August 29, 2005

Trickster Tales

Program reminders: Summerquest September 19;
Twos Program begins Wednesday, September 14, prior registration required

This is another rescued booklist, one created by Tina Hudak when she was a children's librarian here. At the time it was created we owned all these, but books are lost or damaged. We now may, or may not, have any specific book. Please check our catalog.

Trickster Tales
Available in the Children's Room

  wizard hat

The trickster, being true to form, has most certainly eluded us somewhere along the way! In our quest to match wits with his, we ask you to keep your eyes and ears open for him...let us know where you spot him. This is an ever-changing, shape-shifting reading list like the character it tries to capture.


Please, Malese!by Amy MacDonald, illus. Emily Lisker, J 398.2 MACDONA
A trickster tale from Haiti. Malese outsmarts his neighbors until he makes them so mad that they decide to turn the tables on him. But are they clever enough to outwit him?

The Barefoot Book of Trickster Tales, retold by Richard Walker, illus. Claudio Munoz, J 398.2 WALKER
Nine tales from Ghana to Turkey are included in this picture book format. The detailed watercolors by the Chilean artist invite the younger reader to follow along while hearing these read aloud.

Crow & Fox, and Other Animal Legends, Jan Thornhill, J 398.2 THORNHI
Collection of folk tales from throughout the world with a Middle Eastern tale of Fox; Southwest American and Western Canadian tales with Coyote

Land of the Long White Cloud: Maori Myths, Tales and Legends , Kiri TeKanawa,illus. Michael Foreman, J 398.2 T26
Twenty-one legends of New Zealand with the trickster god, Maui. Preface and Glossary included.

Race With Buffalo And Other Native American Stories For Young
collected by Richard and Judy Dockrey Young, J 398.2 Race Wi
This collection includes several trickster tales such as, "The Girl Who Married A Ghost" and more. Extensive "Notes" on these narratives, and "Glossary" of terms are included.

A Ring Of Tricksters: Animal Tales From America, the West Indies, and Africa, Virginia Hamilton, illus. Barry Moser, J 398.2 HAMILTON
This collection includes American, West Indian and African animal tricksters from alligator to spider.

Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories From Around the World, Josepha Sherman, J 398.2 Sherman
This is a collection of 40 tales which focus tricksters from all over the world including Asia and the Mideast.

A Twist In the Tail, Mary Hoffman, J 398.2 HOFFMAN
Collection of animal stories from around the world with brilliantly colored illustrations by Jan Ormerod.

With A Whoop And A Holler,Nancy Van Laan, illus. Scott Cook, J398 VAN LAA
This is a collection of tales from regions in southern US: the Bayou, the Deep South & the Mountains. Included are stories, short verse and poems. Good "Source Notes" and "Bibliography".

Why Goats Smell So Bad,translated and retold by Raouf Mama, illus. Imna Arroyo, J 398.2 MAMA
Collection of 20 stories from Benin which feature Yogbo, the trickster.



Coyote as trickster comes to us from wide spectrum of Native American mythology. He is a real rascal, but his destructive acts frequently result in creation despite himself. Though called Coyote, he often seems more human than animal.

Borreguita and The Coyote, Verna Aardema, J 398.2 A113
A little lamb uses her clever wiles to keep a coyote from eating her up.

Cleo and The Coyote, Elizabeth Levy, J PIC LEVY
A city dog, Cleo, and a coyote, Tricky, have an adventure together in the desert and discover how much they have in common.

Coyote and The Fire Stick,Barbara Diamond Goldin, illus. Will Hillenbrand, J 398.2
Coyote enlists the help of other animals to trick the evil spirits and bring fire to the people. Good historical "Note From the Author" included on trickster motif.

Coyote Goes Hunting For Fire: a California Indian Myth, Margery Bernstein, J 398.2 B531
All the other animals fear coyote who successfully bungles their plans to obtain fire.

Coyote & Little Turtle = Iisaw niqw Yongosonhoy: a Traditional Hopi Tale, Emory Sekaquaptewa, J PIC COYOTE
Retells the Paiute legend of the way the Coyote helped an Indian boy bring fire to his tribe. Bi-lingual Hopi-English edition with glossary.

Coyote and The Magic Words, Phyllis Root, J PIC ROOT
After the Maker-Of-All Things uses words to create the world, she allows others to use her magic until Coyote tries her patience with his mischief.

Coyote In Love, Mindy Dwyer, J 398.2 DWYER
A retelling of a Native American legend about Coyote's love for a beautiful star, which results in the creation of Crater Lake, Oregon.

Coyote Places the Stars, Harriet Peck Taylor, J 398.2 TAYLOR
Coyote arranges the stars in the shapes of his animal friends.

Coyote Steals the Blanket: a Ute Tale, Janet Stevens, J 398.2 STEVENS
Coyote receives his comeuppance when he tries to take something that does not belong to him.

Coyote Stories For Children: Tales From Native America, Susan Strauss, J 398.2 S912
Four stories including "How Coyote Got His Power."

