Raw head, bloody bones: African-American tales of the supernatural

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9780069419333: Raw head, bloody bones: African-American tales of the supernatural

Fifteen black and African-American tales of the supernatural from various states and several Caribbean countries. Includes commentary on black folklore in the New World.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6-- Here is a new cast of ghastly characters for lovers of monsters and scary stories: an ominous night doctor; a one-eyed shape-changer; a sea serpent; Raw Head, the giant who sweats blood all over his hairless head; and other horrors. Many of the 15 stories come from South Carolina, especially from the Sea Islands, while others are from Florida, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Michigan, and the Cape Verde Islands. Most were collected 50 years ago or more by Zora Neale Hurston among others, and many are not in print in other collections. In retelling these delightfully eerie and gruesome stories, Lyons has preserved the richness and immediacy of the African and African-American oral traditions. Vigorously told in rhythmic and colorful language, the stories demand to be read aloud, preferably by the light of a candle, as Lyons suggests in her introduction. The use of dialect (particularly pronounced in the Gullah stories from the South Carolina Sea Islands) adds to the sense of authenticity, but careful editing and a conversational style ensures their readability. Short informative notes at the end of each tale provide a context and explain any unfamiliar words. Even without illustrations, the brevity of the selections and their steady pace should make this collection a favorite with reluctant readers. In addition to being a valuable resource for storytellers, the notes and reading lists link the stories to the history of slavery and suggest a place for them in social studies curricula. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

These 15 African American tales, divided into four spooky sounding sections--"Gullah Goblins," "Ghosts," "Monsters" and "Superhumans"--derive their bewitching quality from the rhythms of the spoken word and the dancelike quality of early African American speech. In "Dead Aaron," a corpse that stubbornly refuses to stay dead dances around with "hestet yellow teeth a-snappin, and he bald bonehead a-wagglin." The stories are intended as moral lessons: in "Bloody Bones," for example, the wielder of a gossiping tongue is beheaded. Lively, lilting cadences provide a quixotic contrast to the often gruesome subject matter; thorough introductions present cultural insight into the origins of what to most readers will be an entirely new genre in fiction. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Mary E. . Lyons
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