Yes, you are still at NZ Children’s Book Reviews! Nothing has changed except for the new look. In 2013 I will be focusing on myths, legends, fairytales and fantasy so I thought the site should reflect the new focus. The gorgeous image is by Vojtech Kubasta from the book Once Long Ago – a book of folk and fairytales of the world retold by Roger Lancelyn Green. This was my favourite book as a child, which we completely destroyed because we read it so much. For years I’ve been trying to find another copy and finally did, managing to convince my family it could be my birthday and Christmas present. My favourite story was Coat of Rushes and this is the story I’ve taken the image from.
The stories range from American Indian to Egyptian to Icelandic to Peruvian to Sudanese to Welsh and more. There are no Maori tales but one Polynesian one, The Bones of Djulung. From a modern perspective it’s hard to place the folktale in Polynesia (the location in the story is “an island of the South Seas”) – rice seems to be a staple food and a tree grows with a trunk of iron, leaves of silk, flowers of gold and fruit of diamonds. Djulung as a name also doesn’t fit with my knowledge (little though it is) of the Polynesian languages. That aside, it is a lovely story very much in a Cinderella-ish vein and evokes memories of days curled up on the bed with the book beside me.
My plan for the year is to still review a book a month. Mostly I will stay with New Zealand authors although, as there is such a rich variety of myth, legend, folktale and fantasy worldwide, I might stray every now and then. There is also a fascinating website I’d like to review so keep your eye out for that.
Please feel free to leave comments – I’d be paticularly interested in anyone’s take on The Bones of Djulung. Has anyone else read it? Do you know it’s actual origin?
Happy reading, teaching and sharing!