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The Serpent Slayer: And Other Stories of Strong Women

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This volume is an anthology of 18 stories about heroines with as much courage, wit and intelligence as their more familiar male counterparts. It includes Li Chi, the serpent slayer, and the old woman sly enough to outsmart the devil.


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This volume is an anthology of 18 stories about heroines with as much courage, wit and intelligence as their more familiar male counterparts. It includes Li Chi, the serpent slayer, and the old woman sly enough to outsmart the devil.

30 review for The Serpent Slayer: And Other Stories of Strong Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hazel

    I've just read this quickly before sending it to my niece. I'm disappointed that the prose doesn't sparkle. Tchana is a pedestrian stylist and there are certainly better-written folktales. But the content is fabulous. The 'princesses' are bright, curious, patient, physically courageous, thoughtful, assertive girls; heroines every one. There's a canny old woman who outwits the the devil, and a poor peasant girl who stands up to the king. I'm particularly pleased that there are many black/brown gi I've just read this quickly before sending it to my niece. I'm disappointed that the prose doesn't sparkle. Tchana is a pedestrian stylist and there are certainly better-written folktales. But the content is fabulous. The 'princesses' are bright, curious, patient, physically courageous, thoughtful, assertive girls; heroines every one. There's a canny old woman who outwits the the devil, and a poor peasant girl who stands up to the king. I'm particularly pleased that there are many black/brown girls, and that the excellent, evocative illustrations show strong, healthy, active bodies. Not an anorexic or silicone victim in the bunch. This should be a good antidote to Disney. Highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    Hyman's illustrations are wonderful, as always. The stories selected are often relatively obscure ones, which was a great change from the famous few that get told over and over. The text is substantial and perfectly suitable for teens and adults as well as children. The volume is large and heavier than the standard picture book, so smaller children may find it a bit hard to hold on their own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    christina

    ★ true rating: 2.5 stars ★ This book was a real mixed bag for me, which was surprising because I LOVED the author's other book, Changing Woman and Her Sisters: Stories of Goddesses from Around the World. A lot of these stories were just borderline cringe-y, and the only thing they had going for them was that the main character HAPPENED to be girl. meh. below are a few of my favs out of the 18 stories featured: The Serpent Slayer Nesoowa and the Chenoo The Rebel Princess The Magic Lake Grandmother's Sk ★ true rating: 2.5 stars ★ This book was a real mixed bag for me, which was surprising because I LOVED the author's other book, Changing Woman and Her Sisters: Stories of Goddesses from Around the World. A lot of these stories were just borderline cringe-y, and the only thing they had going for them was that the main character HAPPENED to be girl. meh. below are a few of my favs out of the 18 stories featured: The Serpent Slayer Nesoowa and the Chenoo The Rebel Princess The Magic Lake Grandmother's Skull Staver and Vassilissa Tokoyo The Lord's Daughter and the Blacksmith's Son ------------- Picture Books About Mythology with Strong Female Leads: (these books feature myths from all over the world and include sources) The Serpent Slayer: And Other Stories Of Strong Women ★★★☆☆ Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls ☆☆☆☆☆ The Woman In The Moon And Other Tales Of Forgotten Heroines ★★★☆☆

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Beautiful, earthy illustrations of fairy tales from around the world. Trina Schart Hyman has been my favorite illustrator all of my life, and I seek out her work, no matter where it is. To my glee, Hyman tends to pick fantastic projects.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I LOVE this book, the stories are interesting and they feature women being strong and smart.Every little girl should have this book. Every story in the book that we have read so far have been top notch, i am so thankful someone posted about this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Trina Schart Hyman--who did the illustrations to this--is quickly becoming my reigning Queen of Illustration--alas, that she is dead. I feel that I need to own all the books she did artwork for--it's nuts. It's a fever that overtakes me. Just brilliant, beautiful work

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    this book + girl scout campfire storytime = fierce little women. the illustrations alone make this book worth owning.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    This is my favorite book of fairy tales from my childhood and I really enjoyed revisiting it. I absolutely love Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie J Schwartz

