I used to periodically see blog posts lamenting the death of folktale picture books. I haven't seen too many recently - I guess they've just accepted their demise. I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, I do wish more kids enjoyed folktales. They're rich in cultural history, language, and are just fun! On the other hand, they are usually too long to use in storytime and most kids won't sit still for them.
I have improved the circulation of our folktale collection by moving it into the picture book neighborhood (which includes "Nursery" tales and Mother Goose, princess stories, and Bible stories). I have also created displays of picture books, movies, and chapter books based on folktales, frequently do a folktale-themed outreach to the four year old kindergartens in November, and I've done a big Fairy Tale Adventure program several times. I don't expect them to ever have the circulation numbers of contemporary picture books, but I do have a slate of titles that I recommend to parents and teachers and which work well in storytimes, especially with preschool and kindergarten.
When I read folktales, I don't read word-for-word (well, I rarely do that for anything). I add in my own words and interjections, additional repetition if I sense the kids losing interest, or cut longer passages. Sometimes the kids will be absorbed and I'll go straight through; more often I'll adapt it to my audience.
- I don't remember where I encountered these folktales - it was fairly recently, within the last ten years. They have clicked really well with my audiences. The repetition, humor, and simple illustrations make them perfect choices for storytimes.
- No Dinner
- Honk, Honk Goose
Margaret Read MacDonald
- A classic storyteller and folktale writer. I haven't found that all of her stories work as well with storytimes as some have claimed, but these (Squeaky door especially) are perennial favorites.
- The Squeaky Door
- Give up Gecko
- Fat Cat
- Old woman and her pig
- Rabbit's Snow Dance by Joseph Bruchac
- Busy-Busy Little Chick by Janice Harrington
- Monkey by Gerald McDermott
- Grandma and the Great Gourd by Chitra Divakaruni
- This is the same story as Souhami's No Dinner. It's a colorful, hilarious version.