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A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

Ditch the glass slipper for squirrel-fur boots in this look at folk stories and fairy tales the way they weren't read to you as a kid.
A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 37.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful! I am enjoying this immensely. I grew up with Grimms' fairy tales and it is so much fun to hear about their variations and similar tales from other cultures.
Date published: 2022-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Children's Theater With Adult Commentary This is a course entertaining children with fairytales and afterward analyzing them for adults. At times this works and other times it doesn’t. For adults, it works when Dr. Harvey speaks forthrightly to the camera. It doesn’t work when connections she makes between fairytales and real life—transformations, coming of age, etc.—are vague and not convincing. This viewer wished for more expert analysis that picked apart the story elements. At times her analyses rings the bell but other times it’s weak. She more-or-less avoids Donald Campbell and Carl Jung—although she does mention archetypes. Her story-telling is good when she does not use schtick accents. In an intimate setting, with a camera so close by, she throws herself into campy acting. I think perhaps she is used to audiences that sit further away, so characterizations carry to the back seats. However, at all times Dr. Harvey puts her heart into what she is doing, and I for one noted that fact and appreciated her sincerity. Her instructor’s energy is exemplary, and her subject is interesting enough to override course defects.
Date published: 2022-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this series of lectures Great Courses are always the best. I love the stories, background, and insights on what they mean and how they came about. Thanks.
Date published: 2022-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Appealing title This course certainly captured my attention. It is interesting as well as entertaining. The professor is very talented.
Date published: 2022-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Storyingteller Dr. Harvey is a great storyteller, often adding her own flair to the story. She is engaging and it has been fun listening to all of the different stories. The only thing that I wish is that there was a little more analysis of the stories. For example, how do some of these tales correlate with the Disney versions many children grow up learning or watching? What was the original intent of the story and how has it changed over time? While I agree that this analysis might not be as much for children, it is a bit more of what I expect from The Great Courses.
Date published: 2022-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gnosticism I found this a fascinating course! The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is that I know nothing is perfect. I thought the professor was engaging and the ways he made connections and built the course was so helpful and insightful. Seeing the diversity of the early Christian movement was enlightening. I’d love a follow up course from this professor on how Christianity went from this diversity to a set canon and what we call orthodoxy.
Date published: 2022-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I almost didn't buy this course but so glad I did. Great teacher. I've learned so much about folklore. I will share this with my granddaughter.
Date published: 2022-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Folklore Applied to Today I loved this series. I never realized how traditional these stores are/were. It also opened my eyes to new lessons learned from them.
Date published: 2021-09-09
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Overview

Hear the historic tales of your childhood from a professional storyteller and learn how they will shape the children of generations to come.

About

Hannah B. Harvey

Storytelling is core to the human experience-you shape your identity through stories. Who we are, where we come from, why we're here-these are all life-shaping stories. If you don't know your story, you don't know yourself.

INSTITUTION

Professional Storyteller
Dr. Hannah B. Harvey is an award-winning teacher, an internationally recognized performer, and a nationally known professional storyteller. She earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies/Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was also a teaching fellow. While teaching at Kennesaw State University, she received an Honors Program Distinguished Teacher award and an Alumni Association Commendation for Teaching Impact. As a performance ethnographer, Dr. Harvey develops oral histories into theatrical and solo storytelling works that highlight the true stories of contemporary Appalachian people. Her ongoing fieldwork with disabled coal miners in southwest Virginia culminated in a live ethnographic performance of their oral histories, Out of the Dark: The Oral Histories of Appalachian Coal Miners, earning her a directing award from adjudicators at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2007 and three year-end awards from professional critics in 2005. Her written research has been honored by the American Folklore Society and been featured in Storytelling, Self, Society, of which she is managing editor. Dr. Harvey has delivered award-winning performances and has conducted workshops at festivals and universities in the United States and around the world. She has performed as a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee; received accolades for her performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland; and led intercultural workshops at the University Hassan II, Ben M'Sik, in Casablanca, Morocco.

By This Professor

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals
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A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales
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A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

Trailer

01: "Sleeping Beauty": Once Upon a Time

Get introduced to folktales and the various classifications as Dr. Harvey introduces you to the wide world of folklore. You'll hear the 1697 Charles Perrault version of "Sleeping Beauty"-one that you may not be familiar with-and take a deep dive into the meaning behind the symbolism and the importance differences between this story and the Grimm version we are more familiar with. Dr. Zheala Qayyum...

33 min

02: "Beauty and the Beast" I: The Sleeping Prince

Dr. Harvey introduces you to a Norse tale called "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." The major components of this story can be found in similar tales from Spain and Ancient Greece, and you'll find familiar elements in two well-known French traditional tales. This story introduces us to the theme of transformation-a theme that is both scary and exciting, and is a common in folktales to help us und...

