Friday, July 31, 2015

Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays #3: The Firebird

Hey there!  Welcome to "Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays," a new feature on my blog where I discuss about some fairy tales and folktales I have read throughout the years. 

The firebird



TYPE: folktale

Country of Origin: Russia

Main Character Hero or Heroine: Hero

Recommended?: Yes!

In this story, a young man named Ivan was riding in the forest with his Horse of Power when all of a sudden, he finds a Firebird's feather on the ground and he wanted to present the feather as a gift to the Czar.  The Horse of Power however tried to warn Ivan that it wouldn't be a good idea to take the feather to the Czar.  But, Ivan ignored his horse's advice and went to the palace of the Czar to give him the Firebird's feather as a present.  Unfortunately, the Czar was not pleased with this as he wanted the Firebird itself and he forced Ivan to go and retrieve the Firebird or else he will have Ivan executed.  The Horse of Power then helps Ivan by giving him instructions in how to catch the Firebird and when Ivan successfully captures the Firebird, the Czar then wanted Ivan to retrieve Princess Vasalissa and threatened his life once more if he didn't complete this task.  So, Ivan went to retrieve Princess Vasalissa, but then he suddenly fell in love with the princess and was heartbroken when she has to marry the Czar.  However, Princess Vasalissa seems to have a secret plan up her sleeve to avoid marrying the Czar...


I have read many Russian folktales, but this tale was probably the most interesting story I have ever read!  It's interesting to note that this story is sometimes called "The Magic Pony" or "The Humpbacked Horse" as both versions have the firebird and a horse companion within the plot and I always thought that these titles were pretty fitting for the tale.  I always loved looking at the Firebird itself as it is usually shown as a thing of beauty, no matter which version you happen to pick up.  I also loved the fact that the Horse of Power is the voice of reason in these tales as it's great seeing a character who has common sense and also see them trying to help the protagonist out of the situation he is thrown into.

1. Which title sounds more appropriate: The Firebird or the Magic Pony?

Well, I think it depends on which character the story is focusing on.  Some versions of this tale that I have read have focused more on the Firebird than on the Horse of Power or the Magic Pony.  Other versions have focused on the Horse of Power and its relationship with Ivan while the Firebird is a background character.

2. Is this a good story about the consequences of being greedy?

Yes, I think that this story would be great in teaching children about the consequences of being greedy as the Czar was very greedy in this tale and he suffered the consequences for it towards the end of the book.

3. Should Ivan have heed the Horse of Power's warnings?
Yes, I think that if Ivan had actually listened to the Horse of Power when it had warned Ivan about the danger of giving the Firebird's feather to the Czar, then Ivan would have never been put into this situation in the first place.

4. What other Russian folktales would you like to check out?

Well, I'm already a huge fan of "The Fool and the Flying Ship," but I wanted to read more about Kastchei the Deathless since he seems like a pretty interesting character!

The Firebird by Brad Kessler

Firebird by Saviour Pirotta


The Tale of the Firebird by Genaddy Spirin


The Firebird by Demi


The Firebird by Robert D. San Souci

The Fisherman and his Wife

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Sunday Post Meme (28)

Hey everybody! I am participating in a book meme called the Sunday Post which is being hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer! The goal of this meme is to share news you have on various books and things you’ve read or received and also talk about what is coming up for your blog! Book hauls can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books and you can share these finds with other book bloggers!

Hey everyone! I'm happy to say that I am on the roll with my reading this month!  I've noticed that the past few months I haven't been able to keep up with my reading because of my new job and the constant and stressful events that kept happening to me at my job during the last few months. But hopefully, I can get caught up on my reading his month and read more fantastic books this year!


Well, that’s the Sunday News for today and I will have more news for the various books I’ve read in the near future!

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

[BOOK REVIEW] The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci

Title:  The Faithful Friend

Author:  Robert D. San Souci

Artist:  Brian Pinkney

Genre: Folktale / Friendship / African American / Magic

Year Published: 1995

Year Read:  2010

Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers   

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 6+  (Nothing Objectionable)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“The Faithful Friend” is a Caldecott Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Award winning book from master storyteller, Robert D. San Souci along with illustrations by Brian Pinkney.  This story is about how Hippolyte, a faithful friend of Clement, tries to save his friend from the misfortune that occurs to him when Clement tries to marry Pauline.  “The Faithful Friend” is definitely one of the greatest books about friendship ever written for children.

Robert D. San Souci has done a fantastic job at writing this book as it is based off the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Faithful Joannes.”  Robert D. San Souci has successfully delivered the message about how a true friend will help a friend in their time of need as Hippolyte stayed loyal to his friend Clement in order to protect him from the evil Monsieur Zabocat.  Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are truly magnificent as the characters seem to glow in every page and even though the characters have some scratchy edges to their structures, they look extremely realistic and colorful that will mesmerize children to no end.  The images that stood out the most in this book was the image of Pauline, Clement and Hippolyte leaving Monsieur Zabocat’s plantation in the middle of the night as the sky is clear blue and the characters effectively glow against the small moon in the image.