    A review of The Serpent Slayer: And Other Stories of Strong Young Women by Katrin Hyman Tchana and Trina Schart Hyman: Content = AWESOME This collection of stories is actually diverse. There are girls from a wide variety of cultures represented. The Barber's Wife (Indian) Grandmother's Skull (Native American) The Magic Lake (Latin American) And it's not just stories about young women, either: The Old Woman and the Devil (Middle Eastern) Illustrations = AWESOME Lots of different representations of beauty A review of The Serpent Slayer: And Other Stories of Strong Young Women by Katrin Hyman Tchana and Trina Schart Hyman: Content = AWESOME This collection of stories is actually diverse. There are girls from a wide variety of cultures represented. The Barber's Wife (Indian) Grandmother's Skull (Native American) The Magic Lake (Latin American) And it's not just stories about young women, either: The Old Woman and the Devil (Middle Eastern) Illustrations = AWESOME Lots of different representations of beauty here, folks. Beebyeebyee and the Water God (African) Duffy the Lady (English) Clever Marcela (Filipino) Sister Lace (Chinese) Prose = so-so Hey, you can't have everything, I guess. The prose gets the job done, but it's nothing to write home about. But with stories like these, I'm not sure I can really even complain. The Rebel Princess (Jewish) Four Stars: This book was really really good and I'll definitely recommend it to people with relevant interests.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    The Serpent Slayer tells the legend of Li Chi, a child of the village of Yung Ling who has volunteered to be sacrificed to a dragon terrorizing their home. A sorcerer hired by the village to find a solution for the dragon's rampaging of their farms and livestock proclaimed that the beast would only be appeased by the sacrifice of a young woman once a year. The sorcerer stuck around to enjoy the people reverence of him while girl after girl is sent off to her death. But Li Chi decides enough is e The Serpent Slayer tells the legend of Li Chi, a child of the village of Yung Ling who has volunteered to be sacrificed to a dragon terrorizing their home. A sorcerer hired by the village to find a solution for the dragon's rampaging of their farms and livestock proclaimed that the beast would only be appeased by the sacrifice of a young woman once a year. The sorcerer stuck around to enjoy the people reverence of him while girl after girl is sent off to her death. But Li Chi decides enough is enough and takes on the dragon head-on. This is one of my favorite Chinese legends and one I only learned of recently via a fascinating website called Rejected Princesses. Li Chi comes up with a plan to do what the rest of the village is too scared or cowed to try, and returns the bones of the other nine girls for proper burial. Starting the book off with a dragon-slaying badass. The Barber's Wife is fed up with her charming but lazy husband and sends him to the king to beg for food. When he messes up the request and comes back with a plot of wasteland instead, she realizes if she wants their fortunes to turn she's going to have to do it herself. The barber's wife was a great character who used clever, sensible solutions to her problems, unlike other fairy tales I could mention where the 'clever' solution made no rational sense. She needs the property plowed but can't afford the animals, so she convinces some onlookers that a relative buried her inheritance on the property but she can't find where. Sure enough, the onlookers snuck back to find it for themselves and it was all dug up by next morning. Her solutions continue in that vein, and she keeps her husband around, who may be lazy but who's also pointedly described as good-looking and able to make her laugh. In Nesoowa and the Chenoo, Nesoowa and her husband go hunting in The North Wood which known to be walked by the Chenoo, an evil cannibal people. When alone at their camp an injured Chenoo happens across her, and she throws him off balance by welcoming him as her father and sharing her meal and fire. Nesoowa keeps up the charade for a few days, unsure how to escape, when a rival Chenoo finds them. It's a pretty good story about respect and affection winning over a monster, with a bit of magic at the end to finish him off for good. Clever Marcela is a Filipino version of one of my favorite fairy tales. Marcela meets the Prince and a battle of wits between the two ends in marriage, provided she sticks to one rule: not to interfere with her husband's verdicts. But when he makes an absurd decision and Marcela fees compelled to correct it, she's given the boot and ordered to take whatever she wanted with her. Naturally, she solves it as any clever woman in love would. I've heard this story many times before and it always pissed me off that the King would make such an absurd ruling to begin with, so I liked that here it's addressed as him not paying attention to the case. Also the versions I'd always heard before had her father thrown in prison because he found a golden mortar and brought it to the king, who accused him of keeping the golden pestle for himself. If he did, that's his right as the one who found the damn thing. And don't act like you actually wanted the full set, what the hell is anyone going to do with a solid gold mortar and pestle? They'd be too soft to actually use. This way makes way more sense, with the king meeting Marcela and being fascinated with her right off the bat. And she gets rewarded with the title of Chief