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Animal Stories, Songs and Folklore from the American South “You can't run away from trouble. Ain't no place that far.” ― Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is a collection of African-American stories, songs and oral folklore collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Uncle Remus is a fictional storyteller who shares stories about Br'er Rabbit, a trickster who is of Animal Stories, Songs and Folklore from the American South “You can't run away from trouble. Ain't no place that far.” ― Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is a collection of African-American stories, songs and oral folklore collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Uncle Remus is a fictional storyteller who shares stories about Br'er Rabbit, a trickster who is often opposed by Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. Uncle Remus was adapted in the controversial Disney film, The Song of the South and the story characters are still feature in the Disney ride, Splash Mountain.


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Animal Stories, Songs and Folklore from the American South “You can't run away from trouble. Ain't no place that far.” ― Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is a collection of African-American stories, songs and oral folklore collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Uncle Remus is a fictional storyteller who shares stories about Br'er Rabbit, a trickster who is of Animal Stories, Songs and Folklore from the American South “You can't run away from trouble. Ain't no place that far.” ― Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is a collection of African-American stories, songs and oral folklore collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Uncle Remus is a fictional storyteller who shares stories about Br'er Rabbit, a trickster who is often opposed by Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. Uncle Remus was adapted in the controversial Disney film, The Song of the South and the story characters are still feature in the Disney ride, Splash Mountain.

30 review for Uncle Remus (Xist Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory. I happen to disagree. As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me or caused me to be an evil racially hateful woman. I consider when they were written and realize that the stories are wonderfully imaginative and teach a moral lesson at the heart of each one. I remember Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory. I happen to disagree. As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me or caused me to be an evil racially hateful woman. I consider when they were written and realize that the stories are wonderfully imaginative and teach a moral lesson at the heart of each one. I remember seeing the movie Uncle Remus in the theater when I was a child. I did not care what color he was. I loved the stories. The stories could have been told by a purple alien with ten eyes and I still would have loved the stories. Having said that- I love this book. My children have the stories and they love them. They always have loved the tar baby story and wanted me to read it every night. If you are interested in colorful stories that are sometimes a little hard to decipher if you don't know how to listen in your head to the dialogue, then please check this one out while you can.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Interesting read I’ve wanted to pick this up for some time, I’m glad I finally did. The book took some getting used to as the dialect is difficult to read straight from the page. I found myself whisper reading to make sense of what was on the page. Unfortunately I feel like I missed some of the tales due to the fact that the dialect wasn’t easy to decipher. I know there is controversy around this book, but the language seems fitting for the time it was produced. The fact that this was written all Interesting read I’ve wanted to pick this up for some time, I’m glad I finally did. The book took some getting used to as the dialect is difficult to read straight from the page. I found myself whisper reading to make sense of what was on the page. Unfortunately I feel like I missed some of the tales due to the fact that the dialect wasn’t easy to decipher. I know there is controversy around this book, but the language seems fitting for the time it was produced. The fact that this was written allows these oral tales to not be lost for coming generations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I loved this book and although I've seen portions of the movie here in the states I don't think I've ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will. Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which I've heard some say it does then yeah that's not good. But if you decide to focus on the relationship that children who happen to be white have with Uncle Remus who happens to be black (sort of a Grandfa I loved this book and although I've seen portions of the movie here in the states I don't think I've ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will. Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which I've heard some say it does then yeah that's not good. But if you decide to focus on the relationship that children who happen to be white have with Uncle Remus who happens to be black (sort of a Grandfather figure is what I got) then its a good movie. Lets focus on the book shall we, if you've ever heard of Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby then that's just one of the stories in this book. According to the Introduction this is a collection of Stories passed down by Negroes in the South and to preserve the original simplicity its written in dialect or rather its written the way the ones telling the stories tend to pronounce words, the author comments about the fact it may not actually qualify as a dialect. Reading in dialect can sometimes be a bit confusing but if done well it adds to the story. Uncle Remus is definitely a fun read one I highly recommend if you've heard any of the Bre'r Animal tells that Disney has done and enjoyed them.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Cash

