Cover image for How animals saved the people : animal tales from the South
How animals saved the people : animal tales from the South
Reneaux, J. J., 1955-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
64 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A collection of folktales from people in the Deep South including Cajun, Creole, Native Americans, African Americans, those of English as well as Scotch-Irish-German traditions, and others living in Appalachia.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.7 1.0 47327.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.1.R278 HO 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Dear Reader, You hold in your hands not just a book but a legacy -- the mind and spirit of one of the most personable, gracious. intelligent, genuine, and genuinely talented storytellers of our time -- J. J. Reneaux. She was quite something -- a fiery Cajun mix who, at first blush, might seem sort of down-home and backwoods, Louisiana style. Then, as you sat and listened, you quickly discovered that she was also totally literate and as intellectually sophisticated as all get out.It is my privilege and good fortune to have known J.J. Now it will be yours.So, as my friend J.J. might say, I recommend that "you read these stories and that you all enjoy and share them, too, you hear?" For under the words of each of J.J.'s stories is a music, old and fine and wild and very wise. With this book, the spirit of J.J. is alive and talkin' to ya. You arc one lucky person, indeed.Rafe Martin

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-8, younger for reading aloud. Listeners beguiled by late singer/storyteller Reneaux's recording Wake, Snake! will welcome these eight lively, evocative folk tales. The title story is on the recording; the others range from a Creole version of "Tops and Bottoms," in which Bouki the wolf outsmarts himself while trying to trick Lapin out of his fair share of the crops, to a Cajun fable about a chicken hawk and a buzzard. Other tales feature characters including the monstrous cat BooZoo and the well-known trickster Rabbit. Some of the stories have a chorus or other repetitive element, and a sifting of dialect adds regional flavor. Paintings by James Ransome ably reflect the tales' humor and energy, though readers will wonder why the animals are shown in rustic duds while the indigenous people are unclothed innocents. Still, consider this as a wise, witty cousin to Virginia Hamilton's Ring of Tricksters (1997) and the like. --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

Tricksters, sages, victims and heroes number among the spirited menagerie featured in this collection of eight folktales from the late gifted singer and raconteur. Rooted in a number of cultures, including Appalachian, African-American and Native American, the stories include many kid-pleasing standouts. In "Waiting for BooZoo," a man determined to "whup" a gigantic black cat that haunts his house does anything but; two faithful dogs save their hermit master from a terrifying "piney-woods monster" in "The Poopampareno"; and a hungry buzzard's patience ("I been sittin' here for days waiting for somethin' to drop dead so I can have my supper. But I tell you, there ain't nothin' falling out of the sky for me. I think I'm gonna starve") is rewarded in "Buzzard and Chicken Hawk." There's even a rollicking retelling of Br'er Rabbit, who introduces Miz Gator to "Mr. Trouble" ("How Miz Gator Lost Her Pea-Green Suit"), and a Creole tale in which Trouble also figures prominently. The author's nimble use of dialect and vernacular (defined in a glossary) lend the succinct three- to four-page retellings an authenticity and spunk. Ransome's (The Wagon) full-bleed, spry watercolors open each vignette, and a generous sprinkling of spot art breaks up the text. A few of the paintings are uncharacteristically murky, but all ably capture the traits of the memorable characters, the rural Southern setting and the pervasive humor of the entries. All ages. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-This collection of eight tales retold by the late storyteller J. J. Reneaux spans the culture of her native South. Cajun, Creole, African American, Appalachian, and Choctaw are among the cultures represented. All of the stories are presented in a rollicking, reverent style, perfect for reading aloud. Each one is illustrated with spot or full-page watercolors in a brilliant palette. Ransome imbues his animals with as much detail and character as his humans. Some of his depictions, however, are curious. In "How the Bear People Lost Fire," a Native American story from Alabama, Old Woman Bear is described as carrying a basket, which Ransome has painted as a picnic basket laid with a pink cloth (Hunter Bear wears a "traditional" quiver). In "How Animals Saved the People," he depicts Choctaw men and women bathing (nude) together. A glossary at the end of the volume explains colloquialisms, and a short note on each story lists sources. Lists of animal stories in book and audio formats, and an introduction explaining the importance of these stories in each culture, lend depth and context to this anthology. A fine choice for storytellers or for sharing one-on-one.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 4
The GollyWhumper [Appalachian]p. 7
How Miz Gator Lost Her Pea-Green Suit [African-American]p. 17
How the Bear People Lost Fire [Alabama--Indigenous (Native American)]p. 23
Bouki and Lapin Divide the Crops [Creole]p. 29
Waiting for BooZoo [African-American]p. 35
The Poopampareno [Deep South--English, Scots-Irish, and German]p. 41
Buzzard and Chicken Hawk [Cajun]p. 49
How Animals Saved the People [Choctaw--Indigenous (Native American)]p. 55
Glossaryp. 60
About These Storiesp. 62
Dig a Little Deeper--More Animal Stories and Books; Animal Stories and Songs for Listeningp. 64