The Fire Bringer: a Paiute Indian Legend, Margaret Hodges, illus. Peter Parnall, J
398.2 h489
The story of Coyote who befriends an Indian boy and helps him to bring fire to his people.

Fire Race: a Karuk Coyote Tale About How Fire Came To the People, Jonathan London, J 398.2 LONDON
With the help of other animals, Wide Old Coyote manages to acquire fire from the wicked Yellow Jacket sister.

Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping With His Daughter: Coyote Builds North America, Barry Holstun Lopez, J 398.2 L864
This is a collection of stories for young adults which include "Coyote's erotic adventures...Sexual references, as well as stories of cannibalism and bodily functions..." These are closer to the adult psychological role the trickster plays in mythology.

Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad: a Traditional Navajo Story, Shonto Begay, J 398.2 BEGAY
A lazy, conniving coyote habitually takes advantage of his animal cousins until his cousin, Horned Toad, teaches him a lesson he will never forget.

Maybe I Will Do Something, Wayne Ude, J 398.24 UDE
A collection of stories about mythic Native American trickster, Coyote, based on traditional versions of this tale.

Meet Tricky Coyote!, Gretchen Mayo, J 398.2 MAYO
A collection of legends about the cunning trickster Coyote, taken from a variety of Native American sources; picture book format.

Navajo Coyote Tales J 398.2 NAVAJO
These six tales are written in verse and include black and white ink drawings.

Old Bag of Bones: a Coyote Tale, Janet Stevens, J 398.2 STEVENS
A story about aging, youth and wisdom where Coyote never learns his lesson.

Partners, Betty Baker, J r1
Whether it is in their several partnerships to put the stars in the sky, or with farming, Coyote tries to outwit Badger.

Quail Song: a Pueblo Indian Tale, Valerie Scho. Carey, J 398.2 C276
A retelling of a traditional Pueblo Indian tale in which Quail outwits a persistent Coyote.

That Tricky Coyote!, Gretchen Mayo, J 398.2 MAYO
A collection of legends about the cunning Trickster, Coyote, taken from a variety of Native American sources. See previous listings by this author.

Uncle Smoke Stories: Nehawka Tales of Coyote the Trickster, Roger Welsch, J FIC WELSCH
Uncle Smoke, a revered storyteller of the fictional Nehawka tribe, shares four stories about the legendary trickster, Coyote.



Fox, an animal of great cunning, makes a logical trickster in western culture. Reynard became famous in France during the 12th century by poking fun at society.

Chanticleer and the Fox, Geoffrey Chaucer, illus. Barbara Cooney, J PIC CHAUCER
Adaptation from 'Nun's priest tale from Canterbury Tales' where a sly fox tries to outwit a proud rooster using flattery. This is a Caldecott Award book.

The Dancing Fox: Arctic Folk Tales, John Bierhorst, J 398.2 DANCING
Eighteen folk tales from the ancient oral tradition of the Inuit culture where animals take on human form and use magic. Reminiscent of "Puss In Boots."

Favorite Fairy Tales Told In Poland, "The Lark, the Wolf and the Fox," Virginia Haviland, illus. Felix Hoffmann, J 398.2 H 388
A fox eventually outsmarts a wily fox and humiliates him before the townspeople.

Renard the Fox, Rachel Anderson and David Bradby, J 840.1 A549
"Twelve stories are included which have been adapted and translated from Le Roman de Renart, a rambling collection of stories satirizing life and customs in medieval France."

Reynard the Fox, Selina Hastings, illus, Percy Grahme, J 398.2 H358
A retelling of the schemes and adventures of a lying, cheating and cowardly fox.



Rabbit uses his wit instead of his strength to survive and sometimes, comes out on top! Brer Rabbit is a famous trickster character adapted from the Southern U.S. oral tradition of storytelling.

The Enchanted Orchard and Other Folktales of Central America, Dorothy Sharp Carter, J 398.2 C323
This collection includes "Tio Rabibit and the Barrel," where Tio Rabbit outwits the hungry Tio Fox.

Bo Rabbit Smart For True: Tall Tales From the Gullah, Priscilla Jaquith, J 398.24 JAQUITH
These tales were recorded in 1949 for the Library of Congress which in 1955 issued a phonodisc under title: Animal tales told in the Gullah dialect. Six tales from Georgia and South Carolina sea islands include not only a moral to the story, but explain how the animals got their markings.

Brer Tiger and the Big Wind, William J. Faulkner, J 398.2 FAULKNE
Clever Brer Rabbit finds a way to teach the greedy Brer Tiger a lesson.

Brother Rabbit, Minfong Ho, J 398.2 HO
A crocodile, two elephants and an old woman are no match for a mischievous rabbit.

The Days When Animals Talked Back: Black American Folktales and How They Came To Be, William J. Faulkner, J 398.2 FAULKNE
Presents more than 20 Afro-American folk tales featuring the escapades of Brer Rabbit and more than 10 tales describing the lives of Afro-American slaves.