    As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, "Dis sho' am good." Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other. On the one hand you have people saying things like: “As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappropriate today and may be offensive to many contemporary readers, we have eliminated [...] Uncle Remus.” Then you have the other side saying “Uncle Remus [...] is revealed as a secret hero of [Joel Chandle As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, "Dis sho' am good." Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other. On the one hand you have people saying things like: “As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappropriate today and may be offensive to many contemporary readers, we have eliminated [...] Uncle Remus.” Then you have the other side saying “Uncle Remus [...] is revealed as a secret hero of [Joel Chandler] Harris‘s work, a figure wholly worthy of comparison with Brer Rabbit himself. In creating him, Harris put forward, covertly, by extraordinarily oblique means, a vision that would have shocked and horrified the great majority of his readers, had they understood him.” - Robert Cochran: Professor of English and Director of the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies at the University of Arkansas. Which one of these opinions is the "correct" one? Is Uncle Remus a nostalgic look at the "happy old plantation negro?" Or is he a "remarkably nuanced character who consistently subverted white authority and Old South social codes?" That would the opposite of a racial stereotype right? This argument has already been made to perfection on the Wren's Nest blog in an article titled Everything You Know About Uncle Remus is Wrong. Now for the quality of the book itself. Mark Twain loved them so much he read them to his children and at his book readings. He said that the “Wonderful Tar-Baby Story” was the most popular (the links in this review are to the online text of the actual stories). That's quite an endorsement. Children's literature analyst John Goldthwaite argues that the Uncle Remus tales are "irrefutably the central event in the making of modern children's story." Harris's influence on British children's writers such as Kipling, Milne, Potter, Burgess and Blyton is substantial. His influence on modernism is less overt, but also evident in the works of Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and Faulkner. Reading the stories is somewhat challenging due to the dialect which can get the reader lost in the vernacular. It's best to read these stories aloud, where one can savor Harris' genius way of the word and not get lost. Some of these stories are actually quite violent and shocking. This is no revelation to fans of folk tales, but it's still a bit baffling considering Uncle Remus's popularity as children's literature. The main stories in question are those that involve Brer Rabbit killing one of his rivals. One gets the idea from Disney's Song of the South that Brer Rabbit is just a happy go-lucky trickster who just likes to pull a prank. In Harris's stories Brer Rabbit comes off as a horrible jerk, who causes the deaths of at least four of the characters that I can remember in the stories. The saddest one of these is Brer Possum in "Mr. Rabbit Nibbles Up the Butter." Brer Rabbit steals all of the butter and frames Brer Possum. Brer Possum suggests that they build a fire, and whoever can't jump over it is the chap who stole the butter. I'm not quite sure why Brer Possum would suggest such a thing that would be incredibly easy for the Fox and Rabbit. Unfortunately Brer Possum doesn't make it and he lands right in the middle of the "fier" and dies. The way the Fox dies is possibly the most bizarre, but I won't spoil it. Reading these stories now, while still being hilarious, are still hard to read with a politically correct modern mind. I find it easier to read these stories being that I am a native English speaker, a historian, and someone who doesn't think the intention of the stories was to be racist in any way. If you are anything but these things, I would just stick to trying out the "Wonderful Tar-Baby Story" and "How Mr. Rabbit was too sharp for Mr. Fox." You'll get the big picture. While Harris's dialect may be difficult for the more modern mind, for those that can enjoy these stories they are really quite a treat. Words like "seegyar" (cigar) and "kyarving knife" (carving knife) are fun not only for their comic value but for reveling in Harris's creativity in getting all of these words on paper. The songs are good, the sayings are a bit boring and uninteresting really. Uncle Remus may not be for everyone, but there are certainly those who will enjoy hearing the tales of Brer Rabbit and his company. Uncle Remus: His Songs and Saying is a learning experience for anyone young and old. 4.5

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker's assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black. I get it, but the stories, songs & sayings are interesting from the perspective of a certain time & place & viewpoint; I think the author meant well. I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker's assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black. I get it, but the stories, songs & sayings are interesting from the perspective of a certain time & place & viewpoint; I think the author meant well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Umstattd Jr.

