British Studies Web Pages

Myths, Legends, Fantasy...


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Annotated Bibliography Series Number 3

If you have any useful comments to make about books and audio- visual materials you use that you would like to share, please send them to so that we can add them to our forthcoming editions.

Using the British Studies Resource Points

Due to the special nature of this edition many of the books featured below will be in the 'Fiction' or 'Methodology' Sections of libraries such as British Council Partner Libraries. Within each category below, the books are arranged in alphabetical order by author.

  • Collections of Traditional Stories
Ewa Basiura, Legendary Cracow Tales Known and Unknown, Storyteller, 1998 (ISBN 83-907702-5-3)
About forty short accessible stories on topics such as ghosts, magic, alchemy, saints and churches, the origins of the city, and ,of course, that dragon. Has lots of potential for being adapted for classroom use.

Sarah Brown, Focus on European Fairy Tales, Prentice Hall, 1992 (ISBN 0-13-406521-2)
Part of the ‘Focus On’ Macmillan series, this book looks at the origins and development of European Fairy Tales, as well as providing examples both traditional and modern. It also has text and topic based activities for students and is an excellent introduction to the area.

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, Penguin, 1979
Not one for children this with some disturbing interpretations of classic tales in ways which certainly make you think. It would be interesting to look at these stories with advanced students after considering the more sanitised versions.

Ed. Kevin Crossley-Holland, British Folk Tales, Orchard Books, 1987 (ISBN 1-85213-307-4)
Ed. Kevin Crossley-Holland, Folk Tales of the British Isles, Faber & Faber, 1986 (ISBN 0-571-13786-5)
Both these selections have tales from varied linguistic traditions within the British Isles, and include comments on the collector or re-teller. The latter collection is arranged thematically, and each section (Fairies, Origins and Causes, Kings and Heroes, and so on) has its own introduction.

James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Bath Press, (ISBN 0-285-63223-X)
Short, funny, politically correct updated versions of a number of the best known stories, but you may need a politically correct dictionary to fully appreciate this.

Alison Lurie, The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales, OUP, 1994 (ISBN 0-19-282385-X)
Imaginative re-workings of the genre, which can be interpreted on various levels, by an unusual selection of writers, including Dickens, H.G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, Bernard Malamud, and Ursula Le Guin.

Iona and Peter Opie, The Classic Fairy Tales, Granada, reprinted 1980 (ISBN 0-586-08335-9)
This is rightly considered as a standard work and gives excellent introductions to all the best known tales.

Ed. Neil Phillip, The Penguin Book of English Folktales, Penguin, 1992 (ISBN 0-14-013976-1)
Over one hundred and forty tales here, each with notes on the source and an introduction to the history of storytelling in England.

Ed. Neil Phillip, The Penguin Book of Scottish Folktales, Penguin, 1992, (ISBN 0-14-013977-X)
A similar treatment as above for Scottish Folktales.

Ed. Maria Tatar, The Classic Fairy Tales, Norton, 1999 (ISBN 0-393-97277-1)
As well as being an excellent compilation of different versions of some of the great fairy tales, with critical introductions to each, this book has an invaluable selection of academic articles, making it an excellent paperback purchase.

Jane Yolen, Favourite Folktales from Around the World, Pantheon, 1986 (ISBN 0-394-54382-3)
Probably the best collection of stories drawn and retold from international sources from an acclaimed children’s writer.

Bookshops in Poland now stock the following collections in paperback published by Wordsworth Press and at very reasonable prices:

  • The Brothers Grimm – The Complete Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1997 ( ISBN 1 85326 898 4 )
  • Hans Christien Andersen – The Complete Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1997 ( ISBN 185326 899 2 )
  • English Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1997
  • Irish Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1997

  • Methodology Resource Books
Ellis and Brewster, The Storytelling Handbook for Primary Teachers, Penguin, 1991 (ISBN 0-140-81916-1)
Provides a comprehensive methodology for the use of stories in the classroom along with practical examples drawn from age range including  cross-curricular links. The ‘real books’ featured in the Handbook are listed below.

Carolyn Graham, Jazz Chant Fairy Tales, OUP, 1988 (ISBN 0-19-434298-0)
Cassettes (ISBN 0-19-434299-9)
Extended jazz chants for young learners using fairy stories. Pronunciation and intonation are American English.

Jill Hadfield, Intermediate Communication Games, Nelson, 1990 (ISBN 0-17-555872-8)
Some of the games here use fairy stories as a starting point.

J. Morgan and M. Rinvolucri, Once Upon a Time, OUP, 1983 (ISBN 0-521-27262-9)
One of the earliest attempts to show the relevance of storytelling for the foreign language classroom. Particularly useful for the idea of ‘story skeletons’ and the ways in which these can be exploited.

Seth Lindstromberg, The Recipe Book, Longman, 1990 ( ISBN 0-582-03764-6 )
Has a section on storytelling with some nice lesson ideas at various levels

Eric K. Taylor, Using Folk Tales, Cambridge, 1999 ( ISBN 63749 X )
With over forty activities at levels from beginner to advanced, and dozens of folk tales, this book should prove to be a welcome addition to the ‘Cambridge Handbook for English Teachers’ series

Andrew Wright, Storytelling With Children, Oxford OUP, 1995 ( ISBN 0-19-437202-2 )
Andrew Wright, Creating Stories With Children, Oxford OUP, 1997 ( ISBN 0-19-437204-9 )
Both of these excellent books contain lots of ideas how to use stories and a number of examples of stories taken from different cultures. Aimed at young learners but the stories could be used with any ages and the techniques are adaptable.

