Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Marcia Williams
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Elephant's friend Dog is sold away and Elephant mourns until the king returns Dog to him. The scrawny tiger tricks a greedy man to cross the river for a gold bangle, but then eats him. The wise little parrot tricks the cat so that he won't eat her babies who are learning to fly. The fishermen catch two large fish who believes in fate, but the wise fish and the clever fish escape. The foolish lion is tricked into jumping down a well. The golden swan's kindness is repaid with greed. The crocodile is a disloyal friend and the monkey escapes by tricking him. The talkative tortoise cannot hold his tongue which causes him to fall to his death.
The eight folk tales in this book explore themes of friendship, greed, honor, and wisdom. Some of the morals these stories teach are that friendship is priceless, that we should be loyal friends, that it is foolish to leave your life in the hands of fate, that a beast is a beast, and that it is a virtue to know when to be silent. The book is laid out in comic book style panels. Each story is pretty short and the narration is clever and engaging. The illustrations are crude cartoons, but do have bright colors and will maintain the attention of children.
*Contains mild violence (many of the stories deal with characters being eaten, one story is specifically about eating a character's heart).