Justice, which is pretty awesome. When the emperor hears of Sister Lace and her stunning creations, he has her brought to his palace to marry him. She refuses and is imprisoned, and he offers to release her if she can make him a live rooster in 7 days. Her skill and blood bring her creature to life, but each time the emperor refuses to grant her freedom and is attacked, and each time he demands she make something else. A sweet legend of the making of the stars; one of my favorite creation legend subjects to read. Judith is The Rebel Princess who sets sail to escape an arranged marriage and run off with the prince/schoolmate she'd fallen in love with. The two are separated at a brief stop and Judith accidently comes into the company of a merchant's son, who threatens her into sailing off with him under the condition that they not marry until after making land in the boy's home town. He runs off to announce her, and Judith steals his ship. Trying to sail back the place she last saw her lover she becomes turned around in a storm and crosses paths with a king. Much the same happens as before and the king provides her with 11 ladies-in-waiting to serve her, whom Judith talks into becoming sailors and they all steal away. Now armed with a ship (still full of cargo), a full crew, and Judith herself (a pretty impressive weapon by this point), they happen across a crew of pirates who decided to each marry one of the women. That night the women steal their clothes, their treasure, and their lives. It's no surprise at this point that there's nowhere for Judith to go anymore but up, and when she fails to save a drowning king she is crowned in his place. A really fantastic story with a happy ending for everyone involved, including the merchant's son who'd lost a shipful of cargo and the king who'd lost the daughters of 11 noblemen. Judith gets her man and her adventure. In a story from Cameroon, Beebyeebyee and the Water God tells of a girl who comes to the romantic attentions of a water god, and in return for her love he gives her a boatful of fish to take back to her village. The two wed but the actual fishermen get so pissed off about Beebyeebyee upstaging them that they discover her trick and kill her husband, dooming their village. Not a great character, Beebyeebyee is a lazy brat from the get-go and I have a deep sympathy for the fishermen (not that murder was a viable reaction, of course). She's cheating them out of their livelihood and yet still being just as lazy as she ever was. Nice setup; lame heroine. Kate Crackernuts is on the hunt for a way to break a spell placed over her step-sister, who now has the head of a sheep thanks to Kate's mother's jealousy. On the way she accidently breaks a 12-Dancing-Princesses spell placed over a prince. I'm more familiar with this as Tatterhood, where the main character is more interesting than just being nice (she's an ugly, high-spirited ball of goat-riding chaos) and her quest for her sister is always front and center, not sidelined to rescue a prince. This version is fine, but it switches plots halfway through and none of the characters are particularly interesting. In The Magic Lake, an emperor's son falls ill and he offers a reward for whomever can find the magic lake whose waters will cure him. Sumac's brothers fail to find it and try to trick the emperor with ordinary water instead, and now Sumac must find the magic lake and ask that they be freed from prison. A nice story, but there was just something about it that was missing. I think it might trace back to how she defeats the monsters. They don't present any challenge at all. And the way she found out about the lake didn't require any particular skill or attribute, just the bad luck to keep her food where birds could get to it. Anyone at all could have found the magic lake. The Old Woman and the Devil is a brilliant story of an old woman trying to get the devil to leave her spot in the shade, and ends up making a bet that she can break up a loving couple whom even he hasn't managed to corrupt. It's a fun story with a old woman showing off just how much smarter she is than the devil, especially when she ups the ante and reunites the couple she's broken up. Loved it. And it has one of the best illustrations in the book (one I can't find online to share with you): It's an Arab fairy tale, but the devil is modeled after the old images of the bright red goatman with stubby horns and a forked tail. His outfit (I'm sorry, I'm having more trouble finding the exact words than I thought, it's a long tunic and matching but darker pants) is the bright red of the goatman, and he has the stubby horns and forked tail and goatee, but he's a tall, lanky Arab man with a bright red fez and a really annoyed expression, and it's just so damned cute. I keep going back just to look at it. A handsome suitor captures the heart of Neruvana, who weds him and leaves with him for a hunting trip. After several days alone, they return home together, but the homestead is empty and bloody and Neruvana is shocked to find her husband casting off and abandoning her with her murdered family. But she is not entirely alone, as Grandmother's Skull calls to be dug up so it can advise the girl of her path to security, self-sufficiency, and justice. A thrilling story of revenge and ancestor magic. Neruvana is forced to do all the jobs the various family members do and she becomes an invaluable asset to herself and others. Wouldn't mind reading this one again. Also, a great moral: Don't marry someone until you're sure they're