    If you can get past the politically incorrect language, there is a lot of wisdom in these simple stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a charming collection of stories of talking animals especially Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox that get into various scrapes, similar to Aesop's Fables, told by old Uncle Remus to a little boy long ago - in the "mythical" South. The illustrations are great! This is the book for anyone who's ever wondered about the clever Brer Rabbit (similar to Roadrunner or the Rascally Rabbit cartoon characters in evading capture). Readers of any age will enjoy it! A few words about each story (hopefully witho This is a charming collection of stories of talking animals especially Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox that get into various scrapes, similar to Aesop's Fables, told by old Uncle Remus to a little boy long ago - in the "mythical" South. The illustrations are great! This is the book for anyone who's ever wondered about the clever Brer Rabbit (similar to Roadrunner or the Rascally Rabbit cartoon characters in evading capture). Readers of any age will enjoy it! A few words about each story (hopefully without totally giving away each story's plot): Brer Fox invites Brer Rabbit to dinner. The Fox is constantly trying to figure out ways to nab the Rabbit and thus turn him into dinner. This is yet another instance of the Fox's faulty plotting - this time, he pretends to be sick, but the Rabbit sees right through the ruse. The wonderful interactions among the animal community - mirroring the human tendency to gossip - is part of this and many other of the Brer Rabbit stories. The Wonderful Tar Baby - This is the famous story of the Fox once again trying to catch the rabbit. Although Brer Fox does create a wonderful tar baby, to which the Rabbit gets stuck, in the next story, The Briar Patch - The Rabbit as usual manages to out-smart the fox... in a very droll, entertaining way! In The Story of the Flood, a number of crayfish begin protesting because the elephant has inadvertently flattened a few crayfish by stepping on them. That was when creatures like the crayfish, the mud turtle and the lizards began boring into the ground to get away from the land animals. Brer Fox and Old Man Terrapin - The Fox comes upon the Terrapin and thinks to make a meal of the turtle. Once again, Brer Fox is out-smarted! Brer Wolf makes a Failure - In this story, Brer Wolf conspires with Brer Fox to catch Brer Rabbit once and for all. However, the Rabbit once again sees through the ploy and manages to evade becoming the dinner of the wolf and fox. The Fox this time plays dead in order to lure the Rabbit into his home, but the Rabbit sees through the plot. The Sad Fate of Brer Wolf - In this story, the Wolf has been raiding Brer Rabbit's home regularly and making off with Rabbit's children, one by one, each time he raids the ramshackle structure. Finally, Rabbit is determined to build a solid home, from which the wolf cannot snatch any more baby rabbits - and hires beavers to do the work of laying a stone foundation upon which to build a plank home. He even builds a basement room to which the children can escape, if there is a break-in by the Wolf. Sure enough, the Wolf does get into the house, by means of a ruse he thinks is clever. However, Brer Rabbit again outsmarts the Wolf - tea-time for the Wolf was more than energizing, and the Wolf will probably never try to raid Brer Rabbit's home again. Brer Rabbit Finds his Match at Last - Brer Terrapin's family (all of whom look like one another) teams up to ensure Brer Terrapin wins the foot race with Brer Rabbit and the $50 prize money. Moral of the story: Animals started cheating and then it spread to humans. Advice of Uncle Remus to little boy: "...mind your eye, honey, that somebody don't cheat you before you is as old as me." A Story about the Little Rabbits - A story about Brer Fox dropping by Brer Rabbit's house one day when both parents were away, and despite all his efforts to nab the little rabbits, he once again fails. A little bird gives helpful hints to the little rabbits and then Brer Rabbit himself shows up. A Dollar a Minute - Brer Rabbit is finally trapped by a rope trap Brer Fox has set up near his peanut patch. But the rabbit manages to escape by convincing Brer Bear to take his place in the air, since he is supposedly making a dollar a minute protecting the peanuts. Brer Rabbit then gets Brer Fox and Brer Fox to start fighting each other as he once again evades the fox and bear by impersonating a frog in a mud-hole when Brer Bear comes along looking for Brer Rabbit. Brer Rabbit spills the Honey - Brer Rabbit ransacks the home of Brer Bear while the bear family is out. Unfortunately the rabbit knocks over a bucket of honey and becomes totally drenched in the sticky fluid. He tries to get the honey off his body by rolling around in the woods - but the leaves just keep sticking to him. He creates a sensation in his "suit" of leaves - even frightening off the entire Bear family, Brer Fox and Brer Wolf! Brer Rabbit frightens his neighbors - Brer Rabbit goes to town to buy tin cups, plates and a tea pot in exchange for his peanut crop. However, his arch enemies, Brer Fox and Brer Wolf, conspire to ambush the rabbit on his return. Brer Rabbit is tipped off to the trap by a tiny woodpecker and decides to frighten his would-be assailants by rigging himself up with the tin plates, cups and tea pot. The frightened fox and wolf take to their heels when confronted with the clanging creature. Why Brer Bear has no tail - A story about Brer Terrapin and Mr. Mud-Turtle sliding down an inclined moss covered rock to amuse themselves as Brer Rabbit looks on. Then Brer Bear happens upon the trio and decides to join in the fun basically on a dare- unfortunately, his tail is too long to slide down the rock, and that is why bears have no tail (ouch!).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid; this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the (even more) terribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus. I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American 'Aesop's Fables'. Morality tales couched in animal form that are fun, silly, and still a little creepy. That said, the collection is difficult to read due to the dialect, and once you've made it through the chi I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid; this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the (even more) terribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus. I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American 'Aesop's Fables'. Morality tales couched in animal form that are fun, silly, and still a little creepy. That said, the collection is difficult to read due to the dialect, and once you've made it through the children's stories, you get bogged down in old negro hymns and more folksy wisdom from Uncle Remus. These stories are even more cringe-inducing to the modern ear and include jokes hinging on Uncle Remus's love of watermelon and his support of his white family, his former masters. I haven't studied the time period enough to say whether the book offers any historical value. If it is an accurate chronicle of some experience - for example if the stories, songs, and wisdom are actually black folktales that are not written elsewhere - then I can appreciate the book. Unfortunately, I think more of it is a white-washed 'idealized' black existence based around stereotypes that were only perpetuated by this book becoming a classic. That's a shame particularly because I think that it diminishes the Brer stories. As some have suggested (again, not sure if this is entirely accurate), many of the stories themselves are reflective of plantation life and storytelling, but the encompassing story of Uncle Remus is the creation of Joel Chandler Harris. In that case there is also some concern with a white author co-opting these tales to be packaged, sold, and branded as "his" creations for posterity. The whole book suffers from its history and it makes even the simplest stories an uncomfortable read when considering the context.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jen Julian

    I read this for my grad-level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical. However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them. Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro-American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of African folktales. Slaves found revolutionary recourse embodied in this ever-cunning underdog. Brer Rabbit is no goody-goody; he is possibly one of the first real bad-asses to grace the American folklore canon I read this for my grad-level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical. However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them. Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro-American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of African folktales. Slaves found revolutionary recourse embodied in this ever-cunning underdog. Brer Rabbit is no goody-goody; he is possibly one of the first real bad-asses to grace the American folklore canon. Nevertheless, while the folktales themselves are valuable in terms of their authenticity, the character of Uncle Remus, ultimately a construction of white author Joel Chandler Harris, delivered a gift-wrapped stereotype that mainstream American culture has yet to shake off. For Reconstruction-era white Southerners, who were anxious about reprisal from freed black slaves, Uncle Remus hit a serious sweet spot. Remus doesn't want retribution for hundreds of years of oppression. All he wants to do is perform menial labor and tell stories to white children. In fact, he looks back nostalgically on his slavery days. He has nothing but praise for his former masters. Much of the reason Remus became popular was his ability to magically alleviate white America's fear and guilt. In all, this book is a fascinating and problematic artifact of its time. It may have done a service by bringing these folktales into the mainstream, but its framework (including the Uncle Remus character and his cultural context) should be read with critical and historical awareness.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars. The folk-tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, "symbolically inverted the slave - master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people". Brer Rabbit is a survivor, the Fabled Hare, a symbol of endurance and the triumph of the underdog over his big brutish oppressors. In other words, NOT RACIST. However, Joel I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars. The folk-tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, "symbolically inverted the slave - master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people". Brer Rabbit is a survivor, the Fabled Hare, a symbol of endurance and the triumph of the underdog over his big brutish oppressors. In other words, NOT RACIST. However, Joel Harris did not understand the deeper meaning of these stories, and only saw Brer Rabbit's misadventures as silly nonsensical tales meant only to entertain children. He stripped these classic figures of almost all of their dignity, bogging down their words with that atrocious 'pidgin-speak' and cutesifying them almost beyond recognition. However, in spite of all the pidgin-speak and the extremely outdated/insulting framing device of an ex-slave storyteller who actually didn't think being a slave was "all that bad" (Brer Rabbit is not a racist character, but Uncle Remus most certainly is), my three-star rating still stands. In spite of Harris's bastardization and complete misunderstanding of the importance of these stories, the stories themselves still manage to retain some of their dignity. Again, Brer Rabbit is a survivor, and the universal appeal of the conquering Trickster Hero shines through, even through the mess of Joel Chandler Harris's post-Civil War racism.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maxine