29 min

03: "Beauty and the Beast" II: Being Brave

Dive deeper into the use of transformation in stories as Dr. Harvey presents a version of "Beauty and the Beast" based on the classic French story recorded in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont. Compare that version to the German story by Ludwig Bechstein in 1847 called "Beauty's Stone Sisters." Dr. Qayyum provides some additional insights into how the theme of transformation can provide be...

35 min

04: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice": Transformations

Continuing with the theme of transformation, Dr. Harvey introduces you to a variety of interpretations of the classic story "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," starting with an 1896 composition known as a "symphonic poem" by Paul Dukas and notes Goethe's poem from the 1700s. She provides the original story from the first century Egypt and treats you to "The Doctor and His Pupil" from France, with insight...

29 min

05: "Cinderella" I: If the Shoe Fits

There are many versions of "Cinderella," and Dr. Harvey takes you through the Italian tale by Basile called "The Cat Cinderella" and Perrault's 1690's French version. She walks through the similarities in motifs, with both stories focusing on a "rags-to-riches theme" and an "if the shoe fits" conclusion, but notes not all versions of this story had the iconic glass slipper. Dr. Harvey provides sev...

35 min

06: "Cinderella" II: Baba Yaga and Goddesses

With the French and Italian versions of "Cinderella," Dr. Harvey presented a classic "rise" tale, but "Cinderella" is the one of the world's oldest "magic tales" with many versions, interpretations, and morals. In this lesson, Dr. Harvey introduces the Russian character of Baba Yaga, who is like characters we know from both "Cinderella" and "Hansel and Gretel." "Vasilisa the Fair" follows the trad...

35 min

07: "Cinderella" III: The Mooing Godmother

"Cinderella" stories go back 7000 years, and Mah Pishani is possibly one of the oldest. This Iranian story provides a very different take on the same themes you've become familiar with. Unlike the bickering evil step-sisters, this version is about finding connection with family and community-in particular among women-and about love that stretches beyond the grave....

27 min

08: "The Brave Little Tailor": Giants!

Why do we love toppling giants? Stories such as David and Goliath resonate, giving us hope that we can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Dr. Qayyum discusses this phenomena as Dr. Harvey shares two stories: "The Legend of the Chocolate Hills" from the Philippines, and "The Little Tailor," adapted from the 1857 version by the brothers Grimm, which itself was adapted from the 1557 story called...

30 min

09: "Jack and the Beanstalk": Archetypes

Many scholars believe that the beanstalk in "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a reference to the Tree of Life, which is one of our most iconic global images. In Hinduism, The Tree of Life is known as the Eternal Banyan Tree (the Akshaya Vata). In Islam and Christianity, it is the one tree that God ordered humans not to eat-Christianity extends this image into the New Testament when Christ the immortal i...

33 min

10: "Hansel and Gretel": Ogres

Folklorists believe that stories like Hansel and Gretel may have begun during the Great Famine in Europe, during the late Medieval age, about 700 years ago. We may be familiar with the classic German version portrayed by the Grimm brothers, but Dr. Harvey shows us how the Scottish version has something else living in the house in the woods as she shares both "Hansel and Gretel" and "Mollie Whuppie...

31 min

11: "Rumplestiltzkin": Naming Our Fears

In this lecture, Dr. Harvey presents several stories that come from all over the world, each of which explore the power of naming. Starting with classic story "Rumpelstiltskin" from Germany, collected by the Grimm brothers in 1857, you'll also hear an Egyptian creation myth, a Judeo-Christian creation myth, the Egyptian story of Ra and Isis, and "Peerie Fool" from the Orkney Islands, which pulls e...

33 min
Tom Thumb and Thumbelina: Little Heroes

12: Tom Thumb and Thumbelina: Little Heroes

"Tom Thumb" is grounded in oral folklore, meaning it was passed through the ages verbally as the storytellers could not read or write. Dr. Qayyum discusses the joy in reading stories out loud. Dr. Harvey shares J.O. Halliwell's poetic version of "Tom Thumb" as well as a Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbelina" and discusses the differences between traditionally defined folktales and stories wr...

30 min

13: "Emperor's New Clothes": Looks Can Deceive

Just like the lessons learned in the stories Dr. Harvey covers in this lecture, the stories themselves can be deceiving, too. Dr. Harvey first shares the Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Emperor's New Clothes" and then "The Happy Prince" by British playwright Oscar Wilde. Both stores are often mistaken for oral tradition folktales, yet were literary tales by one author....

