH, $8.99 each. www.hmhco.com/at-home/featured-shops/popular-series/folk-tale-classics-series
Often folktales are too long to read at preschool storytimes, but Paul Galdone’s classic tales are just the right length for reading to young children (and primary graders). Luckily, HMH is reissuing these classics, so libraries needing replacement copies will now be able to purchase these.
Galdone’s narratives are very concise but have the important details of the stories, included repeated phrases that make them perfect for audience participation. Galdone died in 1986, after a long and successful career as a children’s author/illustrator; he received two Caldecott Honor awards.
The illustrations feature Galdone’s signature cartoon-like watercolors with ink details and cross-hatching. Because of the cartoon nature of the artwork and the characters’ humorous facial expressions, these don’t seem as scary as many other illustrated folktales.
One slight drawback to using these with groups is the smaller, square size. Often the original editions were oversized picture books; these new editions measure 8×8 inches. But for classrooms and storytime groups with fewer than 25 children, these should carry to the crowd.
As of this writing, there are 15 classics being republished in these new editions, all traditional European folktales. They do not contain source notes, but generally, these are the best known folktales including The Little Red Hen and The Gingerbread Man, that may not need the source notes that lesser known tales require.
Hopefully, in the future the publisher can add some of the world tales that Galdone adapted and illustrated, including The Monkey and the Crocodile from India. Be sure to check out the publishers’ website for all the details.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool