“Once upon a time,” the timeless phrase that opens the introduction to this 3–volume set, is often followed by the familiar question, “What comes next?” Such is the pull of storytelling, an activity possibly as old as language itself, dating back to hunters boasting of their skills, mothers using tales of monsters waiting in the woods to keep children nearby, or shamans seeking to explain the creation of the world. This set provides a comprehensive overview of world tale types, basic world myths and folktales. The work also presents major characters in mythology, folklore and popular culture, along with discussions of how they are related to one another. Other entries include short biographies of important storytellers such as Hans Christian Andersen and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as basic national storytelling styles and more peripheral aspects of the genre, like the connection of superheroes to folktales. The alphabetically-arranged entries range in length from a few paragraphs (Shaggy Dog Stories, Wicked Stepmothers) to five pages (Dragons, Ghosts and Hauntings). Each entry concludes with a “See also” cross-reference that helps readers make connections across topics. The “Retellings” section can assist readers in exploring many of the stories introduced in the encyclopedia; folktales from Tibet, Ghana and Wales are told here, as well as stories from the Hopi and Norse cultures, among others. The “Storytelling Resources” section offers appendices of educational programs and courses focused on storytelling, as well as a list of festivals; teachers may find these useful in planning units and research assignments. Each volume includes black and white illustrations and photos, as well as a comprehensive index. A selected bibliography
completes the set. Recommended for high school, college and public libraries.