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Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales
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Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  53 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Sleeping beauties? Not Clever Gretchen or Kate Crackernuts or Manka or any of the other young heroines in this wonderful collection of folktales. Active, witty, brave, and resourceful, these girls and young women can fight and hunt, defeat giants, answer riddles, outwit the Devil, and rescue friends and family from all sorts of dangers and evil spells. These stories and ma ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by iUniverse (first published 1980)
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Dec 31, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
I need to buy about ten copies of this book and give one to every female friend I have and all young girls I interact with (cousins, sister, friends' kids).

The stories aren't very long. Some of them are abridged versions of long songs; others are distillations of several tales that have the same themes, motifs, or storylines. All of them feature female characters who are clever, strong, resourceful, and work to get themselves, their families, and helpless princes out of trouble.

These are the st
Feb 06, 2013 Jazz rated it really liked it
This collection is a short introduction to lesser known folktales. Lurie's commentary is minimal--all she really does is tell you where the tale comes from. After reading this, I suggest you check out the source the tale comes from. The final tale is "Tomlin" based on the ballad "Tamlin," which is much different experience than the prose version. I'd check this out for the inclusion of Cap O'Rushes alone. Cap O'Rushes is a variant of Cinderella (and similar to King Lear) about a maiden cast out ...more
Jul 06, 2008 Doria rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, a terrific collection of what some might call "feminist" folk tales. I.e., stories which feature smart women who solve problems and save princes. I particularly enjoyed the Scandinavian story of the husband and wife who switch their work for a day, and the chaos that ensues as the hapless husband attempts to perform the "simple" tasks which his wife accomplishes on a daily basis. Utterly charming and great fun to read!
This short and very nice little collection contains stories that have girls doing things. In other words, stories about heroines, not heroes. While the sub-title, forgetton folktales, doesn apply to every tale (I've always loved "Kate Crackernuts"), it does apply to a good portion of the stories.

Many of the stories are Scottish, Russian, or Scandivan in root. A few also sure siblings working together and in fact, feature the older child as heroine. If you have a young girl, I would say track thi
Jun 16, 2011 Marge rated it it was amazing
Not only is this a beautiful collection of stories, but it is also written beautifully. Every word seems right to me, and that's saying something! I have read some of the stories in other collections, but this one is just pure delight. This was my first "print on demand" book. I just ordered it from Amazon, as ever, but then it was "printed" just for me!
Mar 19, 2011 Alison rated it really liked it
This is a collection of less well known folk and tales, featuring more active, brave heroines than the prettified Disney-princess type. There are girls defeating giants, outwitting trolls and witches, and rescuing the odd prince along the way. It's a good collection, but it's a shame the illustrations aren't more attractive (to me, anyway).
Great collection-I have come across some of the stories in other collections and situations and think Lurie has done a fantastic job of maintaining the stories. They are written in an accessible way and just the right length for individuals of all ages.

For those interested, source notes are included.
Jun 12, 2012 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I read it on my own and my daughter and I read it together when she was growing up. It's been a while so I'm going to read it again and list it in my "to read" section. I can't wait to read this fun, glorious, and empowering book again.
May 27, 2013 Allyson rated it it was amazing
Yes! I wish I had found a copy of this book at age 8 or 10 or 12. This will be the birthday/Christmas/graduation/whatever gift for any girls I know from now on, no matter their age.
Dec 26, 2007 Kelly rated it really liked it
one of my favorite collections of fairytales. like grimm's fairytales only most are ethnic fables/old wives tales
Apr 09, 2012 Lia rated it it was amazing
Wonderful stories with strong women characters.
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Alison Lurie (b. 1926) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Born in Chicago and raised in White Plains, New York, she joined the English department at Cornell University in 1970, where she taught courses on children’s literature, among others. Her first novel, Love and Friendship (1962), is a story of romance and deception among the faculty of a snowbound New England colle ...more
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