31 min

14: "Town Musicians of Bremen": Unwanted Animals

Dr. Harvey and Dr. Qayyum discuss the use of how animals in oral folklore often stand in for humans and why this technique can make it easier to recognize the lessons or points of each story. You'll hear the story of "The Town Musicians of Bremen"-a tale that has been so prolific and retold through so many forms of art that in Bremen you can find a statue to the storied animals. Dr. Harvey also lo...

30 min

15: "Puss in Boots" and "The Frog Prince": Fitting In

Well before his debut in Shrek, "Puss in Boots" was making a name for himself in the Panchatantra. Considered one of the most influential written records of oral folklore, this Indian collection of more than 700 animal fables and folk stories dates back more than 1700 years ago, features a cat who serves as a magical helper and tries to make his fortune in a king's castle, and has spawned hundreds...

30 min

16: "Three Little Pigs": Third Time's a Charm

Dr. Harvey looks at the power of numbers in folktales, specifically the magic of three and seven (three pigs, seven dwarves), citing Orion and his three-starred belt who chases the seven Pleiades sisters. She notes how even the story formats are broken into threes: Beginning, Middle, and End. She shares the stories of "The Three Little Goslings" (the Italian version of the German "Three Little Pig...

34 min

17: "The Little Red Hen": Formula Tales

Repetition and patterned verse are often the backbone to some of our most beloved tales. Known as formula tales, these stories are easy to retell as we know what to say and expect. Dr. Harvey presents a wide-range of formula tales including, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" from Norway, Joseph Jacob's "Henny Penny" from Australia, "The Gingerbread Man," Mary Dodge's 1874 classic "Little Red Hen," and...

30 min

18: "How the Camel Got His Hump": Pourquoi Tales

Many fictional stories-from ancient myths and creation stories to folktales-are an attempt to explain why things in the world are the way they are. Some of the most famous pourquoi tales come from Aesop and Rudyard Kipling. Dr. Harvey shares several pourquoi tales from around the world, including Kipling's "How the Camel Got His Hump" from his "Just So Stories" published in India. She also shares ...

26 min
Lions and Tigers and Bears: Fables

19: Lions and Tigers and Bears: Fables

We may never have heard of a certain slave from a household in the Greek city of Phrygia if not for his charming use of morals in folktales, but Aesop has made a name for himself. Dr. Harvey presents several of his tales, including "The Tortoise and the Hare," "Androcles and the Lion," "The Stone in the Road," "The Fox and the Wolf," and "Belling the Cat." She also shares Kipling's "Camel Poem" an...

31 min

20: "Snow White": Beauty and Handsomeness

Beauty plays an integral part in many folktales and both Dr. Harvey and Dr. Qayyum weigh in on why beauty matters, how beauty is akin to as power in many stories, and how, as these stories got retold and rewritten (by men), the roles men played became more heroic while the roles women played became designated to looking lovely. Using Grimm's "Snow White" as a lens to examine the use of beauty and ...

31 min

21: "Rapunzel": Maiden/Mother/Crone

Femininity is once again examined, this time with a focus on the roles women play in stories. Dr. Harvey shares a combined (and more family friendly) version of "Rapunzel," pulling from Grimm's German version and Basile's Italian version. Looking at the triad of Maiden/Mother/Crone and Warrior/Father/Sage, Dr. Harvey shows how stories reduce and distill all our life experiences into simple symbols...

30 min
King Arthur and Winnie the Pooh: Heroic Quests

22: King Arthur and Winnie the Pooh: Heroic Quests

Continuing with the triad theme, Dr. Harvey uses this lecture to explore the role of the masculine hero, comparing the actions, motifs, and quests of King Arthur and Winnie the Pooh as she shares "Merlin, Arthur, and the Two Swords" and "Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole." Through this lecture, Dr. Harvey defines the category of legends and discusses how fictional accounts ba...

32 min
American Tall Tales and Folk Songs

23: American Tall Tales and Folk Songs

Dr. Harvey jumps into the 20th century to demonstrate how Tall Tales reinforce the ideals of the cultures where they were born. For example, many of America's well-known Tall Tales deal with characters from the wild west and carry themes of expansion, colonization, and progress. After sharing the stories of "Pecos Bill," "Katy Goodgrit" and "Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox," Dr. Harvey delves int...

31 min
Happily Ever After: How Our Stories End

24: Happily Ever After: How Our Stories End

Dr. Harvey reviews the fundamentals of storytelling and expands on common themes that can be found across tales that span time and location, such as protection of family, being resourceful, demonstrating bravery, overcoming entrapment, rising from a diminutive state to become a mighty hero, and more. She also recounts the common characters and locations found in stories through the ages. She...

37 min