not mass murderers. In Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin, Maria's husband returns from war a changed man, and a visit to the bruja sends Maria on a quest to find the missing ingredient to make the charm that will return him to the man she first married. One of the best in the book, Three Whiskers takes a very unusual approach for a fairy tale. The husband has PTSD and the wife sets out into the jungle to bring back the three whiskers for the charm, and she faces all sorts of dangers using patience and persistence. Finally she returns with the hairs and is told that *spoiler* there is no magic charm, and she can bring her husband back to himself by using the same care and determination she used to get the whiskers. Duffy the Lady is a variation of Rumpelstiltskin with a housekeeper who can't knit or spin getting a job for a squire doing exactly that. She's approached by a devil who offers to do it for her if she'll be his bride in three years time unless she guesses his name. Duffy is lazy and gossipy and takes advantage of the situation for three years, eventually marrying the squire. At the end of the contract she visits the local witch and is told to stay put and when her husband comes home the next evening to just let him talk. She does, and he tells her about coming across a witches circle dancing with a drunken demon, who was laughing about how Duffy would never guess his name is Terrytop. She wins the bet, everything knitted in the last three years falls apart, and she scolds her husband for spying on the witches circle because now they've been cursed and she hasn't been able to spin anything all day. So the moral is... what the hell is the moral of this? Duffy is a lazy liar who cheats the devil and blames the consequences on her husband. Arevhat in Sun-Girl and Dragon-Prince breaks a spell placed on a prince, but her stepmother tries to kill her out of jealousy. Arevhat is swept downriver and comes upon a cursed hunter whom she lives with for three years and has a son with. She goes on a quest to break the hunter's curse and as a result is found by the Dragon-Prince again. A fellow Goodreads reviewer pointed out that the ending might have worked better with the three forming a polyamorous relationship. The prince and the hunter don't show any jealousy to each other and the prince spent the previous night with the new couple and everyone seems to be getting along fine, and her decision at the end seemed off the cuff and gives the impression that the three never even discussed how they'd be living now, as though the two men just assumed they'd all live together. And it's not as though it'd be the oddest thing in a children's fairy tale (for the sake of context, she says she's thirsty and both men helpfully hand her some water, and she just sorta hands the hunter their baby and says he can have him and she'll leave with/drink from the flask of the prince since she's kinda still married to him). Arevhat's character didn't gel with me at all. The story is nice enough but she seemed detached from everything going on around her. Whatever happened she just shrugged and went along with it. Prince Staver in Staver and Vassilissa is caught bragging about his wife by the grand duke, who sees this as Prince Staver one-upping his boasts of the grand duchess and insulting him in his own home. He throws Prince Staver in the dungeon and sends out his warlords to bring Vassilissa to him, but Vassilissa isn't having any of that. She pretends to be an envoy of the khan who has come for twelve years of owed tributes, and after the grand duchess fails to convince her husband that Vassilissa is a woman, the King sends her off with Lord Staver to serve as the khan's new lute player, thinking he's just gotten rid of an annoyance and gotten out of having to pay his tributes for another year. This was a great variation of the man-refuses-to-believe-a-woman-can-be-good-at-male-dominated-pursuits trope. The grand duke is setting up contests at his wife's behest, but the best part of this story is that, not only is Vassilissa wiping the floor with his men, she's having a blast doing it. A great rendition of this story. Tokoyo tells the tale of a samuri's daughter who sets out into exile to live with her disgraced father. She has a great deal of trouble finding him, and in the search happens across the sea serpent whose curse is harming the emperor. Another 'cure the royalty' story. It's a good one that uses a skill the heroine is known to possess from early in the story, which is a nice change to the usual heavy-handed use of deus ex machina. It's a good, solid story with a sweet reunion ending. The Lord's Daughter and the Blacksmith's Son is a Scottish story of a stubborn girl who decides to marry the blacksmith's boy when she happens to see him one day. When her parents put their foot down she accepts the help of a wee folk to get what she wants. This one was good fun. There was no backlash from the deal with the wee folk because she'd done him a favor first and he was happy to help, so the drama came from how the help came about and how the blacksmith's son would come into it. Unfortunately the wee folk went right to him and handed over the solution to the magical mischief so we were cheated a bit in that, but otherwise it was a cute story with a headstrong but sweet 'heroine'. In The Marriage of Two Masters, a man with a very intelligent daughter happens upon a young man travelling to meet this clever woman in the hopes of courting her. They engage in conversation and the