The Hunterman and the Crocodile,retold and illustrated by Baba Wague Daikite, J398.2 Diakite
This Coretta Scott King Award winning book tells the tale of how rabbit saves the hunter man from being eaten by the crocodiles. It is a wonderful story of man and animals cooperating for survival.

Jump!: the Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Malcolm Jones, illus.Barry Moser, J 398.2 P252
Adapted from Uncle Remus, his songs and saying. A retelling of 5 folk tales in which crafty Brer Rabbit tries to outsmart all the other animals in his community.

Jump Again!: More Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Van Dyke Parks, illus. Barry Moser, J 398.2 P252
More stories adapted from Uncle Remus, songs and sayings. This includes "Tar-Baby"and Brer Rabbit in love.

Jump On Over!: the Adventures of Brer Rabbit and His Family, Van Dyke Parks, illus. Barry Moser, J 398.2 P252
A collection of 5 stories in which Brer Rabbit outwits three companions to ensure his family's survival during a drought.

The Last Tales of Uncle Remus,Julius Lester, illus. Jerry Pinkney, J398.2LESTER
In this retelling the author creates his own version of Uncle Remus yet still retains the wonderful nature and feeling of the original tales. This is the last book in Lester's series of Uncle Remus Tales.

The Rabbit's Escape, Suzanne Crowder Han, J 398.2 HAN
Tricked into visiting the underwater kingdom where the Dragon King of the East Sea wants his liver, a clever rabbit uses his wits to escape.

Rabbit Makes A Monkey of Lion: a Swahili Tale , Verna Aardema, illus. Jerry Pinkney , J 398.2 AARDEMA
"Retold from The hare and the lion in Zanzibar tales [translated] by George W. Bateman." -T.p. verso. With the help of his friends Bush-rat, and Turtle, smart and nimble Rabbit makes a fool of the mighty but slow-witted king of the forest.

This For That: A Tonga Tale, Verna Aardema, J 398.24 Aardema
Even though Rabbit has not helped to look for water, she tries to charm all the other animals into trading their possessions so that she might drink some. This is highly illustrated and written for young readers.

Why Lapin's Ear Are Long, adapted by Sharon Arms Doucet, illus. David Catrow, J398.2 Doucet
Tales of rabbit as the trickster from the Louisiana bayou. Glossary included to help familiarize the young reader with the sprinkling of french words used throughout the book.



Raven is more than a trickster in these stories; he is a hero who brings something needed to people. These tales are generally from the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Echoes Of the Elders: Stories of Chief Lelooska, Christine Normandin, J 398.2 LELOOSK
Stories from Indians of the Northwest coast with raven as trickster. Exceptional graphic illustrations. Includes compact disc.

How Raven Brought Light To People, Ann Dixon, J 398.2 D621
Raven brings stars, moon and sun to the people by tricking a greedy chief and becomes black from the soot in the process. A tale from Southeastern Alaska.

Raven: a Trickster Tale From the Pacific Northwest, Gerald McDermott, J 398.2 MCDERMO
Tale of how Raven brings light to the people who thank him by feeding him.


spider SPIDER

ANANSI The spider, Anansi (Anancy) is perhaps the most famous trickster among young children. He originated in West Africa and was brought to western culture because of the slaves and is found in tales from the Southern U.S. and Jamaica.

The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales, Joyce Cooper Arkhurst, illus. Jerry Pinkney, J 398.2 ARKHURS
Six tales which explain how Spider got a thin waist and a bald head and why he lives in corners.

Anansi and the Magic Stick, Eric A. Kimmel, illus. Janet Stevens, J 398.2 KIMMEL
Anansi steals a magic stick and wreaks havoc in his village with it.

Ananse's Feast: an Ashanti Tale, Tololwa Mollel, J 398.2 MOLLEL
Unwilling to share his feast, Anansi the spider tricks Akye, the turtle so that he can eat all the food himself. Does he win?

Anansi, Brian Gleeson, J 398.24 GLEESON
Two Jamacain folktales in which he practices trickery on others. Very funny tales with a wonderful cadence when reading aloud.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Eric Kimmel, J 398.2 K49
Anansi uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals, until little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.

Anansi and the Talking Melon, Eric Kimmel J 398.2 KIMMEL
The clever spider tricks Elephant and other animals into thinking the melon, in which he is stuck, can talk.

Anansi Does The Impossible!: an Ashanti Tale, Verna Aardema, J 398.2 A113
Anansi outwits snake, hornet and a fairy in order to bring stories from Sky god to humans.

Anansi Finds A Fool, Verna Aardema, J 398.2 A113
Lazy Anansi seeks to trick someone into doing the heavy work of laying his fish trap, but instead he is fooled into doing the job himself.

Anansi Goes Fishing, Eric Kimmel, illus. Janet Stevens, J 398.2 K49
Anansi the spider plans to trick Turtle into catching a fish for dinner, but Turtle proves to be smarter.

Brother Anansi and the Cattle Ranch, James DeSauza, J 398.2 DESAUZA
Anansi has an adventure when he tries to steal a cow. Bilingual (Spanish/English).

