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The Cow-Tail Switch: And Other West African Stories
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The Cow-Tail Switch: And Other West African Stories

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The stories of West Africa are about men and animals, about kings, warriors, and hunters. They tell about clever people and stupid people, about good ones and bad ones, about how things and animals got to be how they are. Some stories in this book will make you think. Some will make you laugh. All of them are retold with folk spirit full of generosity and vitality.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 15th 1987 by Owlet Paperbacks (first published 1947)
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The People Could Fly by Virginia HamiltonJohn Henry by Julius LesterBlack Folktales by Julius LesterAfrican Folk Tales by Hugh Vernon-JacksonThe Old African by Julius Lester
African and African American Folktales
25th out of 51 books — 12 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteElla Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamilloHatchet by Gary PaulsenPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale
Newbery Medal Honor Books
298th out of 312 books — 285 voters

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Community Reviews

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This was a thrilling find from the thrift shop, but it didn't satisfy me the way King's Drum and Other African Stories did. The Anansi stories were the type in which the trickster gets tricked, and overall too many of the stories were about people being foolish, and instead of learning something wise, they simply were shamed into realizing they were foolish.

The edition I read is a recent one, but the book was originally published in 1947, and was awarded the Newbery honor for that year. It does
Christie Ahn
Easy and fun to read, but being folk tales, most weren't very engaging. I did like Throw Mountains. It was basically a tall tale. The title story was good too. Anansi's Fishing Expedition was good too.
Sep 12, 2010 Doria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: story-lovers, folklorists, parents, kids
Shelves: favorites
An excellent collection of West African folk tales, told in spare but clear prose, eminently readable and tellable, and appropriate for a wide range of ages, child to adult. This edition is notable also for its excellent notes and useful pronunciation guide, which is an invaluable guide for anyone who is interested in reading the stories aloud and/or telling them with any kind of authenticity and awareness of their socio-cultural provenance. Courlander's collections remain some of the finest to ...more
It wasn't bad, but it was pretty boring. It was simple and short, however, so I got through the whole thing without wanting to stop reading it.
3.5. Bunch of short stories. Some interesting, and some could be told better, but quick reads for kids.
Scott Williams
Brennan Wieland
Out of these stories I only read "Kaddo's Wall".

It was a simple story with an easy to understand moral. Since it was short, it didn't go much into detail about anything. The story did get its point across though, with the moral being about being kind to others and sharing what you have, because you never know when you might need there help.

I enjoyed this story, its interesting and easy to understand. I felt like it could have been longer though and gone into more detail.
Fadi Baidhani
this book is about stories,it is folktails.,the writer of the book is

i choose this book because i wanted to learn about west african stories.i also wanted to learn more about them so i thought they reading about there stories could help me.i liked this book because there are very funny stories.i think the type of reader that would like to read this book is a person who loves to learn about other people or a person who loves stories.
I love folktales. They tell so much about the culture that spawned them. In this book, we see the variety of tribal cultures of West Africa. We have a glimpse into their world of language barriers, hunting expositions, social pride, and humor. They are delightful to read and a fantastic learning tool in Language Arts and Social Studies.
Thomas Bell
The stories are definitely off the beaten path and in my opinion quite lame, but they are less stupid than those found in 'Tales from Silver Lands.' One thing I did like was that the author included where and when all the various stories came from.
Deborah Harris
Dec 23, 2013 Deborah Harris added it
Shelves: a19, ar-4
AR Quiz No. 30655 EN Fiction
Accelerated Reader Quiz Information IL: MG - BL: 4.8 - AR Pts: 3.0
Accelerated Reader Quiz Type Information AR Quiz Types: RP
There were tales I loved and tales I didn't, like the poor frog who only wanted to thank people. All things considered, I think it balanced to a middle of the line three for me.
Could have been jazzed up a little but I liked the stories reminded me of reading the Grimm's fairy tales in German before they were jazzed up.
Laurie D'ghent
I've always liked fables, so this was a fun book to read. It lost a star for pictures inappropriate for children.
colorful and often humorous West African fables
Robert Ellington
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