father comes away with the impression that the man is a fool, but the daughter sees the cleverness of his questions and agrees to marry him. This was probably the only story I didn't enjoy. The suitor's questions weren't clever, they were ridiculous. How is anyone supposed to hear 'there is snow on the mountain' and take away 'you are old and your hair's gone white'. Maybe it loses something in the translation, but even after the daughter translates the comments into plain speaking, everything was either rude or pointless. If he was so clever he'd know not to talk in stupid riddles no one understands. The verdict? Oh God, the illustrations. This was beautiful, stunning artwork. Trina Schart Hyman did an incredible job. Look at this! My jaw is on the floor. They make the stories pop with life and I have yet to see a review that doesn't praise them. That said, the stories were wonderful as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book is a collection of folktales from all around the world, but what makes this anthology truly unique is that each tale has a heroine - not a hero! Like all traditional folktales, these are simple and direct, have a series of episodes that maintain a quick flow of action, the characters are quickly delineated, there is action that clearly delineates a conflict and resolution with the ending being brief. In this anthology all of the folktales are success stories in one way of another but w This book is a collection of folktales from all around the world, but what makes this anthology truly unique is that each tale has a heroine - not a hero! Like all traditional folktales, these are simple and direct, have a series of episodes that maintain a quick flow of action, the characters are quickly delineated, there is action that clearly delineates a conflict and resolution with the ending being brief. In this anthology all of the folktales are success stories in one way of another but what really sets them apart is that they all have a strong female character that sees the conflict through to its successful resolution. This is something we need more of, we need books that do not prolong historical gender bias. This book is a delight, it will appeal to kids of all ages and not just to girls. Boys too will love the story of the brave Li Chi as she battles the serpent with sword and a little dog, or Judith as she becomes a swashbuckling pirate, or the tale of Sumac as she confronts the monsters of the lake, and brave Tokoyo as she battles the sea-god armed with just her courage and dagger. There are also great possibilities that this book can bring to a classroom. They can show to primary school children that girls can be both smart and brave, which can combat, for those at the earliest ages, societal stereotypes that unfortunately continue to remain across wide-spread media.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    A beautiful book and an excellent choice for someone who wants an anthology of folktales from diverse cultures which feature strong women. The full-page illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are exquisite. Sadly, the retellings by Katrin Tchana (daughter of the illustrator) are good, but not extraordinary. Kudos to the author for citing her sources at the end and for choosing lesser-known tales. I did wonder about a few of the tales. For instance, "Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin" seemed to be a A beautiful book and an excellent choice for someone who wants an anthology of folktales from diverse cultures which feature strong women. The full-page illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are exquisite. Sadly, the retellings by Katrin Tchana (daughter of the illustrator) are good, but not extraordinary. Kudos to the author for citing her sources at the end and for choosing lesser-known tales. I did wonder about a few of the tales. For instance, "Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin" seemed to be a retelling of familiar tale. I know of two similar versions -- one from Korea and another from Africa. But this tale is set in a jungle with husband and wife, Pedro and Maria. Clearly Hispanic. However, Tchana cites her sources as "Crescent Moon Bear" from Women Who Run with the Wolves and "A Discerning Old Faki" from Egyptian and Sudanese Folk Tales. How did it end up in a Central/South American jungle? Hmmm. In any case, definitely worth reading.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I was eager to pick this up when I came across it. It is rare to find stories entering on women in fairytales and folklore for children. I would say that not every story had a strong female but I did like that there were stories from different countries represented and the art was pretty. Some of the stories felt too simple but the role reversal of the male as the sickly one was a nice twist. Usually the females are the one to be rescued. I would have liked to have these stories when I was a chi I was eager to pick this up when I came across it. It is rare to find stories entering on women in fairytales and folklore for children. I would say that not every story had a strong female but I did like that there were stories from different countries represented and the art was pretty. Some of the stories felt too simple but the role reversal of the male as the sickly one was a nice twist. Usually the females are the one to be rescued. I would have liked to have these stories when I was a child.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Callie *Fights Censorship*