    This book, no doubt in a different edition, was read to my class throughout the school year by our beloved second grade teacher, Miss Speer. The stories were read to us with love, and we loved hearing them. I doubt that there is a sixty-something from that class today, who doesn't remember fondly those Uncle Remus stories, read to us with such enthusiasm (and in dialect) by our dear teacher; and the life lessons that we learned from the delightful tales of Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and the rest. H This book, no doubt in a different edition, was read to my class throughout the school year by our beloved second grade teacher, Miss Speer. The stories were read to us with love, and we loved hearing them. I doubt that there is a sixty-something from that class today, who doesn't remember fondly those Uncle Remus stories, read to us with such enthusiasm (and in dialect) by our dear teacher; and the life lessons that we learned from the delightful tales of Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and the rest. How sad that the Uncle Remus Stories were later criticized as racist, though I think that controversy may be less heated today. Back in the fifties, neither my neighborhood nor my school was ethnically diverse, but we children saw Uncle Remus only as a wise and kindly mentor who told a heck of a good story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jon Mills

    Takes a bit of work to read since it is written in a Southern dialect, but I found reading it out loud helped. Wonderful stories that are a part of the American tapestry and tend to transport the reader back to that thine and place.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.E.

    I recommend this edition. Robert Hemenway's 1981 introduction not only sets the problematic racist element in context, but shows how accurately Harris captured the black folk tales, some with their origins in Africa. Still an important contribution to American literature. I recommend this edition. Robert Hemenway's 1981 introduction not only sets the problematic racist element in context, but shows how accurately Harris captured the black folk tales, some with their origins in Africa. Still an important contribution to American literature.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I had heard of the Brer Rabbit story but I had no idea there is a whole bunch of these stories. These animals were either easily tricked or super cunning in every tale. You have to be on the lookout for tricksters if you live here:)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana Phillips

    This Easton Press book is a part of the Masterpieces of American Literature collection. Written by Joel Chandler Harris, a white man, in 1876 it consists of fables Harris acquired during his visits to slave quarters as a child. When he was grown, Harris took the fables and presented them in a book as if they are being told by an elderly emancipated slave to the young son of his former owners. The book is challenging. To begin, you have a white man publishing (and benefiting monetarily from) stor This Easton Press book is a part of the Masterpieces of American Literature collection. Written by Joel Chandler Harris, a white man, in 1876 it consists of fables Harris acquired during his visits to slave quarters as a child. When he was grown, Harris took the fables and presented them in a book as if they are being told by an elderly emancipated slave to the young son of his former owners. The book is challenging. To begin, you have a white man publishing (and benefiting monetarily from) stories that rightly belong to enslaved people. Next, is the issue of portraying Uncle Remus as "the happy slave" who loves his white family. Not only does Uncle Remus continue to live on the plantation after the war, but he seems to enjoy his daily visits from the boy and often tells fond stories of the boy's family. At one point Uncle Remus is even invited to join the family at the big house (if by "invited to join the family" you mean he's allowed to sit on the porch steps) to retell the story of how he once shot a Union soldier to save his master's life. The whole book feels more than a little whitewashed especially after reading The Underground Railroad. I wonder if it would still be published in the Masterpieces of American Literature collection today. (My copy was published in 1981.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ronald

    I'm somewhat ambivalent about Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, with the bulk of my feelings weighing toward the negative side of the spectrum. In the 21st century, this book can be tough to get through, for (at least) two reasons: (1) the dialect; and, more significantly, (2) the racism. Perhaps the figure of Uncle Remus served a laudable goal (such as humanizing blacks in the eyes of whites in the years immediately following the Civil War). I don't know. Today, how I'm somewhat ambivalent about Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, with the bulk of my feelings weighing toward the negative side of the spectrum. In the 21st century, this book can be tough to get through, for (at least) two reasons: (1) the dialect; and, more significantly, (2) the racism. Perhaps the figure of Uncle Remus served a laudable goal (such as humanizing blacks in the eyes of whites in the years immediately following the Civil War). I don't know. Today, however, the cartoonish Uncle Remus serves no purpose beyond standing as an historical artifact. The Brer Rabbit tales themselves are fascinating and fun. I wish that they were available in a better form. Today, the value of Harris's book primarily consists of its representation of how some people thought, and what many people enjoyed reading, in the late 19th century. With that in mind, I really can't recommend this book to anyone as a book to enjoy today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I‘ve had a beautiful 1921 copy of this book on my shelf for years, so I finally decided I should read it. I actually opted to listen to the audiobook while I followed along. I do recommend the audiobook! The heavy written dialect is difficult to follow, so the audio helps with that. I felt like I was sitting at Uncle Remus’s feet, listening to his tales. And, I loved the warm laughter in the reader’s voice! I understand that there are many people who are opposed to this book. I get it, and there I‘ve had a beautiful 1921 copy of this book on my shelf for years, so I finally decided I should read it. I actually opted to listen to the audiobook while I followed along. I do recommend the audiobook! The heavy written dialect is difficult to follow, so the audio helps with that. I felt like I was sitting at Uncle Remus’s feet, listening to his tales. And, I loved the warm laughter in the reader’s voice! I understand that there are many people who are opposed to this book. I get it, and there are parts that are hard to read/hear. I hate that “n-word” as much as you do, and it‘s hard to stomach it. There are some brief mentions of heavy-handed owners and cruelty as well. Please don’t let that keep you from the richness of the storytelling. The majority of this book is a nod to the oral tradition of storytelling and time spent with those of different generations, upbringings, and experiences. It is a collection of folktales, many of which I was already familiar.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Goodwin

    Uncle Remus contains thirty five legends a, songs and stories about life on the plantation and the war. The stories throughout the book discuss a variety of topics using animals and more. The strengths of the novel is the precise and well written language. Throughout the stories the vocabulary is child friendly and simplistic enough for children to use. This allows children to become intrigued with the stories. The language is also not proper english therefore young children may find them hilari Uncle Remus contains thirty five legends a, songs and stories about life on the plantation and the war. The stories throughout the book discuss a variety of topics using animals and more. The strengths of the novel is the precise and well written language. Throughout the stories the vocabulary is child friendly and simplistic enough for children to use. This allows children to become intrigued with the stories. The language is also not proper english therefore young children may find them hilarious and entertaining. The weakness would be that the book is quite long and may be harder for younger children to read as well as the intense subject matter of slavery that may be to controversial o talk about in a younger classroom. Overall, the book is fun and creative especially for young children and elementary aged children to learn about African American history in a friendly and creative memory.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beverley

    As a child I loved Uncle Remus. When I decided to reread the stories I quickly learned that they need to be read aloud. The language is almost impossible to read silently because of the way words are misspelled to represent the southern drawl.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian B.

    Terribly written, racist, and worst of all, useless for my thesis :/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Holly Koenig

