Cover of Favorite Folktales from Around the World by Jane Yolen

Favorite Folktales from Around the World

I was invited to do this book by Wendy Wolf who was the great editor of the Pantheon Folklore series. It turned out to be a wonderful start to my serious study of folk tales. The book–with well over 150 stories–has become a core book for storytellers and storytelling courses. The long essay about stories and storytelling is quoted all the time.

Trade paperback is available from Pantheon.


  • Won the World Fantasy Award Special Pro editor for 1986
  • Named to YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound

What reviewers have said:

  • “Storytelling, the oral tradition that springs directly from folk archives, is well served in this one-volume collection culled from Pantheon’s folklore series.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “Older readers will enjoy Favorite Folktales from Around the World, edited by Jane Yolen. … Great to read from cover to cover or dip into at will.” — Children’s Literature
  • “Most of the great human themes, from storytelling itself through love, wisdom, and death, are covered in this dazzling collection of tales, peopled by characters both human (heroes and fools) and inhuman (devils and ghosts). The retellings are vigorous and vernacular, the thematic organization is satisfying. … Several world folktale collections have appeared recently; this compares favorably with them in selectivity and style. Further, adequate notes are the backbone of such a compilation, and Yolen’s are concise, scholarly, and unpedantic. A resource for the serious student, this outstanding collection is a delight for all readers.” — Library Journal
  • “Sure to be a popular reference for junior high units on folktales.” — School Library Journal
  • “[This volume] provides a wealth of delights. The tales are diverse geographically. ,,, There’s also a welcome diversity of types of tales. … The primary audience is clearly not intended to be either children or scholars so much as general readers, yet the collection also provides scholars with food for thought. … It’s wonderful to start breaking out of the Victorian blinders that limited Andrew Lang’s enchanting ‘Blue Fairy Book.’ … And there’s no better way to start than by reading [this book].” — The New York Times Book Review
  • “Jane Yolen, I think, displays the right orientation in her FFfAtW. She is an editor who knows the scholarly side of folklore, yet also has a feel for a good story. The result is a fine assemblage of amusements. . .a fine collection that deserves a place on the shelves of any public library.” — Book World (Washington Post)