    This book has some great fairy tales that I've never read before. I love how the stories are so diverse and from various cultures. This book is an ideal read for bedtime. I would suggest for slightly older children as these stories are not sterilized they involve instances of violence and death. The best stories: Nesoowa and the Chenoo Beebyeebyee and the Water God The Old Woman and the Devil Grandmother's Skull Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Gorgeous illustrations. Collected stories from all over the world. Diverse group of heroines who must rely on a wide variety of attributes, but mostly cleverness, to get themselves and others out of a predicament.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    These stories were fun and unique! I enjoyed trying to guess which country and culture the stories reflected (all summarized in the end). I love a good story about a heroine and want to buy this book! Sadly it belongs to the library and I hope more people read this. Especially my daughters.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Odette C.

    This is a great set of stories to read aloud to anyone. They also are inspirational to read for fun. Strong female protagonists who are strong, smart, and the heroes of the day. I would recommend these stories to just about anyone who loves to read....especially fairy tales.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennica

    Beautifully illustrated and full of wonderful stories. They reminded me of the pieces I’d read in Cricket magazine when I was a kid. Very nice.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Funny and clever!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    We LOVED this anthology of fairy tales that center amazingly strong, complex and fantastically brave female role models. An engaging bed-time read with gorgeous illustrations. Highest recommendation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Wonderful collection of folk tales with strong female protagonists and a focus on women of color!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

