by Phyllis Wilson Moore
May 1, 2002
Appalachian Folktales in Collections, Journals, and Web Sites
Background Resources on Folktales
Folktale Bibliography Index
Phyllis Wilson Moore is a native West Virginian, a writer, and a literary historian. She is consultant for the website MountainLit, sponsored by the Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, West Virginia.
In April 2002 The West
Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State College, Fairmont, West Virginia,
published the first issue of HILLCHILD: A FOLKLORE CHAPBOOK about, for, and
by WEST VIRGINIA CHILDREN, co-edited by Noel W. Tenney and Dr. Judy
P. Byers. The title for this Folklife Centers publication comes from the
final line in Hill Hunger, the signature poem of former West Virginia
poet, Louise Mayfield Roberts.
The theme of the premiere
issue is The Story, and the cover showcases ink and pencil drawings,
done in three colors by Noel W. Tenney, depicting scenes from tales of West
Virginias very own legendary logging hero, Tony Beaver (Paul Bunyans cousin).
Noted West Virginia artist
John W. Randolphs illustrations can be found throughout the 31 pages of
the chapbook, along with those of students from Mrs. Susan Longs 5th
grade class at Union Elementary School (Upshur County). The class participated
in this first HILLCHILD by providing both drawings and their reactions
to the stories. Their contributions add a special flavor to the chapbook.
Examples of stories included
are The Little Rag Doll, a ghost tale from THE TELLTALE LILAC
BUSH AND OTHER WEST VIRGINIA GHOST TALES by Ruth Ann Musick and, of course,
tales of the exploits of Tony Beaver and others.
The issue closes with a story, perfect for springtime, contributed by West Virginia childrens author Cheryl Ware. Ware is the author of three middle-grade novels: FLEA CIRCUS SUMMER (1997), CATTY- CORNERED (1998), and VENOLA IN LOVE (2000). Set in West Virginia, the novels feature a feisty young protagonist, Venola Mae Cutright. In this story, the opinionated Venola Mae must come to a decision about eating or not eating the, shall we say, highly odoriferous spring delicacy, ramps. Venola Mae is quite bent out of shape when her family insists she accompany them to the Elkins, West Virginia Annual International Ramp Festival and Cook-Off.
Will Venola Mae return to school reeking of ramps? Will ramp breath ruin her chances for a meaningful relationship? To find out, obtain a copy of HILLCHILD by writing the West Virginia Folklife Center at FSC, 1200 Locust Avenue, 26554. The cost is $3.00.
Next years issue will focus on the theme of nature and West Virginia. Submissions are encouraged.
Please feel free to access additional information about West Virginia Folklife Center publications.
Last Update: 2/3/09
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