Don't Leave An Elephant To Go Chase A Bird, James Berry, J 398.2 BERRY
Anancy trades various items with people he encounters, until he finds himself distracted by a bird and ends up empty-handed.

First Palm Trees, James Berry, J 398.24 BERRY
West Indian Anancy tries to persuade Sun-Spirit, Water-Spirit, and Air-Spirit to create the world's first palm trees so that he can collect a reward from the king.

A Story A Story, Gail E. Haley, J 398.2 Haley. Caldecott Medal Award book.
This is the story of how Anansi outwits the Sky god and is able to bring his stories to the people.

Spider Spins A Story: Fourteen Legends From Native America, Jill Max, J 398.2 SPIDER
Presents tales from various peoples such as, Kiowa, Zuni, Cherokee, Hopi, Lakota, Muskogee. Good bibliography.

Tiger Soup: an Anansi Story From Jamaica, Frances Temple, J 398.24 TEMPLE
After Tricking Tiger into leaving the soup he has been cooking, Anansi the Spider eats the soup himself and manages to put the blame in the monkeys.

spiderIKTOMI Iktomi, which means spider, comes to us from the U.S. Plains Indians. Oftentimes, he resembles a cunning man in these tales.

Iktomi and the Boulder: a Plains Indian Story , Paul Goble, J 398.2 G575
Iktomi and the Buffalo Skull: a Plains Indian Story, Paul Goble, J 398.2 G575
Iktomi and the Buzzard: a Plains Indian Story, Paul Goble, J 398.2 GOBLE
Iktomi and the Ducks: a Plains Indian Story , Paul Goble, J 398.2 G575
These stories feature Iktomi (which means spider) a trickster character from the Plains Indians. He uses his own magical powers and cunning to outsmart others, but often falls victim to his own pranks.
Iktomi Loses His Eyes, Paul Goble, J398.2 GOBLE



Bouki Dances the Kokioko, by Diane Wolkstein, illus. Jesse Sweetwater, J 398.2 Wolkste
A comical Hatian tale where the trickster, Malice fools his friend, Bouki into winning five thousands gourds, which he steals from him.

How Mr. Monkey Saw the Whole World, by Walter Dean Myers, illus. By Synthia Saint James, JPic MYERS
Mr. Buzzard cheats Mr. Hare and a host of other animals out of food, but it is not until he meets Mr. Monkey that he gets his comeuppance.

The Mean Hyena,retold by Judy Sierra, J 398.2 Sierra
Fisi, the hyena tricks Kama the tortoise, who entreats the other animals for help to outwit Fisi. This is a trickster tale from Malawi with rich watercolor illustrations.

Zorro and Quwi, by Rebecca Hickox, illus. Kim Howard, J 398.2 Hickox
An unusual tale where the guinea pig outwits the fox who is constantly trying to eat him! Rewritten and based on Peruvian folk tale.


mouseLiteraryTales & Novels With a Trickster Motif

This group of literature includes characters who embody some of the characteristics of the trickster, although they may not take the more traditional forms. Can you see how Gollum fits into this group and why? Explore and have fun!

The All Jadhu Storybook, Virginia Hamilton, J FIC H22
The Trickster, Jadhu, travels through the mountains and the woods outwitting other animals as he goes along.

The Amazing Bone, William Steig, J PIC S818 Newbery Honor Award book.
Pearl loses her way while dawdling as she goes home from school. She befriends a magic bone who helps her to escape from a clever fox.

Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble, Phyllis Root, J PIC ROOT
Aunt Nancy knows how to deal with the trickster-like character, old Man Trouble and send him on his way!

Bravo, Zan Angelo, Niki Daly, J PIC DALY
This is the story of a young boy who wants to be a clown more than anything. It is based on the true story of Zan Polo, an Italian clown. It comes from 15th century in Venice where commedia dell'arte was a popular form of theatre.

Doctor De Soto, William Steig, J PIC S818 Newbery Honor Book
A mouse dentist copes with toothaches of various animals except those with a taste for mice, until the day a fox come to him with a painful toothache.

Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl, J FIC DAHL
A clever fox devises intricate schemes to outsmart three mean farmers who are trying to kill him and his family because he has been stealing from them.

Fox At School , Edward Marshall, illus. James Marshall, J r1
Fox On Stage, Edward Marshall, illus, James Marshall, Jr MARSHAL
Fox On Wheels, Edward Marshall, illus. James Marshall, J r1
Fox Outfoxed, Edward Marshall, illus. James Marshall, J rMARSHAL
This series places the trickster fox in the 20th c. family environment where he continues to behave as the lovable rascal.

The Ghost Fox, Laurence Yep, JFIC YEP
While his father is away from his Chinese village, Little Lee fights to save his mother's soul from an evil fox creature that has assumed human form.

The Gingerbread Boy, Richard Egielski, JPIC EGIELSK
The Gingerbread Boy, Paul Galdone, JPIC G149
The Gingerbread Man, Eric Kimmel, J 298.21 KIMMEL
A freshly baked gingerbread cookie is anthropomorphized in this story. He runs free as soon as he is out of the oven and escapes various animal pursuers, but cannot outwit the fox.

