Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
This release in the "World Folklore Series" comprises about 55 folktales--the authors' personal choices--including four cumulative tales and chain chants. Only about a third of the tales are genuine historical Polish legends; others show outside motifs and influences unattributed by the authors. A "general introduction to Poland" and information about "food, games, riddles, and nursery rhymes" facilitate the newcomer's grasp of some aspects of Polish culture. Unfortunately, the selective chronology does not include all the important dates, the folk costumes have no research backing, and the few recipes (which the publisher does not endorse) have incomplete lists of ingredients and/or are untested (beware to cooks who try them). The glossary, list of sources, and bibliography--the most valuable parts of this collection--add to the annotations at the headings of several of the stories. The authors intersperse graphically pleasing wycinanki (Polish folk paper cuts) in black outlines and a few color photographs of actual storytellers, which encourage the reader to learn more about Polish folklore and perhaps visit the fledgling Storytelling Museum established by Malinowski near Warsaw. Potentially useful for those embarking on the study of Polish language, history, or literature. Summing Up: Optional. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers. D. Hutchins Buena Vista University