Jack Zipes, Creative Storytelling, Routledge, 1995, ( ISBN 0-415-91272-5 )
Considered by many to be the leading authority on fairy tales, this gives ideas how to extend storytelling into the community.

  • The following magazines and journals had special editions devoted to storytelling. You may be able to get back copies of them.

        - JET, Vol. 3 No. 3 ISSUE 9, May 1993
        - Practical English Teaching, December 1993
        - Forum, Vol. 33 No. 1 January 1995
  • Young Learner 'Real Books'
Asterisked books are featured in Ellis, G. & Brewster, J. (see above) The Storytelling Handbook for PrimaryTeachers, Penguin

Ahlberg, A., Please Mrs Butler, Picture Puffin
Ahlberg, J. & A. Peepo!, Picture Puffin
Ahlberg, J. & A., Each Peach Plum Pear Kestrel, Picture Puffin
Ahlberg, J. & Amszutz, A. (1981), Mrs Lather's Laundry, Picture Puffin
*Ahlberg, J. & Amszutz, A., Mrs Plug the Plumber, Picture Puffin
Ahlberg, J. & Amszutz, A., Mr Biff the Boxer, Picture Puffin
Burningham, J., The Shopping Basket, Picture Puffin
*Burningham, J., Mr Grumpy's Motor Car, Picture Puffin
*Briggs, R., The Snowman, Picture Puffin
*Carle, E., The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Picture Puffin
*Carle, E., The very busy spider, Picture Puffin
*Hawkins, C. & J., Pat the Cat, Picture Puffin
*Hill, E., Spot's Birthday Party, Picture Puffin
*Hill, E., Where's Spot?, Picture Puffin
Hutchins, P., Don't Forget the Bacon, Picture Puffin
*Kent, J., The Fat Cat, Picture Puffin
McKee, D., Not now, Bernard, Red Fox/Random House
*Nicoll, H., Meg and Mog, Picture Puffin
*Nicoll, H. & Pienkowski, J., Meg's Eggs, Picture Puffin
Rosen, M. (1985), Quick! Let's Get Out of Here, Puffin Books
Rosen, M. & Blake, Q., You Can't Catch Me, Picture Puffin
Smith, M., Kimi and the Watermelon, Picture Puffin
Sutton, F. &Dodd, L., My Cat Likes to Ride in Boxes, Picture Puffin
Umansky, K., Pass the Jam, Jim, Random House
Various authors (1972), The Fairy Tale Treasury, Hamish Hamilton
*Vipont, E. & Briggs, R., The Elephant and the Bad Baby, Picture Puffin
*Watanabe, S., I Can Do It, Picture Puffin
Zion, G., Harry the Dirty Dog, Red Fox/Random House

  • For those wanting more detail on some of the best ‘real’ literature available for children, a useful guide is:
Waterstone’s Guide to Children’s Books, Waterstone’s  (ISBN  1902603060)

Here are some web sites for children and teachers

Stories From the Web

An exciting new public library web site from Britain which allows children to read extracts of stories and poems online and then send in reviews, their own stories and enter competitions.

The Children's Literature Web Guide

A mine of information and further links to essential web sites for anything you would like to know about children's literature.

Finally here are some more theoretical and academic sources

  • Mythology
Joseph Campbell, Masks of God: Creative Mythology, Penguin, ( ISBN 0140 194401 )
One of the most famous and prolific writers on the theme, this is just one of the many books he has written

Brewers Book of Myth and Legend, Penguin, (ISBN 1859860931)
The Dictionary of World Myth, Penguin, (ISBN 1859861687)
Two reference works both in paperback

  • Traditional Stories
Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment, Peregrine Books, 1976 (ISBN 0-14-055.135-2)
Full of Freud and psychoanalytic readings of traditional stories, which while at times can be heavy going, is nevertheless a must for anyone considering research in the area.

Ed Maria Tatar, The Classic Fairy Tales, Norton Critical Edition, 1999 (ISBN 0-393-97277-1)
As mentioned above, this collection of stories also has an excellent selection of scholarly articles.

Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde, Chatto and Windus, 1994 (ISBN 0-7011-3530-1)
Fascinating background study of the stories and the people who told them exploiting fully the symbolism they used.

  • History
Ed Eric Hobsbawm and T. Ranger, The Invention of Tradition, CUP, 1996 reprinted (ISBN 0-21-43773-3)
In the Introduction Hobsbawm discusses the complex ways in which the past and the present interact and the part played by ritual and symbolism in reinventing history. Individual essays from a variety of contributors cover areas such as Scotland, Wales, Victorian India, and the British Monarchy. Available at British Studies Resource Points.

Charles Knightly, Folk Heroes of Britain, Thames and Hudson, 1982
An attempt to separate the mythical stories of the likes of Caratacus, Boadicea, Alfred, and William Wallace ( of ‘Braveheart’ fame ) from the historical facts. A copy of this can be found at the University Library in Cracow

McCrone, Morris, and Kiely, Scotland – The Brand, Edinburgh UP, 1995 (ISBN 0-7486-0615-7)
As the title suggests, this book looks at the various ways in which an idea of Scotland has been created and then sold by the heritage industry. Another new addition to the Resource Points

Ed Roy Porter, Myths of the English, Polity, 1994 reprinted ( ISBN 0-7456-1306-3 )
Another collection of essays looking at such diverse topics as Gilbert and Sullivan, The Great War, Bonfire Night, Children’s Books, The Tramp, and The English Bobby. Also available from British Studies Resource Points.

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