Kenji let out a scream and jumped to his feet. He had heard of these forest goblins with their red faces and long noses but had never seen one.
’Now what could be so terrible that it would make a young boy cry?’ the tengu asked.
When Kenji’s mother is ill, he seeks help from his wealthy uncle, who refuses to lend them money. But a kindly tengu comes to his aid, giving him magic sandals which produce money when the wearer falls over. The catch is that ever coin leaves the wearer slightly shorter. Kenji is careful, but his greedy uncle soon hears of the magic, and learns the hard way that being greedy is dangerous.
‘Kenji’s Magic Sandals’ is the first of Two Tengu Tales from Japan. In the second story, ‘The Invisible Cloak’, greedy Hikoichi tricks a tengu and steals a coat that makes him invisible. But when the invisibility wears off in a public place, Hikoichi is left exposed and naked.
Two Tengu Tales from Japan are folk tales, retold by Duncan Ball from traditional Japanese folklore. The illustrations, inspired by classic Japanese art bring the mythical, magical tengu and the villages of classic Japan to life.
Suitable for classroom sharing or private reading, Two Tengu Tales from Japan offer an engaging introduction to Japanese folklore.
Two Tengu Tales from Japan, retold by Duncan Ball, illustrated by David Allan
Christmas Press, 2015
‘How dare you steal my…’ the bear roared, then stopped, and sniffed the air. he snatched the porridge and gulped it all down. he licked the bowl and licked his lips. ‘Little girl,’ he growled, ‘you will stay and cook for me, or I will crack your skull like an egg!’
There was nothing Masha could do but stay.
When Masha is kept captive by a greedy, but not-too-smart bear, she has to bide her time until an opportunity arises for escape. On the other hand, when a beautiful, but easily fooled, rooster is preyed on by a cunning fox, he needs the help of his wilier friends to get him out of trouble.
Two Trickster Tales from Russia, as the title suggests, offers two retold folktales from Russia. With a lovely blend of traditional tale, well paced narrative and humour, coupled with a mix of colour and black and white illustrations, the book gives young readers a taste of stories from another time and culture.
Available in paperback format, Two Trickster Tales from Russia is the first title from new Australian publisher Christmas Press, and is also available in Audiobook format, with the reading complemented by music and sound effects which help to bring the tales to life.
A quality production Two Trickster Tales from Russia is delightful.
Two Trickster Tales from Russia, by Sophie Masson, illustrated by David Allan
Christmas Press, 2013