Our Folktales: The All-Time Favourite Folktales of Asia

World Scientific. Jan. 2021. 132p. ed. by Wan-Lau, Ruth, ed. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9789811226342.
Gr 6 Up–Wan-Lau chooses one tale each from only eight Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore. Brief notes follow each. In the Chinese zodiac race, Tiger is “very angry to come third,” but Dragon stops to help others; three animals cooperate. The note explains that ethnic Chinese “feel proud to bear the personality traits” of their animal: including the cheats and false friends, like Rat and sneering Snake, taking on the stereotypes of their assigned sign. The positive-message Myanmarese [sic] “folktale” features 20th-century toys. The Indonesian princess is clever; the Malay princess is clever but heartless. The Singaporean slave hero must swallow quantities of a demon’s vomit, but he does become extremely strong. Only the Japanese Issun-boshi/”Inch Boy” is well known in the west. Each tale is illustrated by a different artist, in strikingly different yet consistently stunning styles. The colors are rich, the details vivid and distinctive. Often the backgrounds are flat, providing a perfect field for integrating the art.
VERDICT Although the tales are uneven, the copious illustrations are completely enthralling. An additional purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing