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The Skull Talks Back: And Other Haunting Tales [Hardcover]

Zora Neale Hurston


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Book Description

July 15 2004

Do you dare to cross paths with ...

An enchantress who can slipin and out of her skin,A man more evil than the devil,A skull who talks back,A pair of creepy feet that canwalk on their own?

Spooky, chilling, and fantastical, this collection of six scary tales will send shivers up your spine!

The stories in the skull talks back have been selected from Every Tongue Got To Confess, Zora Neale Hurston's third volume of folklore. Through Joyce Carol Thomas's carefully adapted text and Leonard Jenkins's arresting illustrations, the soulful, fanciful imaginations of ordinary folk will reach readers of all ages.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Programs and Genres; New title edition (July 15 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060006315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060006310
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–Thomas retells six supernatural folktales selected from Hurston's Every Tongue Got to Confess (HarperCollins, 2001). The subject matter is sufficiently scary to give young readers a thrill, and Jenkins's spooky black-and-white paintings of skeletons, skulls, arrogant men, eerie cats, and nighttime swirls of fog perfectly set the stage for shivers. Thomas omits most of the dialect and supplies missing motivation. In "The Witch Who Could Slip off Her Skin," the reteller adds silly explanatory paragraphs telling why this witch would "ride" people who had done her wrong. She eliminates the character of "Marster" from "Big Sixteen," here called "Big, Bad Sixteen." "Bill, the Talking Mule," a tale in which a farmer is frightened when his animals suddenly speak to him, retains all of the surprise hilarity of the original. An adapter's note doesn't explain the changes so much as review the content. Although mostly faithful to Hurston's tales, the retellings read like fragments from some larger work that begin in the middle and end abruptly, a fact that may trouble readers who expect more shape to a story. However, this volume introduces a small part of the huge body of literature collected in the rural South in the 1920s and the person who helped put words to paper.–Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Hurston was a landmark writer and collector of black folklore in the 1930s rural South, but her stories, written in heavy dialect, are not accessible to kids. Using a direct style that loses none of the colloquial immediacy of the original voices, Thomas has done a great job of retelling six of Hurston's supernatural tales, and Jenkins' monochromatic collages and silhouettes capture the delicious, shivery glow of skeletons and graveyards. Thomas' retelling about "the witch who could slip off her skin" is not as dramatic as Virginia Hamilton's in Wee Winnie Witch's Skinny [BKL Je 1 & 15 04], but the tales in this small, spacious collection will still be favorites with storytellers. Best of all is "Big Bad Sixteen" about a man so strong that he kills the devil. When the man dies, he can't enter either heaven or hell, so he returns to Earth as the scary jack-o-lantern. Thomas provides brief, lively notes at the end. Let's hope she'll bring more of Hurston's work to thrill young readers. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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