School is almost out and the summer reading program has begun. Our theme this year is One World Many Stories: Get Reading, Get Moving. Reading folktales is the perfect way to explore this exciting theme and one of the best folktale collectors is Margaret Read MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald lived in Bloomington many years ago when she studied for her Ph.D. in folklore at Indiana University. She lives and works in Washington state today where she is a librarian, storyteller, and author of dozens of books. Some of her books are collections that are perfect for beginning storytellers. Teachers, parents, and kids who want to learn how to tell stories will love The Storyteller's Start-Up Book . These stories are easy to learn and Dr. MacDonald gives great advice on how to present them. When the Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales to Tell is a fun collection of shivery stories that are great to share around a summer campfire.
You might prefer to read your folktales in a picturebook format. Take a look at Fat Cat: a Danish Folktale  illustrated by Julie Paschkis. It is the deeply silly story of a chubby feline who is always a HUNGRY, HUNGRY CAT. He is so hungry, he eats 35 pies, a washerwoman, a company of soldiers, a king, an elephant and his best friend, the mouse. That clever mouse finds an ingenious way to free everyone from the cat's huge stomach. I love the pictures of the orange tabby cat who gets so fat, he is bigger than an elephant.
If that doesn't tickle you, try Little Rooster's Diamond Button .
In this brightly illustrated story from Hungary, a rooster with a magic stomach retrieves the diamond button which was stolen from him by a greedy king. Hmmmmm, I seem to be very interested in animals with strange eating habits.
You can find more information about this talented storyteller along with a complete list of her books at http://www.margaretreadmacdonald.com/ .
Happy summer reading!