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Trick of the Tale: A Collection of Trickster…
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Trick of the Tale: A Collection of Trickster Tales

by John Matthews, Caitlin Matthews (Author)

Other authors: Tomislav Tomic (Illustrator)

Series: Templar Collector's Classics

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Characters: The tricksters include the expected—Fox, Raven and Coyote—and the unexpected, Frog, Crayfish and Wren.

Setting: The trickster tales are set in the usual nondescript places, including the forest, a well, and the depths of the Earth.

Theme: “These tales show you how to value life’s gifts [intelligence, wit, abilities, and cunning resilience] to the fullest.”

Genre: Traditional folk tales; trickster motif

Golden quote: From the introduction: “The appeal of the trickster is simple—whether hungry wolf or helpless frog, the trickster finds a way to win out when all seems hopeless. Whatever its size, each trickster animal draws upon its own intelligence, abilities, and cunning resilience to bluff, cheat, dodge, or decoy—and so to escape from present danger and gain its freedom. Whether you are a clever fox or an underdog, these tales show you how to value life’s gifts to the fullest.”

Audience: Children ages 5 to adult

Curriculum ties: ELA—students could write their own trickster tales, using the less typical animals, and including characteristics typical of the trickster motif. Geography—Students trace the location and origin of each story, on a map and a creating timeline that includes all of the stories. Students analyze figurative language, making up their own examples.

Personal response: This is a very well-done collection of trickster tales, with a beautifully illustrated cover (starring a sly-looking fox) that fulfills its promise with lush, lovely illustrations throughout. The fine-lined engravings are very detailed and expressive, reminiscent of Albrecht Durer’s work, but, appropriately, with more humor and whimsy. The drawings often wrap around the text becoming part of the page’s borders. The only color in the drawings is around the borders, in lovely, delicate detail. The stories are beautifully written, with vivid, lively, (sometimes figurative) language. These are so carefully crafted that the reader won’t soon forget them. Each tale is introduced with one enticing line of scrolling text. The dialogue in each tale is never flat or dull, but clearly conveys the sense of each character who speaks. ( )
  salps | Mar 1, 2013 |
Matthews, Caitin & John. Illustrated by Tomislav Tomic. Tricks of the Tale: A Collection of Trickster Tales from Around the World.

Title of myth: How the Raven Stole Back the Light

Characters: Raven; Tupalik (great magician); Tupalik’s daughter; Tupalik’s wife; the sun; the Inuit people

Setting: Somewhere in Inuit territory (Canada)

Theme: folktale; myths; legends; anthology and collections; explanation of natural phenomena (periods of darkness that occur in the Northern hemisphere)

Genre: Traditional literature; folklore; ancient myths; oral traditions; trickster tale

Golden Quote: “…every now and then Tupalik manages to steal back the sun. But clever Raven always manages to return it to us.”

Summary: Enter (carefully) the world of the tricksters, those wily creatures who lie their way out of trouble, cheat when they get a chance, and devise elaborate tricks to get what they want - with delightfully unpredictable results. This truly diverse, elegantly illustrated collection follows such clever characters as Anansi, Coyote, Brer Rabbit, and others who play a role in a multicultural array of storytelling traditions, from African to Inuit to European, Tibetan to Native American to Japanese.
Celebrate the slyest trickster tales from around the world in a lavish volume that gives a well-loved story tradition its rightful due

Summary of myth: This tale, from the Inuit people of Canada, shows how a trickster could sometimes by helpful to mankind.
Tupalik, a great magician, stole the light of the sun for himself and his family. Because the people had no sunlight, they were growing weak and dying. They sought out Raven to save them. This tale tells the story of how the beloved trickster character, Raven, brought back the light to save the Inuit people.

Audience: Grades 3 and up

Curriculum ties: unit on different cultures’ traditional folklore and myths; compare and contrast different versions from other parts of the world; students can research folklore of their own ancestry, what are the common elements of trickster tales?
Awards: None

Personal response: Raven is a reoccurring trickster animal found in the folklore of the Inuit culture of Canada and in other cultures of the Pacific Northwestern part of the United States which illustrates the theme that sometimes trickery can be used for good. Raven comes to the rescue by infiltrating the home of Tupalik, disguising himself as a feather floating down the river just as Tupalik’s daughter is gathering water, and is intentionally ingested by her in order to transform into her immaculately conceived son. In an attempt to try to take the light, the baby Raven child screams and cries until Tupalik is will to give him anything he wants to stop making a fuzz. When he makes a gesture to hold the bag with the sun in it, Raven releases the sun at once and turns back in Raven the bird to reveal his true form. Through his clever trickery, he is able to restore the light back to the people and is revered as a sympathetic hero to the Inuit people. Raven possesses the characteristics of cleverness, sympathy, and callousness, all of which are also aspects of some trickster creatures found in traditional literature. ( )
  Angie.Patterson | Mar 1, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Matthewsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matthews, CaitlinAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Tomic, TomislavIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763636460, Hardcover)

Celebrate the slyest trickster tales from around the world in a lavish volume that gives a well-loved story tradition its rightful due.

Enter (carefully) the world of the tricksters, those wily creatures who lie their way out of trouble, cheat when they get a chance, and devise elaborate tricks to get what they want —- with delightfully unpredictable results. This truly diverse, elegantly illustrated collection follows such clever characters as Anansi, Coyote, Brer Rabbit, and others who play a role in a multicultural array of storytelling traditions, from African to Inuit to European, Tibetan to Native American to Japanese.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:23 -0400)

An illustrated collection of tales featuring notable trickster characters such as Raven and Hare, from the folk traditions of many countries.

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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