Book Review: A Bag of Moonshine: Folktales Selected and Retold by Alan Garner
Review by Ellouise Schoettler.
The other night I pulled a "Bag of Moonshine" off my storytelling bookshelf thinking I would thumb through it before adding it to the discard bag. Several years ago I bought it on a library sale table and I have never used it because the illustrations turn me off.
Tonight I was making a decision about this book...
To my surprise it has turned out to be a hidden gem. The book contains twenty-two old folktales with a strong British voice that are new to me. Happily it yields three good Jack tales which will adapt to fit me and my style of storytelling. There is also "The Salmon Cariad.," the fantastical story of a young man who catches a feisty salmon. The fish woos and weds him – once it morphs into a beautiful young girl.
"A Bag of Moonshine" was published in 1988 in London. I have not changed my mind about the drawings. They are grotesque and not to my taste at all. Some of the words are so local I have to guess at their meanings of some of the words.
But, if you see it on a sale table take a look. Like me, you too could find a story in this collection that suits you. Yes, I am keeping the book.
Ellouise Schoettler is a full-time storyteller who has her own TV show in Baltimore, MD. To learn more about Ellouise, please see her site at: http://www.ellouisestory.com/.