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Specific Books & Authors > Brer Rabbit/Uncle Remus Tales????

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message 1: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments I am currently reading a Disney compilation of various stories. Well, Tar Baby is one of them. (It is from "The Song of the South.")

I read it to ds and what is weird--he loved it. He kept wanting to look at the pictures of the rabbit and asking questions about it.

I did change from the dialect (vernacular?) way of speaking to normal English.

I hadn't planned on reading Uncle Remus Tales to him, but now I wonder how much they are part of American folklore & history.........

message 2: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (sianin) | 129 comments I'm not American but I remember loving the Uncle Remus tales when I was young and I remember loving the sing song flow of the language. I remember when the movie "Song of the South" came out. Having said that, I have not read them to my son, partly because I have not come across them again and do not remember much of the specifics.

message 3: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Nov 15, 2010 10:22AM) (new)

Kathryn | 6159 comments Mod
Oh, I LOVED Brer Rabbit! The Tar Baby was one of my favorites! I think these are definitely a strong part of American folklore, though I know the fundamentals of the story appear in all sorts of cultures and folktales (there is one very like the Tar Baby in an Anansi story from Africa). I'm sure Abigail will be able to speak more to the folklore nuances, but for me, as a kid growing up in California in the '80s, heck yeah, I LOVED it! Also, one of the things I loved most about it was the "vernacular" language. Is there a reason you decided not to use it for your son?

message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Nov 15, 2010 10:24AM) (new)

Kathryn | 6159 comments Mod
Shannon, there is a The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus that is a bit pricey new but appears to be currently available through Amazon, etc. here in the States. Not sure if you can get them. Also, just on Brer Rabbit, Brer Rabbit Again! and Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit and Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. Oooh, this makes me want to read them again ;-)

message 5: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments I didn't use the vernacular language because I didn't think he would be able to understand it. And the reason for this is that I remember trying to read the Uncle Remus Tales when I was a kid and not understanding it and it giving me a headache.

Honestly, I am not too big on "Uncle Remus" and "Strawberry Girl" type talk. A little is okay, but there comes a point when it just annoys me. I suppose that is up for debate--whether people like it or not.

message 6: by ABC (last edited Nov 15, 2010 09:11PM) (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Oh, and if I were to have the extra money to buy the tales, I would buy this one: The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit because both the writer (adapter?) and the illustrator are African-American. I think Joel Chandler was white, which is the cause of some controversy...

message 7: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (sianin) | 129 comments I do know that there is lots of controversy around these stories and around the Disney movie. I just googled it because I thought the movie got banned but apparently not, Disney has just withheld it and doesn't look like theya re going to re-release it anytime soon.

message 8: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 229 comments For me, it all comes down to the presentation. Frequently in the past, there have been racially offensive presentations with poorly done dialect (I will never watch "Song of the South" again!) But Julius Lester and other authors have presented these stories correctly, as African folktales transplanted to the Americas. They are great stories when they are told with respect.

message 9: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Nov 16, 2010 07:50AM) (new)

Kathryn | 6159 comments Mod
I am glad to know about the Julius Lester version. I honestly have no idea what versions were read to me as a child, but if I'm looking to put one in my own collection I will watch for the good stuff! :-)

message 10: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 229 comments I actually live right around the corner from the Wren's Nest, Chandler's old house here in Atlanta. It has become a great venue for storytellers. I'm sure that I read the Chandler versions as a child, but I would have to try them again to give a real review. I think that Chandler has probably gotten more criticism than he deserves, given the time in which he was writing. The most annoying part for many African Americans (apart from the extreme dialect) is that so many people think of them as Chandler's stories, while the people who told them to him received little credit. (This is not Chandler's fault.) My grandson and I do have the Lester version and the stories are very enjoyable. I think that Disney will keep "Song of the South" buried - a little too much "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" for me! Somehow I don't think that my ancestors were quite that jolly!

message 11: by Ronyell (last edited Nov 17, 2010 05:08AM) (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 213 comments I loved the Brer Rabbit stories!! I have read almost every version of the tale that I can think of. I have never seen Song of the South before because it has never been released in the U.S. and I heard that the movie was very controversial and it seemed that way because it came out during the 40s, so I can see how this movie might be controversial. However, I still read many of the Brer Rabbit tales to this very day! The ones I have read before are:

Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion by Brad Kessler Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion
The Story of Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby by Joel Chandler Harris The Story of Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby
The Tales of Uncle Remus The Adventures of Brer Rabbit by Julius Lester The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit

message 12: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments That is interesting, Wilhemina.

Abigail, I personally don't know the exact reasons for the controversy--I just knew that there was some controversy.

message 13: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Oh, and I realized after I made my first post, I should not have said, "It is from Song of the South." (Song of the South is the reason why The Tar Baby is in included in the Disney book--I hoped you all knew what I meant!)

Of course, "Song of the South" is taken from the Uncle Remus Tales.

message 14: by Wilhelmina (last edited Nov 17, 2010 10:00PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 229 comments Abigail wrote: "How interesting! I didn't realize that Chandler was an Atlanta author, but then, I know so little about him. .."

Joel Chandler Harris was actually an editor of The Athlana Constitution newspaper, and was considered progressive, although paternalistic, about race.

You may find this article interesting:

message 15: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments That is a really interesting article! Thanks!

At the end it says that Alice Walker could team up with Spike Lee and Eddie Murphy to make a movie...... I was thinking the same thing--there are tons of talented movie-makers who could do a great job!

message 16: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 213 comments That sounds really interesting Chandra! I'll have to check it out!

message 17: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 213 comments Yeah!! I loved most of the Dillons works like Why the Mosquitoe buzz in people's ears and the Girl Who Spun Gold. I was reading The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales which also contained some Brer Rabbit tales, but I wasn't able to finished it, but I did like the parts I read so far!

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