Monday, January 22, 2007
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters
McKissack, Patricia C. 2006. PORCH LIES: TALES OF SLICKSTERS, TRICKSTERS, AND OTHER WILY CHARACTERS. Ill. by Andre Carrilho. New York: Random House. ISBN 0375836195 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-10]
In Newbery Honor author McKissack’s new collection of original stories, a companion volume to her THE DARK THIRTY, the wisdom and rhythms of traditional African-American storytellers are echoed for today’s readers. The narrator of each story is a child, lending a sense of legitimacy and power to the younger listener as the various adults are outwitted (if they are bad), vindicated (if they are good), or publicly humiliated (if they are foolish).References to the historical facts of slavery, segregation, and the Klan are telling but slight. The stories begin with the storytellers introducing themselves and setting the stage for the tale that follows.
Carrilho’s black-and-white illustrations have the same exaggerated quality as the stories and always leave plenty of room for the reader’s (or listener’s ) imagination. Booklist’s starred review concludes, “Great for sharing, on the porch and in the classroom.”
Children can take a traditional story that they know well, and twist it to make it their own. Update it, change the ending, put it in a different setting—the possibilities are limitless.
Compare and contrast several stories from the same cultural tradition. What do they have in common? Why do you think these themes/images/characters are so important to this culture?
Other collections of folk stories:
Hamilton, Virginia. PEOPLE COULD FLY: AMERICAN BLACK FOLKTALES. ISBN 0679843361
McKissack, Patricia. THE DARK THIRTY. ISBN 0679890068
Osborne, Mary Pope. AMERICAN TALL TALES. ISBN 0679800891
By Julie Brinker