The Girl Who Married A Ghost and Other Tales From The North American Indian, included is "Fox and the Bears," Edward S. Curtis, J 398.2 C97
A collection of American Indian folklore including a trickster tale from the Plains, Fox and Bear. Illustrations are the special photographs of Edward Curtis taken in the 1900's.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, illus. Michael Hague, J FIC TOLKEIN
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, illus. Alan Lee, J FIC TOLKEIN
The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien, J FIC TOLKEIN
The story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventure includes meeting Gollum, a trickster-like character.

Puss In Boots, Charles Perrault, illus. Lorinda B. Cauley, J 398.2 CAULEY
Puss In Boots, Charles Perrault, illus. Fred Macellino, J 398.2 P454
A cunning cat wins for his master a castle and the hand of a princess.

Ring of Tall Trees, John Dowd, J FIC DOWD
Dylan and his Native American friends call on ancient rituals and Raven for help in stopping a logging company from clearing the old growth.

The Trickster and the Troll, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, J FIC SNEVE
Based on Ikomti-like trickster, this story tells of the trickster and a troll from Norway who meet and become competitors, helpers and friends as they try to hold on to the native ways that are being abandoned as more people settle across America.

wizard hat Colophon: Trickster TalesThese are timeless because they remind us of our own follies as humans. They present a character who is basically self-centered and lives to gratify his own needs. Theseare adventure tales in which coyote, fox, rabbit, or spider use cunning, wit and humor to outsmart other animals or people in their search for food. Sometimes, they cast the trickster animal in the role of bringing what is needed for survival to others. Other times the tales show the consequences this greediness brings. Yet out of these actions, even when they are those of lying and cheating, come wonderful results. Through their cunning they bring us the moon and the stars! For children, this character can be especially appealing because is validates the parts of us that are naughty and sometimes get caught in the act. Winning out over sheer physical force through wit and cleverness lends children the feeling of empowerment.

Originally created by Tina Hudak.
Updated July 2003
MJSSpider icons are from Icon Bazaar

Posted by library at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

Some September Events

The re-posting of the beautiful booklists which Martha Netoff, nee Stewart, put together while she worked here shot some of the more time-sensitive events at the Library far down on the blog. You can still get to the postings easily from the City's Calendar on-line, but it demands a little more sleuthing if you go directly to the Library page.

Apart from the Summer Quest Finale on Monday evening, September 19 at 7 pm, the Twos Program starts back up on Wednesday, September 14, at 10 am. and continues through the following three Wednesdays. Remember that this is a sign-up program with a controlled attendance, unlike the Tuesday morning free-for-all. This series of four programs is the Fall Session of the Twos (there is a four-program session of the Twos each season.) Each program lasts about 25 minutes, includes fingergames, songs, and stories, and concludes with a simple craft project. The program is intended for the two-year-old with a parent or caregiver. Younger siblings are welcome to come along!

Posted by at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Robin Hood

We are rescuing and republishing this page because we continue to get requests for it.

Robin Hood

Books From the Collection

There are many different retellings of the Robin Hood legend in the 398.22 section. Here are just a few of the books that are available.

  • In A Dark Wood by Michael Cadnum  J FIC CADNUM
  • The merry adventures of Robin Hood of great renown in Nottinghamshire by Howard Pyle   J 398.22 PYLE
  • Robin Hood by Margaret Early   J 398.22 EARLY
  • Robin Hood and his Merry Men by Jane Louise Curry  J 398.22 CURRY
  • Rowan Hood, outlaw girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer   J FIC SPRINGE
  • Robin Hook, pirate hunter! by Eric A. Kimmel   J PIC KIMMEL
  • Sherwood : original stories from the world of Robin Hood by Jane Yolen
  • Robin's country by Monica Furlong  J FIC FURLONG
  • Song of Robin Hood by G. Castagnetta, A. Malcolmson, V.L. Burton
    J 782.42162 SONG OF - Words and music of the original Robin Hood ballads.
  • Robin Hood [sound recording] by Roger Miller  O J AC395
  • The three musketeers/and Robin Hood [sound recording] by Alexandre Dumas
    J AC507

Web Links

The Robin Hood Project - University of Rochester
Allen W. Wright's Robin Hood--Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood
Official Visitor's Guide to Nottinghamshire

Originally this page was created by Martha Stewart.
Updated in August 2004 by the library staff

Robin Hood picture courtesy of Robin Hood - Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood

Posted by library at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005


This is another page written by Martha Jane Stewart in 2003. Because of numerous requests, we are republishing it.

Reference librarian's note: This page does not mention John Steinbeck's posthumous Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights which so enchanted a library patron that the staff is reading it on his recommendation. A rather new Arthuriana book is on order: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur: Reality and Legend, the Beginning and the End--The Most Complete Arthurian Sourcebook Ever.

