cover image Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories

Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories

Retold by Tran Thi Minh Phu, illus. by Nguyen Thi Hop and Nguyen Dong. Tuttle, $16.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8048-4429-1

Peasants, rulers, animals, and monsters dominate this rich collection of 15 fables and legends from Vietnam, which joins previous books in this series about stories from Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and other Asian nations. The stories reflect the traditions, myths, and history of Vietnam, with trees and flowers frequently serving symbolic purposes. Works such as “The Story of Tam and Cam,” an adaptation of Cinderella, will be familiar to readers, while a story about why the sea is salty (it’s due to a greedy man’s magical salt grinder at the bottom of the ocean) will be new to many. The husband-and-wife Nguyens’ modest watercolors include both spot illustrations and larger, ornamental images that fill pages and spreads, resulting in a graceful balance between text and pictures. Ages 5–14. (Apr.)