“The Faithful Friend” is the perfect for children who want to learn more about what it takes to be a true friend and who loves romance.  I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the book is a bit too long for smaller children to handle and there are some Caribbean words such as “Bonjou” and “quimboiseur” that younger children would have trouble understanding.

  • 1995 California Book Award Silver Medal for Juvenile
  • 1996 Caldecott Honor
  • 1996 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrator Honor

[BOOK REVIEW] The Green Frogs by Yumi Heo

Title:  The Green Frogs

Author:  Yumi Heo

Genre: Folktale / Korea/ Family / Manners

Year Published: 1996

Year Read:  1997

Houghton Mifflin Company     

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+ (Death of a Parent)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

I have read many folktales from Russia, China, and Africa, but never have I heard a folktale from Korea. While I was searching for some children’s books in the library, I stumbled upon a book called “The Green Frogs.” At first, I thought that this was going to be a comedic story; however, I was awed at how serious yet true this story really is. “The Green Frogs” is a great story about facing the trials that each parent goes through whenever their child misbehaves and the guilty conscious that the child suffers through whenever their parents are gone. Since, this story has many Korean aspects; it is surely to be another classic folktale from around the world.

Yumi Heo does an excellent job at retelling and illustrating the escapades of the two green frogs and their mother. Yumi Heo’s retelling of an ancient Korean folktale has a great moral about the consequences of disobeying your parents as the green frogs regretted the fact that they have caused their mother nothing but grief over the years and the somewhat sad realization that Mother Frog never knew that her sons had listen to her for once in their lives. Yumi Heo’s illustrations are as creative as they are simplistic. The frogs are displayed with rounded heads and large mouths and Heo adds an assortment of plants and flies on the background to give the story a chaotic sense since the two frogs are actually chaotic throughout the entire story.

“The Green Frogs” is a fantastic Korean folktale about the importance of listening to your parents and the reality that a child would face whenever their parent passes away and they spend most of their lives regretting all the horrible acts they have committed against their parent. This book is extremely pleasant to read and is appropriate for children ages four and over, even though this book does discuss the death of a parent and how it has affected to the sons in this story.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays #2: The Six Servants

Hey there!  Welcome to "Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays," a new feature on my blog where I discuss about some fairy tales and folktales I have read throughout the years.  

The Six Servants

Type: Fairy Tale

Country of Origin: Germany

Main Character Hero or Heroine: Heroes

Recommended?: Yes!

In this unusual fairy tale, a young prince learns about a beautiful princess in a faraway kingdom and he wanted to marry her.  Unfortunately, the princess' mother, the queen, is a wicked witch who sets up several trials that the princess' suitors must pass in order to marry the princess.  If the suitors fail in these tasks, then the wicked queen will take their lives.  When the King hears about this, he forbids the young prince to go journey onto the next kingdom to win the princess' hand in marriage.  But then the prince suddenly fell ill and the king realized that the only way for the prince to get better is if he let the prince go on his journey.  So, the King let the prince journey to the kingdom and on his way, the prince meets several men who have strange abilities such as one man being able to eat twice his weight, a man who can see far and beyond, a man who has long legs that can take him to a far away location in a few seconds and a man whose gaze would shatter anything he sets his eyes on.  When the prince and his servants arrive at the queen's palace, the queen immediately gives them several tasks to complete before the prince can marry the princess!

I have love many tales from the Brothers Grimm, but this remains to be one of my most favorite stories from Brothers Grimm because it is similar to another fairy tale that I really enjoyed (The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship).  I really loved the way that the six servants were able to use their own abilities to help the prince pass the tasks given out to him since it's really interesting to see what the six servants could do with their abilities.  I also generally enjoy stories that feature a group of characters that have special powers and are able to put them to great use (is it a wonder that I am a huge X-Men fan)?

1. Which of the six servants was your favorite character?

I really enjoyed the characters of the fat man and the tall man because the fat man's power is something that relates to me strongly (I love to eat too) and the tall man's power is probably one of the most interesting powers I've seen in this tale!

2. Did the princess deserved the humiliation she received at the end of the story?

Yeah, I think that the princess deserved the humiliation she got at the end because she became too haughty when she was forced to marry someone she didn't know very well (although the whole idea about marrying someone you barely know is a valid excuse to not marry that person).  I think that if the princess had just found a reasonable way to get out of her marriage instead of trying to put one of the servants' lives in danger, then she would not have gone through the humiliation that the prince put her through.

3. If the queen was actually good, what other way could she have given her daughter's hand in marriage?

Instead of killing every suitor that couldn't pass her tests, she could have just sent them away unharmed.  Also, it probably would have been better if she had each prince spend some time with the princess and learn a lot about the princess so that the princess could marry someone she is interested in and vice versa for the princes.

4. Which of the six servants' abilities would you like to have?

I definitely would like to have the tall man's ability to stretch out his legs to far away places and be at that place in a matter of seconds!

5. What other fairy tales or folktales have you read that were similar to this story?

One of the most notable folktales I had read that was pretty similar to this tale was "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship" as both stories had the main character be accompanied by several companions and each companion possesses a unique power that helps that main character through their trials!

The Six Servants by the Brothers Grimm

The Firebird