Arthurian Legends and Romances

King Arthur - 14th Century

King Arthur - 14th Century


  • Andronik, Catherine M.: Quest for a King : Searching for the Real King Arthur (1989) - J 941.01 ANDRONI Surveys the legends surrounding King Arthur and examines the historical evidence behind them.
  • Crossley -Holland, Kevin: The World of King Arthur and his Court : People, Places, Legend, and Lore. (1999) J 942.01 CROSSLE Surveys the known history of King Arthur, the legends and lore surrounding him, his treatment in literature, and the possible historical background of his associates and stories.
  • Day, David: The Search for King Arthur (1995) 942.014 DAY A richly illustrated exploration of the myths, legends, history and literature surrounding the archetypal figure of King Arthur.

The legends of King Arthur told in the archaic style are mostly to be found in the folklore sections of both the adult and children's collections. The Dewey classification 398.22 is used for the legends and lore of semi-historical figures like King Arthur and Robin Hood. Included in the children's collection are single illustrated tales such as Sir Gawain and the Loathely Lady as well as the classic retellings illustrated by luminaries such as N.C.Wyeth. Particularly useful is the trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Sword in the Stone, The Light Beyond the Forest, and The Road to Camlann which may be found on the children's paperback truck under the author's name.

Adult Fiction

  • Ashley, Michael: The Pendragon Chronicles : Heroic Fantasy from the Time of King Arthur (1990) A collection of short novels and stories that retell the King Arthur legend. SC P398
  • Bradley, Marion Zimmer: The Forest House (1994), Lady of Avalon (1997), The Mists of Avalon (1982), A Priestess of Avalon (2001) A rich, feminist weave of history and myth. The first and most famous is The Mists of Avalon in which Morgaine symbolizes the clash between the "old religion" and Christianity. FIC BRADLEY
  • Cochran, Molly & Warren Murphy: The Broken Sword (1997) Chivalry, adventure, and magic with the reincarnation of Arthur in the modern world. Camelot will rise again. FIC COCHRUN
  • Cornwell, Bernard: The Winter King (c1996), Enemy of God(1997), Excalibur (c1998) The Warlord Chronicles, full of battle action, ancient ritual, and details of daily life in a gripping, complex narrative. FIC CORNWELL
  • James, Cary: King & Raven (1995) A poor peasant boy becomes a page in the court of Camelot and the tale of King Arthur is seen through his eyes. FIC JAMES
  • Miles, Rosalind: Guenevere : Queen of the Summer Country (1999) Romantic novel of the whole Arthurian cast.) FIC MILES
  • Newman, Sharan: The Chessboard Queen (1983, 1997) A story of Guinevere. FIC NEWMAN
  • Stewart, Mary: The Crystal Cave (1970), The Hollow Hills (1973), The Last Enchantment(1979) A trilogy of Merlin the Enchanter , set amidst the turbulent events of Arthur's 5th century Britain .FIC STEWART
  • Tolstoy, Nikolai: The Coming of the King : the First book of Merlin (1989) A re-creation of the life of Merlin, making Merlin fascinating and alive and showing how his life will change Britain forever. FIC TOLSTOY
  • White, T. H.: The Sword in the Stone (1939) "delightful, satirical nonsense", The Once and Future King (1958), The Book of Merlyn (1977) FIC WHITE White pursues a central theme, finding the antidote to war, with a mix of fantasy, humor, and rationality.
  • Whyte, Jack: The Eagle's Brood (c1977), Part of the Camulod Chronicles about the colony named Camulod led by Uther Pendragon and his cousin, Merlyn. The Sorcerer : Metamorphosis (1999) The colony named Camulod now led by Merlyn and Arthur Pendragon who are fighting to protect themselves from Peter Ironhair. FIC WHYTE

Adult Science Fiction

  • Kenneally-Morrison, Patricia: The Hawk's Gray Feather : a Book of the Keltiad Romances-(1990) First in a trilogy, the book is about Keltia a world where Arthur fights to regain the throne for the royal House of Don against the usurper Edeyrn, the greatest of the Druids, who is bent on destroying House of Don . SF KENNEAL
  • Lawhead, Stephen: Avalon : The Return of King Arthur (1999) In the 21st Century, a young Scot finds that he is not a commoner but rather a monarch, Arthur reincarnated, being raised in obscurity and must now claim the throne and save the country from an evil Prime Minister intent on destroying the monarchy. SF LAWHEAD.
  • Saberhagen, Fred: Merlin's Bones (1995) A young performer from a troupe of travelling players stumbles upon the resting place of Merlin's bones shortly after the death of Arthur and becomes embroiled in a deadly intrigue over the remains with characters including Morgan Le Fey, Mordred, and Hakon, the Viking. SF SABERHA
  • Shwartz, Susan: The Grail of Hearts (1992) An interweaving of the mythos of the Grail and of Arthur with the legend of the Wandering Jew, told from the point of view of a woman. SF SHWARTZ
  • Tarr, Judith: Kingdom of the Grail (2000) A fantasy inspired by the epic poem The Song of Roland combined with the myth of the history of Merlin. SF TARR

