cover image Ring of Tricksters: Tales from America, West Indies & Africa

Ring of Tricksters: Tales from America, West Indies & Africa

Virginia Hamilton. Blue Sky Press, $22.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47374-3

From Africa and the West Indies to the American South, Hamilton reaches into a bountiful international storybag and pulls out this plum collection of trickster tales. Some of the animal characters with which she emerges are familiar (Anansi, Bruh Rabbit), others less so (Cunnie Rabbit, Him Tiger, Old Mr. Turtle); all are bound together by a common thread of wry wit, their stories conveyed with the kind of lyrical grace for which Hamilton is so well known. In vibrant prose marked by dialect that changes according to each tale's place of origin, Hamilton's flawless, fluid retellings will make a storyteller of most anyone who reads them aloud. Moser's (who also collaborated with Hamilton on When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing) animated and soulful watercolors are set off like jewels against a generous backdrop of white space, and he gently anthropomorphizes some of the characters--hats seem to be his device of choice--in a low-key approach that preserves the purity of the tales while highlighting the humor. It's another splendid achievement from this exceptionally talented pair. All ages. (Nov.)