    The pictures are definitely 5-star worthy but the writing and/or central message/moral of the stories is a bit lacking with a few of them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kienie

    The Serpent Slayer: sometimes a girl just gotta get stuff done. The Barber's Wife: she got to keep both her boy-toy husband and the money. Nesoowa and the Chenoo: Sometimes kindness is enough to soften even the most evil heart, and sometimes you need some god magic and murder...but you know, whatever works. Clever Marcela: I've read several versions of this story, but usually the girl was too young to marry the king. And sometimes she was a man. Liked this version. Smart people flirting is hot. Sist The Serpent Slayer: sometimes a girl just gotta get stuff done. The Barber's Wife: she got to keep both her boy-toy husband and the money. Nesoowa and the Chenoo: Sometimes kindness is enough to soften even the most evil heart, and sometimes you need some god magic and murder...but you know, whatever works. Clever Marcela: I've read several versions of this story, but usually the girl was too young to marry the king. And sometimes she was a man. Liked this version. Smart people flirting is hot. Sister Lace: I for one welcome our asexual lace-making-witch overlady. The Rebel Princess: everyone, but EVERYONE, wants a piece of Judith. Judith takes advantage and gets what she wants. She doesn't need to rule the country since she's the future Empress and will rule over the whole world anyhow. Also, lady-pirates FTW. Beebyeebyee and the Water God: that's what happens when men feel threatened by a woman's ability to do something better than them. Kate Crackernuts: Fairies are evil, and like to gossip about very convenient things where they can be overheard by the plucky protagonist. This story lacks details. There must be a better version out there. The Old Woman and the Devil: is the Old woman basically God? Because I'm OK with that. I'm also OK with her just being human. The Magic Lake: Always be nice to woodland creatures, because they're magical and will help you in your quest. No, but I get it. Be good to people, and they will be good to you. Grandmother's Skull: Listen to your grandma. She's looking out for you, even from beyond the grave. Also, don't marry a stranger before vetting them out and making sure they're not an asshole who will murder your whole family. Just an idea. Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin: The treatment for PTSD is patience and therapy, not magic. That's...unusual for a fairytale, as far as I know. The witch is telling the wife: you have the strength to help your husband. Duffy the Lady: It's Rumpelstiltskin, but with a devil. Also, Duffy got out of knitting, and got to be lady of the manor. And everyone called her lazy. Pff. Sun-Girl and Dragon-Prince: Here is a situation that would've been easily resolved with a threesome relationship. I hope Sun-Girl at least got visitation rights for her son. Also, if your family is evil, don't invite them to your palace where they will be jealous and try to kill you. Staver and Vassillissa: I appreciate that in this version Vasilisa is actually physically strong as well as clever. It's a little different from the versions I've seen. And it adds variety to the Vasilisas. Tokoyo: Underwater serpent banishment. I have great respect and fear of water, so this is very, very hard core. The Lord's Daughter and the Blacksmith's Son: I wish the Lady and the Blacksmith actually got to talk and to know each other. Because otherwise, why are they so desperate to get married. I'm aware it's a fairy tale, but it's longer than some, and could've had the two lovers talk. But still, a story where a girl gets to marry whom she wants by using magic. Win. The Marriage of Two Masters: they both speak in metaphors and riddles. Good thing someone was there to explain it to me. Smart people flirting is still hot, but those guys are on another level. I couldn't understand anything. I will always like fairy tales. These are beautifully illustrated and show various paths towards success and happiness. I like that there are diverse outcomes and that marriage is not the only solution, and even when someone marries it's not always the end. I'm not going to do an in depth analysis of the various stories at this point. But they were good.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Retold by Katrin Hyman Tchana, daughter of the collection's illustrator, Caldecott Medal winner Trina Schart Hyman. "This book is a collection of fairy tales that are -- sort of -- from around the world. Sort of, because there aren't stories here from every country in the world or even every continent." What I loved most about The Serpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women was how colorful it was: both its illustrations and its heroes. Compared to Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales Retold by Katrin Hyman Tchana, daughter of the collection's illustrator, Caldecott Medal winner Trina Schart Hyman. "This book is a collection of fairy tales that are -- sort of -- from around the world. Sort of, because there aren't stories here from every country in the world or even every continent." What I loved most about The Serpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women was how colorful it was: both its illustrations and its heroes. Compared to Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls, Serpent Slayer felt more diverse with its sources and characters' ethnicity. Also, contrary to what Yolen said about genderizing hero in Not One Damsel in Distress, these two embrace heroines. "The stories in this collection are about women and girls who find themselves in difficult circumstances and respond in brave, clever, and thoughtful ways. Most collections of folk and fairy tales are collections of stories that remind us how to be heroes. But these stories are all about heroines. A heroine's experience is different from that of a hero's, for woman's experience of life through the ages has been different from man's. We believe we need more books that reflect that experience." Recommended to all ages. 4 stars All eighteen tales with the countries or continent from which they were based if it was mentioned in the "Source Notes" at the back of the book: The Serpent Slayer (China) The Barber's Wife (India) Nesoowa and the Chenoo (North America/the Wabanaki) Clever Marcela (Phillipines; Chile) Sister Lace (China) The Rebel Princess (Poland/Jewish) Beebyeebyee and the Water God (Cameroon) Kate Crackernuts (none specified but I think it's Scottish) The Old Woman and the Devil (Egypt; Sudan; Asia) The Magic Lake (Latin America) Grandmother's Skull (North America/the Inuit and Yupik peoples) Three Whiskers from a Lion's Chin (Egypt; Sudan; Asia) Duffy the Lady (England) Sun-Girl and Dragon-Prince (Armenia) Staver and Vassilissa (none specified but I think it's Russian) Tokoyo (Japan) The Lord's Daughter and the Blacksmith's Sea (Scotland) The Marriage of Two Masters (Gambia; Jewish; Egypt; Sudan)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    The prose is lackluster, but Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations are gorgeous, as ever.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lee Ann

    This was a pretty neat collection of woman-centered folktales. I love how diverse it was; there were tales from so many different cultures, and about girls and women of all ages. My favorite was probably Grandmother's Skull for the really neat artwork, but I also liked Duffy the Lady because of the clever and ambitious main character (ayooo, fellow Slytherin). Nesoowa and the Chenoo was awesome too, mostly because the Chenoo reminded me of the Wendigo which reminded me of Until Dawn, and, well, This was a pretty neat collection of woman-centered folktales. I love how diverse it was; there were tales from so many different cultures, and about girls and women of all ages. My favorite was probably Grandmother's Skull for the really neat artwork, but I also liked Duffy the Lady because of the clever and ambitious main character (ayooo, fellow Slytherin). Nesoowa and the Chenoo was awesome too, mostly because the Chenoo reminded me of the Wendigo which reminded me of Until Dawn, and, well, Until Dawn rules. Generally it was cool to see women in positions that are traditionally male, in which they rescue the prince (or the love interest, prince or no prince). However, it would have been nice to see a story whose plot didn't revolve around a man. It was mostly, "woman wants to marry this man and will do anything to get there," or "daughter rescues father/wife rescues husband/sister rescues brother" or "woman basically makes up for an idiot male leader's mistakes." I would have liked to see a story that was solely about women. Grandmother's Skull and Nesoowa and the Chenoo came closest to that. The artwork was really neat and did a decent job of capturing the diversity in the stories. It's clear that the illustrator drew from the various cultures when she drew the art for each tale. Overall, 3/5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Elera

