Top positive review
Classic tales, more than just Brother Rabbit and Brother Fox.
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2018
This is not just a book of stories. It is a handbook on the telling of stories to children. So the reader should beware that reading it may teach them to see the connections between their world and the magical world of myth. And if their life is merely a cardboard cutout primed to be painted by 'the media' they may... change.
These are the classic stories reportedly told to Harris as a child. As the stories are a living legacy the reader needs to know that Harris' version is not the only one; there are as many versions as there are storytellers. This is just the one that was put into print.
The charm is in the drama of the telling. Core characters are the same as in stories from around the world. The key character is of course the Trickster. Uncle Remus borrowed the West African version, Zomo the Hare, but he could as easily have been Loki, Coyote, the (Japanese) Badger. No matter where he was borne he became Brother Rabbit.
The stories themselves are tales of power, greed and love, (plus the trickery) told to a child and for children forever. There is an ebb and flow which continues and moves through one crisis after another toward the inevitable end which is when the child grows up and the magical creatures become plain dogs, foxes, bears, cows and rabbits. (These stories do inevitably end but the unwary reader could find themselves transcending them. Sometimes when a person starts reading them aloud, one or two a week when their child is very small something happens to the reader which never happens when watching TV. One night they run out of Uncle Remus tales and they start telling about the magic that had been hiding in their own neighborhood or even their back yard. One can't predict what happens next.)
Many people find his spelling to be difficult; I am one of them. I have always thought that southern rural dialects should be spelled and punctuated as standard English. One should take their cue from writers in other languages and keep standard spelling no matter what is the accent or dialect. But once one understands the logic of his orthography the book flows well enough.
There is something here for every reader, even those of the perpetually offended class. Of course this book will give them fertile soil to sow their thistles. As they complain about the works of others they will perpetrate the bitter meaning of their own meager lives. They can deconstruct, bemoan (even bewail) to their hearts' content. The stories don't care. They will endure. As will the children of those unlucky folk who can't see the magic.