The headless horseman and other ghoulish tales

Author Pearson, Maggie,
Language English
New York: Crocodile Books USA, 2000


A collection of tales from around the world, including "The bunyip," "Abena and the python," "A bargain is a bargain," and "Vasilissa and Baba Yaga."

Subjects :

  • Tales
  • Folklore

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Reviews :

Shelle Rosenfeld (Booklist, Mar. 1, 2001 (Vol. 97, No. 13))
These 14 tales, classic to obscure, introduce an assortment of eerie beings from around the world--from Bluebeard and bunyips to Baba Yaga and Ichabod Crane. Retellings include "A Bargain Is a Bargain," a Romanian outwit-the-devil tale; the African "Abena and the Python," in which a young bride gets a chilling lesson in appearances versus reality; and "The Shadow," a haunting Danish story about a sinister, ambitious shadow. Slightly oversize text and lively, descriptive prose sprinkled with periodic direct address make for fast, engaging reading. Some of the expressive watercolor illustrations may be a bit gruesome for the tenderhearted (lanterns made of human skulls; a bloody skeleton), but they are an apt accompaniment, detailing international landscapes, cultural elements, and human and otherworldly characters in muted, shadowy tones. An introduction sets the mood, briefly touching on tales' similarities and general representation of culture; the table of contents includes each story's country of origin. A well-told collection illustrating that a good spine tingler knows no national boundaries. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Nonfiction. 2001, Interlink/Crocodile, $18.95. Gr. 4-7.
(PUBLISHER: Crocodile Books USA (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2000 (Vol. 68, No. 22))
See that shadow there? Could be the bunyip coming to get you! See that thing under the water, way too big to be a fish? That's him, all right. Better run." Though Pearson has done a poor job of scholarship, not only skipping source notes entirely, but billing her severely abridged version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" as anonymously "North American," these fourteen retold tales are just right for reading late at night, under the sheets, with the bedroom door closed. Her renditions are readable, tellable, and matter of fact, taking readers from graveyard ("The Brave Little Tailor") to fen ("The Buried Moon"), from Bluebeard's castle to an igloo where a lonely fisherman's tears bring a "Skeleton Woman" back to life. Amply illustrating the pages, Rowe adds gleefully atmospheric touches: rows of eyes peer out of the murky swamp; Vasilissa's father looks on with mild surprise as she blasts her cruel stepmother to ashes with a glowing skull; the wolf grins up at viewers as a cautionary lesson to all who "cry wolf" needlessly. Ready for some chills? Don't forget to check those flashlight batteries. 2001, Crocodile/Interlink, $18.95. Category: Folktales. Ages 10 to 12. © 2000 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Crocodile Books USA (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Maggie Pearson retells 14 stories from around the world in The Headless Horseman and Other Ghoulish Tales, illus. by Gavin Rowe, including "The Brave Little Tailor," based on a Celtic ghost story (which also inspired Janice del Negro's recent Lucy Dove, illus. by Leonid Gore); "The Headless Horseman" (an adaptation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow); and "Bluebeard," the French legend of the man who killed his wives in a secret room of his home. Oddly, Pearson offers no bibliography to credit the original sources for her tales (Washington Irving's name is mentioned nowhere, for instance). Full-bleed watercolors and spot vignettes play up the haunting nature of the tales.
(PUBLISHER: Crocodile Books USA (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: Crocodile Books USA, 2000

Media Type: Language Material
92 p.:
PZ8.1.P325 (398.2)

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