A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a wonderful experience to share as a family! I grew up in North Carolina and had been exposed to storytellers like Jackie Torrence in my youth. The instructor was marvelous! There is something so special about seeing and hearing a professional storyteller exercise their craft and we can't wait to attend a festival as soon as possible. I was so happy to share it with my little family. We looked forward to watching one lesson every night. They certainly did a lot to enrich the learning of my 9 year old daughter. Many of these stories lead to exciting conversations (especially the need for self rescuing princesses, like Molly Whoopy). I am so grateful to Great Course for offering this family course. I know that the majority of this platform is for adult learning but it's my hope that Great Courses will consider adding some more family oriented courses in the future. I have really enjoyed learning with my child.
Date published: 2021-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We are loving this! My 12 year old has always been obsessed with fairy tales, many of them for years at a time. We are having so much fun watching this together. He is studying world geography this year as a homeschooler, and is loving the globe showing where the stories are from. He is soaking this up so much, and says 'Let's watch Ms. Hannah'. This is a really well done series. Thank you!
Date published: 2021-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales I love that this course came to me at such a time as this when it so aptly informs my writing and interest. The impact of such stories in children's literature fill us with such delight and wonder, even helping us make sense of this mythic adventure we call life.
Date published: 2020-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great way to understand Storys I have enjoyed learning about telling great story's, the way we tell story's can open up the mind of Children and Adults,that see life in ways that only the imagination can show you, it is also a great way to have wonderful experiences with others.
Date published: 2020-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Skill and Enthusiasm Blended by Experience The instructor provides an intelligent description of how folktales fit into our culture, and the history of such tales. The distinction between folktales and other types of literature is made clear. The classification of types of folktales is introduced and many subtleties of folktales are noted. In short, from an instructional perspective the material seems thorough. I am nt fit to judge such things but the structure and detail is impressive. However, the real uniqueness of the offering lies in the actual story-telling by the instructor. She is animated, modulating her speech to fit the mood of the moment in the tale. She involves the on-stage listeners actively without silly extremes. And she keeps a good pace for the tale. She sorta teaches you how to tell a tale while telling a tale. The standard format for packaging of material used by Great Courses (30 minuets; small set-size; live audience; regular camera changes with good eye direction; etc) works well for this course as it does for most courses. If a person was interested in the subject of 'Folktales' then I would be comfortable recommending this course to that person. CHCritchett, Fort Worth, Texas
Date published: 2020-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great fun, great stories well told I had been listening to it in my car and wanted to share it with a relative and her 3rd grade granddaughter. Getting them a DVD of their own was the best way to do it. The package arrived promptly; my relative was thrilled to get it.
Date published: 2020-03-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Knowledgable presenter BACKGROUND MUSIC Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales has a knowledgeable presenter who both lectures and actually tells the stories. The props for the lectures are well done with a backyard feel for lectures and a living room room for the storytelling. That is a nice feature. A few special guests are interviewed and there are small groups of adults and children who listen to the stories in some situations. A good discussion of the various traditions behind many of the common strories is given. A HUGE negative to me is that on some occasions, maybe about 30% of the time, there is annoying BACKGROUND MUSIC played while the professor is telling the story. This is terrible. Very distracting and virtually ruined the course for me. Just letting the professor speak would be far superior or at least offer some option to turn off the ridiculous background music. The professor gets a 4 star rating for her delivery. A 5 star rating for her knowledge base, but the way it is wrapped together gets a 1 star because of the background music.
Date published: 2020-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved the Presentation I bought this course to learn more about folklore and was pleasantly surprised by how the stories were presented. Not only were the tales and lessons discussed, but they were also told.
Date published: 2019-10-11
  • y_2021, m_5, d_9, h_18
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.15
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_28
  • loc_en_CA, sid_2411, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 4.04ms
A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales
Course Trailer
"Sleeping Beauty": Once Upon a Time
1: "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
"Beauty and the Beast" I: The Sleeping Prince
2: "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
"Beauty and the Beast" II: Being Brave
3: "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
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice": Transformations
4: "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
"Cinderella" I: If the Shoe Fits
5: "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
"Cinderella" II: Baba Yaga and Goddesses
6: "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
"Cinderella" III: The Mooing Godmother
7: "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
"The Brave Little Tailor": Giants!
8: "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
"Jack and the Beanstalk": Archetypes
9: "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
"Hansel and Gretel": Ogres
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
"Rumplestiltzkin": Naming Our Fears
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
"Emperor's New Clothes": Looks Can Deceive
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
"Town Musicians of Bremen": Unwanted Animals
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
"Puss in Boots" and "The Frog Prince": Fitting In
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
"Three Little Pigs": Third Time's a Charm
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
"The Little Red Hen": Formula Tales
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
"How the Camel Got His Hump": Pourquoi Tales
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
"Snow White": Beauty and Handsomeness
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
"Rapunzel": Maiden/Mother/Crone
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
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.


The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Professional Storyteller

About Hannah B. Harvey

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.

Also By This Professor