Arthurian Romance In Children's & Young Adult Fiction

  • Barron, T. A.: The Lost Years of Merlin (1996), The Seven Songs of Merlin (1997), The Fires of Merlin (1998) The Mirror of Merlin (1999) .A young boy with no memory travels to the Underworld and discovers his true name. The young wizard Merlin continues to experience both his growing powers and his essential humanity .in each succeeding book. J FIC BARRON
  • Bond, Nancy: A String in the Harp (1976). Relates what happens to three American children, unwillingly transplanted to Wales for one year, when one of them finds an ancient harp-tuning key that takes him back to the time of the great sixth-century bard Taliesin. J FIC BOND
  • Dickinson, Peter: Merlin Dreams (1988) Nine stories of blood, magic, and fabulous creatures, set in the framing device of dreams coming to the enchanted wizard Merlin as he lies imprisoned under a great stone. J FIC DICKENS
  • Morpurgo, Michael: Arthur, High King of Britain . (1995) A twelve-year-old boy comes across Arthur Pendragon, who has just awakened from his long sleep beneath the earth, and hears from him some of the exciting stories of his past. J FIC MORPURG
  • Morris, Gerald: Parsifal's Page (2001) Piers joins Parsifal in the Quest for the Holy Grail with humor, magic, and action. J FIC MORRIS
  • Morris, Gerald: The Squire's Tale (1998), The Squire, His Knight, & His Lady (1999), The Savage Damsel & the Dwarf (2000).The first two books tell of the perilous adventures of a young squire Terence and his knight, Sir Gawain. The third in the series features the lady Lynet and ultimately, Sir Gareth. J FIC MORRIS
  • Rice, Robert: The Last Pendragon (1991). Arthur's grandson and a disgraced knight of the Round Table set about to save Camelot from Ceawlin, a Saxon warlord who is threatening to conquer Camelot. J FIC RICE
  • Springer, Nancy: I am Mordred : A Tale from Camelot (1998).When Mordred learns the identity of his father, he struggles with feelings of hatred, but also fights the fate which determines that he kill the good and gracious king - J FIC SPRINGE
  • Thomson, Sarah L: The Dragon's Son. (2001) The spinning together of the stories of four complex characters - Nimué, Morgan, Lined, and Medraud - with that of King Arthur, whose reign will be preserved or shattered by the choices they make. J FIC THOMSON
  • Twain, Mark: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court (1988) A blow on the head transports a Yankee to 528 A.D. where he proceeds to modernize King Arthur's kingdom by organizing a school system, constructing telephone lines, and inventing the printing press. - J FIC TWAIN
  • Wein, Elizabeth E.: The Winter Prince (1993). Medraut, the bitter, illegitimate son of King Artos, is tempted into joining Morgause, the king's treacherous sister, in a plot against Lleu, the legitimate Prince of Britain - J FIC WEIN
  • Yolen, Jane: Camelot (1995)A collection of ten short stories and one song exploring the comic, tragic, and magical adventures of King Arthur, Merlin, and the other inhabitants of Camelot. - J FIC YOLEN
  • Yolen, Jane: The Dragon's Boy (1990). Young Artos meets a dragon and comes to accept him as a friend and mentor. FIC YOLEN
  • Yolen, Jane: Passager (on order), Hobby (1996), Merlin (1997) . Three short novels telling of the adventures of Merlin as a young boy. J FIC YOLEN
  • Yolen, Jane: Merlin's booke (1986).Tales of Merlin, the Archmage of Camelot, King Arthur's tutor, friend, counselor, and wizard. : J FIC YOLEN

Links to Arthurian Web-Sites


King Arthur

King Arthur: A Man for the Ages

King Arthur and his Knights

The Camelot Project

Glastonbury Abbey




Harold Hitchcock picture

"Knight of the Holy Grail" by Harold Hitchcock

Updated July 2003 - MJS

Harold Hitchcock picture provided by: Art Magick

Posted by library at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005


This page was originally constructed in 2003 by Martha Jane Stewart, who is now a children's librarian at the Boston Public Library. We removed the page last spring, but because there continue to be scores of requests for it each week, we are reprinting it here. The call numbers on the books are local to our library. They might be quite different elsewhere.

Respun Fairy Tales and Adaptations of Myth and Folklore for Young Adults

  • Card, Orson Scott: Enchantment. (1999) A multi-layered romantic adventure exploring what happens when a 20th century scholar kisses awake a 10th century Carpathian Sleeping Beauty and arouses the wrath of Baba Yaga. SF CARD
  • Galloway, Priscilla: Snake Dreamer. (1998) A contemporary psychological thriller using the myth of Medusa and the Gordon sisters. J FIC GALLOWA
  • Highwater, Jamake: Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey.(1977) Traditional tales from North American Plains Indians woven into one story that relates the adventures of one boy as he grows to manhood. J FIC HIGHWAT
  • Highwater, Jamake: Rama: A Legend (1994). A fantasy inspired by the Ramayana, a central epic from India and Southeast Asia. J FIC HIGHWAT
  • Hoover, H.M. The Dawn Palace: The Story of Medea (1988). A rich novel of the princess Medea, her love for and betrayal by the Greek adventurer Jason, and Medea's subsequent character assassination by the citizens of Corinth and Euripedes. J FIC HOOVER
  • Lewis, C.S. : Till We Have Faces. (1956). A novel retelling of the story of Psyche and Eros. FIC LEWIS