    This collection of global fairy tales includes thirteen different stories, each about four pages long. The theme of this collection is strong female heroines, most of whom use their wisdom to solve problems men in the stories cannot. The stories are not organized in any particular order, and much of this may be due to with Tchana’s intention to compile stories that appear multiple times throughout the world in various versions. In her preface, Tchana explains that a single fairy tale, such as “C This collection of global fairy tales includes thirteen different stories, each about four pages long. The theme of this collection is strong female heroines, most of whom use their wisdom to solve problems men in the stories cannot. The stories are not organized in any particular order, and much of this may be due to with Tchana’s intention to compile stories that appear multiple times throughout the world in various versions. In her preface, Tchana explains that a single fairy tale, such as “Clever Marcela”, has versions that can be traced to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Pacific Islands, with just a few details like the name of the heroine changing. There is a section at the back of the book dedicated to source notes about the collections that inspired each of the fairy tales included in the collection. Each of these fairy tales is rather lyrically told and on the longer side, thus making them more suitable for older elementary school students, 3rd grade and up. These stories could also lend themselves well to middle and high school student audiences, and even adults. Stories that seem to be especially suitable for storytelling are “Beebyeebyee and the Water God” and the title story, “ The Serpent Slayer”, due to repetition and manageable length.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Kelly

    beautiful printing. nice pictures and colors. nice variety of tales - familiar and not so familiar, different countries of origin, etc. definitely gives you a good feeling - reading about all these unapologetic heroines. serpent slayer - very exciting picture, good start to the book the barbers wife - i found it perversely pleasurable that the barber was never named - as so often the wife isn't. but it still made me shake my head that someone as smart as she loved him essentially because he was cut beautiful printing. nice pictures and colors. nice variety of tales - familiar and not so familiar, different countries of origin, etc. definitely gives you a good feeling - reading about all these unapologetic heroines. serpent slayer - very exciting picture, good start to the book the barbers wife - i found it perversely pleasurable that the barber was never named - as so often the wife isn't. but it still made me shake my head that someone as smart as she loved him essentially because he was cute with a good sense of humor - even if he was a lazy sumbitch... beebyeebyee - i wish there was a pronunciation guide for this name. the story was good, but made me sad. the ending made me feel like this was an origin story for a superhero, and beebyeebyee went on to do great things out of sorrow for her husband and guilt for the town... marriage of 2 masters - although i didnt understand the name...oh...wait...i think i just got it. Ha! the two main characters are both masters, and they are equals. they married equals. i love it. the convention of people seeming to be simple, yet they are really advanced is done in a very cute way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Grace

    Definitely joins the ranks of Tatterhood and Women Who Run With the Wolves, except with the awesomeness of full color paintings for each story. It's like D'Aulaires and The Maid of the North had an awesome multiculti love child. Did I mention that the majority of the stories are not European? I have really enjoyed reading these before bed recently. :-) Definitely joins the ranks of Tatterhood and Women Who Run With the Wolves, except with the awesomeness of full color paintings for each story. It's like D'Aulaires and The Maid of the North had an awesome multiculti love child. Did I mention that the majority of the stories are not European? I have really enjoyed reading these before bed recently. :-)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris Perry

    I loved this book and recommend it to anyone looking for great classic folk stories about women. This book does not limit stories to one culture or people, in fact, this book contains classic tales from all over the world. There are many stories in here that I liked as an adult and wish someone would have read them to me as a child. The funny thing is that this book was specifically written for mothers to read the stories within its covers to their daughters. These stories are not just for any: I loved this book and recommend it to anyone looking for great classic folk stories about women. This book does not limit stories to one culture or people, in fact, this book contains classic tales from all over the world. There are many stories in here that I liked as an adult and wish someone would have read them to me as a child. The funny thing is that this book was specifically written for mothers to read the stories within its covers to their daughters. These stories are not just for any: culture, age, or gender; they are for everyone. I strongly encourage any parent who is looking for something to read to their child to consider this book and to read it yourself. Who knows, you may learn something yourself. This book gets a sold 2 thumbs up from me.

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