Cover image for How & why stories : world tales kids can read & tell
How & why stories : world tales kids can read & tell
Hamilton, Martha.
Publication Information:
Little Rock, Ark. : August House Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
96 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
A collection of twenty-five traditional stories explaining why an animal or plant or natural object looks or acts the way it does. Following each story are storytelling tips and short modern, scientific explanations for the subject of the story.
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 3.0 48674.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PZ8.1 .H8645 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Central Library PZ8.1 .H8645 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Boston Free Library PZ8.1 .H8645 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library PZ8.1 .H8645 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
Audubon Library PZ8.1 .H8645 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Did you ever look carefully at a spider's web? If their purpose is strictly to catch flies, why do spiders weave such beautiful, intricate webs? Did you ever wonder what causes thunder? Why is the sea salty? How did tigers get their stripes? In this collection of delightful tales from around the world and through the ages, each story explains why an animal, plant, or natural object looks or acts the way it does.

Author Notes

Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss are "Beauty and the Beast Storytellers," a husband-wife team who began telling stories together in 1980. They have presented storytelling performances and workshops at schools, libraries, coffee-houses, museums, festivals, and conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe They are based in Ithaca, New York.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5 and up, younger for reading aloud. Why is the sea salty? Why do cats wash their paws after eating? How did tigers get their stripes? With 25 lively pourquoi (how and why) stories from everywhere, this is not only a resource for storytellers but also an informal guide to encourage kids to tell the stories themselves. The accessible introduction talks about the folklore and raises crucial questions about why so many similar stories exist across cultures. Whether the folktale is Chinese, Cherokee Indian, Nigerian, Norwegian, African American, or whatever, the storytelling is all in the same voice: immediate, casual, friendly, but also, generic. However, the particular sources are discussed and other versions are listed in detail. What's excellent here, for libraries and classroom connections, are the hands-on "tips for telling." There's a general afterword about how to choose, learn, and tell stories (Don't get in the way of the story. Vary your voice. Don't be afraid of silence). Best of all is the practical advice with each individual story, including suggestions for particular gestures, pacing, sounds, and movements to help listeners see pictures in their minds. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-6-In this collection of oral tales, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss direct several young people in the presentation of stories from their book, How & Why Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read and Tell (August House, 1999). The 18 imaginative stories include a short musical introduction, and address such questions as "How Tigers Got Their Stripes" and "Why Babies Say `Goo.' " Amusingly clever, these multicultural tales offer simple explanations for nature's phenomena. The recording makes an excellent companion to the book, which includes not only the stories themselves, but storytelling techniques, scientific explanations behind the cultural folk tales, and a world map of where each story originated. This title will provide a solid addition to any audio collection, but will be particularly useful to children and adults interested in developing storytelling skills, as well as a complement to social studies and language arts curricula. Librarians will also find this recording useful as a programming resource.-Kirsten Martindale, Buford Academy, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 10
Where the Stories Come From (Map)p. 12
How and Why Stories
Thunder and Lightning (Nigeria (Ibibio))p. 15
How Tigers Got Their Stripes (Vietnam)p. 18
Why Bat Flies Alone At Night (U.S. (Modoc Indian))p. 21
The Mill at the Bottom of the Sea (Korea)p. 23
Why Cats Wash Their Paws After Eating (Europe)p. 26
Why Ants Are Found Everywhere (Burma)p. 28
Why Frog and Snake Never Play Together (Cameroon/Nigeria (Ekoi))p. 30
Why the Baby Says "Goo" (U.S. (Penobscot Indian))p. 33
Why the Farmer and the Bear Are Enemies (Russia)p. 36
Why Hens Scratch in the Dirt (Philippines)p. 38
Why the Sun Comes Up When Rooster Crows (China)p. 41
Why Dogs Chase Cats (U.S. (African-American))p. 44
The Dancing Brothers (U.S. (Onondaga Indian))p. 46
The Turtle Who Couldn't Stop Talking (India)p. 49
The Story of Arachne (Greece)p. 51
Rabbit Counts the Crocodiles (Japan)p. 54
The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean (Germany)p. 57
How Brazilian Beetles Got Their Gorgeous Coats (Brazil)p. 59
The Quarrel (U.S. (Cherokee Indian))p. 62
Why Parrots Only Repeat What People Say (Thailand)p. 64
The Taxi Ride (Northern Ghana/Mauritania)p. 67
How Owl Got His Feathers (Puerto Rico)p. 69
Two Brothers, Two Rewards (China/Korea/Japan)p. 71
Why Bear Has a Stumpy Tail (Norway)p. 74
Where All Stories Come From (U.S. (Seneca Indian))p. 76
General Tips for Telling Storiesp. 79
Activitiesp. 87
Appendix Story Sourcesp. 91

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