  • Maguire, Gregory: The Dream Stealer. (1983, 2002). Out of Russia's northern forests, once every generation or so, an evil wolf called the Blood Prince walks, causing two young children to seek the witch Baba Yaga and ask her help in saving their village. FIC MAGUIRE
  • McKinley, Robin: Beauty : A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast ( 1978). Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast. J FIC MCKINLE
  • McKinley, Robin: Deerskin. (1993) A story about a princess who is beautiful and the image of her mother which forces her to flee with her faithful dog from the wrath of her father. Inspired by the Perrault fairy tale Donkeyskin, similar to Catskin (English) and Many Furs (Grimm brothers). SF MCKINLE
  • McKinley, Robin: Rose Daughter. Yet another, more complex retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast by the author of the beloved story Beauty. J FIC MCKINLE
  • McKinley, Robin: Spindel's End (2000). A novel-length retelling of the story Sleeping Beauty. J FIC MCKINLE
  • McLaren, Clemence: Aphrodite's Blessing: Love Stories from the Greek Myths. Retelling of three love stories: Atalanta and Milanion, Andromeda and Perseus, and Psyche and Eros. J FIC MCLAREN
  • Napoli, Donna Jo: Beast. (2000)A story of Beauty and the Beast from the time an ancient curse is placed upon the prince. The Beast must combine human memories and beastly instincts with all the cunning he can muster to find forgiveness and redemption. J FIC NAPOLI
  • Napoli, Donna Jo: The Magic Circle. (1993) After learning sorcery to become a healer, a good-hearted woman is turned into a witch by evil spirits and she fights their power until her encounter with Hansel and Gretel years later. J FIC NAPOLI
  • Napoli, Donna Jo: Sirena. (1998) The gods grant immortality to the mermaid Sirena when she rescues a human man from the sea and they fall in love, but his mortality creates great conflict between love and honor when he is called to defend Greece in the Trojan War. J FIC NAPOLI
  • Napoli, Donna Jo: Spinners (1999).Elaborates on the events recounted in the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin in which a strange little man helps a miller's daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child. J FIC NAPOLI
  • Napoli, Donna Jo: Zel. (1996) Based on the fairy tale Rapunzel, the story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Zel, her mother, and the prince, and delves into the psychological motivations of the characters. J FIC NAPOLI
  • Pope, Elizabeth Marie: The Perilous Gard ( 1974). In 1558 while imprisoned in a remote castle, a young girl becomes involved in a series of events that leads to an underground labyrinth peopled by the last practitioners of druidic magic. A historical novel with echoes of the Tam Lin story. J FIC POPE
  • Spinner, Stephanie: Quiver. (2002) A fleet-footed Atalanta determines she will not marry unless the suitor can best her in a footrace. Those who she beats must die. J FIC SPINNER
  • Strauss, Gwen: Trail of Stones .(1990) As they enter the dark wood, familiar fairy tale characters confront the issues of fear of love, shame, grief, jealousy, loneliness, and joy in this illustrated collection of poems. A haunting collection. J 811 STRAUSS
  • Walker, Barbara G.: Feminist Fairy Tales ( 1993). Twenty-eight richly respun firy tales (with a few retold Greek myths and some original stories) featuring heroic women. Each story is introduced with a brief commentary on its origins and meanings. J FIC WALKER
  • Yolen, Jane: Briar Rose (1992).An adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty legend set in time of the Holocaust. FIC YOLEN

Collections of fairy tale adaptations edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling:

  • Black Swan, White Raven. (1997) SC BLACK
  • Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears (1995) SC RUBY
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon (1999) SC SILVER
  • A Wolf at the Door: and Other Retold Fairy Tales (2000) J FIC WOLF

Websites of Popular Young Adult Writers:

Robin McKinley
Donna Jo Napoli
Jane Yolen

Updated July 2003 - MJS

Fairy picture provided by: SyberGypsy's Theme Magik

Posted by library at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Summer Quest Finale

It is hard to believe that the end of summer is hard upon us. It's time to plan the annual Turning of the Seasons party for the faithful and enthusiastic readers in Summer Quest. One hopes that the evening of September 19 at 7 pm will not conflict with some major Back-to-School Night or other important event. Dave and Jillian of the Library will be eager to hear your thoughts about what you read this summer -and we will try to be imaginative in how we elicit your thoughts. Parents are welcome to join the discussion. There will be small treats!

Posted by at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Reynard the Fox

Reynard the Library Fox received an email the other day from his friend Brad the Gorilla. To Reynard's chagrin, Brad has his own blog. "Zounds!," I heard Reynard mutter (usually one cannot hear him speak.) Now Reynard is wondering how he might learn to blog as well. He would love to get a picture of himself up on the web.

Our Reynard
Okay Reynard, you needed only to ask.
Posted by at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
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