Serving a sentence in a prison in Mexico, Libertad González finds a clever way to pass the time with the weekly Library Club, reading to her fellow inmates from whatever books she can find in the prison’s meager supply. The story that emerges, though, has nothing to do with the words printed on the pages. She tells of a former literature professor and fugitive of the Mexican government who reinvents himself as a trucker in the United States.
Fifteen brief folktales in which there is a mystery or problem that the reader is invited to solve before the resolution is presented.
Batty’s efforts to impress visitors at the zoo fail, but he is determined to be popular like the other animals. First he goes to the penguin pool but the water is cold and he doesn’t like fish. Then he tries the gorilla enclosure but he doesn’t have any fleas for the gorillas to pick off him. He tries to laze in the sun with the lions but its far too bright for his sensitive eyes. When eventually he returns to his bat cave he finds that everyone else is trying to be like him, hanging upside down. This clever and witty story is brought to life with Batty’s upside down view of his surroundings, involving the reader in turning the book upside down with him.
In these three imaginative stories, Jan Andrews introduces us to Quebec’s traditional folktale hero, Ti-Jean. He’s an endearing character who is both wise and foolish, and though he does find himself in hard situations (often of his own making), in the end, he somehow manages to do what needs to be done. In “Ti-Jean and the Princess of Tomboso” he eventually outwits a greedy princess; in “Ti-Jean the Marble Player” he gets the best of a pint-sized scoundrel; and in “How Ti-Jean Became a Fiddler” he turns the tables on a too-clever-for-her-own-good seigneur’s daughter, and finds true love in the process.
A willy fox outwits Jaguar in three trickster tales set in the jungles of South America.
With the help of a blue crane, a mother dove rescues her babies from a not-so-clever jackal.
Khoikhoi, Southern Africa
To keep from being eaten, an inchworm measures a robin’s tail, a flamingo’s neck, a toucan’s beak, a heron’s legs, and a nightingale’s song.
The youngest of a merchant’s three sons proves that he is not as foolish as he was thought to be when he trades a sackful of onions for a fortune in diamonds.
Originally published: New York: Random House, 1967.
As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem.
This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.