A useful storytelling collection comprising three dozen largely traditional tales from around the world together with a few of Hartman’s own, specially written and retold for reading aloud. My favourites are ‘The Crocodile Brother’ and ‘The Woman and the Bird’, both from Africa and both with a message of living together in peace. As Hartman says in his introduction, ‘Animal stories are really just stories about us’. So, also featured are ten of Aesop’s fables, trickster tales from various cultures and a sprinkling of pourquoi tales.
I would want the storyteller’s words to paint the pictures in the first instance but Poole’s lively watercolours adorning every double spread help to make the book more accessible particularly for children wanting to read the stories for themselves.