    I liked that the author included what region each story originated.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    Dnf. Not a fan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    I loved the book for its manner of recreating the slang of African-Americans during the time of slavery. I can't say though I liked the antics of Breer Rabbit; he is one vindictive, cruel, and morally corrupt character. I hoped for more meaning, thought and complexity behind the stories. Who am I to judge however? The spirit of the African-Americans is self-evident in the stories and songs, which allowed the salves to persevere through so much injustice. The human spirit is truly indomitable and I loved the book for its manner of recreating the slang of African-Americans during the time of slavery. I can't say though I liked the antics of Breer Rabbit; he is one vindictive, cruel, and morally corrupt character. I hoped for more meaning, thought and complexity behind the stories. Who am I to judge however? The spirit of the African-Americans is self-evident in the stories and songs, which allowed the salves to persevere through so much injustice. The human spirit is truly indomitable and infinite in its variety. I was uplifted by the vivacity of the Christmas play-song (myrick place, putnam county 1858), which I quote below: Hi my rinktum! Black gal sweet, Same like goodies w'at de w'ite folks eat; Ho my Riley! don't you tako'n tell 'or name, En den of sumpin' happen you won't ketch de blame; Hi my rinktum! bettor take'n hide yo' plum; Joree don't holler eve'y time he fine a wum. Den it's hi my rinkturn! Don't git no udder man; En it's ho my Riley! Fetch out Miss Dilsey Ann! Ho my Riley! Yaller gal fine; She may be yone but she oughter be mine! Hi my rinktum! Lemme git by, En see w'at she mean by de cut or dat eye! Ho my Riley! better shot dat do'- Do w'ite folks 'll bloovo we or t'arin up de flo'. Den it's ho my Riley! Come a siftin' up ter me! En it's hi my rinktum! Dis de way ter twis' yo' knee! Hi my rinktum! Ain't de eas' gittin' red? De squinch owl shiver like he wanter go ter bed; Ho my Riley! but de gals en de boys, Des now gittin' so dey kin sorter make a noise. Hi my rinktum! lot de yallor gal lone; Niggors don't hankerarter sody in de pone. Den it's hi my rinktum! Better try anudder plan; An' it's ho my Riley! Trot out Miss Dilsey Ann! Ho my Riley! In de happy Chrismus' time De niggers shake der cloze a huntin' for a dime. Hi my rinktum! En den dey shake der feet, En greaze derse'f wid de good ham meat. Ho my Riley! dey oat en dey cram, En bimeby ole Miss 'll be a sendin' out de dram. Den it's ho my Riley! You hear dat, Sam! En it's hi my rinktum! Be a sendin' out de dram!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    1982 Penguin edition of original 1880 text. With what seems to me to be an excellent introduction by Robert Hemenway, born Nebraska 1941, prof English, later chancellor at two universities incl KU at end of career 1995-2009. The Brer Rabbit tales have been found to have originated in West Africa, at least half of them for sure, and adapted by the enslaved African Americans who told and retold the tales. Harris, white born Georgia 1848 to unwed mother, was not quite the first to write down some of 1982 Penguin edition of original 1880 text. With what seems to me to be an excellent introduction by Robert Hemenway, born Nebraska 1941, prof English, later chancellor at two universities incl KU at end of career 1995-2009. The Brer Rabbit tales have been found to have originated in West Africa, at least half of them for sure, and adapted by the enslaved African Americans who told and retold the tales. Harris, white born Georgia 1848 to unwed mother, was not quite the first to write down some of these tales, but almost. The 'frame', Uncle Remus the storyteller, is Harris's own invention, said by Harris to be based on two or more older blacks he knew as a child and later. Hemenway says Uncle Remus is quite controversial among blacks, as he is very much a stereotype that keeps white readers from feeling threatened or guilty. Very interesting discussion about this. Hemenway says Harris struggled to reproduce the dialect/pronunciation/vocabulary of the black storytellers as accurately as possible, and presumably largely succeeded. This is great, while also serving to further make white readers see Remus as nonthreatening, ignorant, inferior. Hemenway talks at length about how he sees the functions of the Brer Rabbit tales among the enslaved. I read a Disney adaptation of the Tar Baby story and Julian asked if I had more stories like that, so I quickly ordered a book of this title [which I turned out to already have] and Nights with Uncle Remus -- we'll see if either or both have the language adapted to present-day [white]. I do have to struggle to interpret Harris's rendition. Des = just; dish = this; tuck it = take it; want = wasn't; atter = after; and many more, plus [Southern] idioms unfamiliar to me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christina Leone

    Harris, Joel Chandler (1880). This is a collection of African-American Folklore from the 1800's. Here Chandler has created Uncle Remus, who tells his stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox including the famous story of Tar Baby. Written is small font, with little illustrations of pen and ink, it appears this would be appropriate for high school grades 9-11. Additionally it could serve as an appropriate enrichment for reading about the South during times of slavery. It would be best as a Harris, Joel Chandler (1880). This is a collection of African-American Folklore from the 1800's. Here Chandler has created Uncle Remus, who tells his stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox including the famous story of Tar Baby. Written is small font, with little illustrations of pen and ink, it appears this would be appropriate for high school grades 9-11. Additionally it could serve as an appropriate enrichment for reading about the South during times of slavery. It would be best as a teacher-read aloud to students as the slang of the times would make is a tough read for students to read independently. Additionally, the slang used is challenging until it is almost practiced or rehearsed. For instance; "I'm gwineter larn you howter talk ter 'spect-tubble fokes ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwineter bus' you wide open,'sezze." Comprehension will be low, until students have the opportunity to hear it read aloud and even discussed in a group discussion. Once practiced, students would me better able to decipher the text if read independently. *FABLE*

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pellicci

    I do not think I can read any more of this. Attempting to get through the tortured English is too much for me. I have better books to read. I can't help think that this book is racist. Written by a white southerner to make Blacks look silly. Does anyone notice the vocabulary, how large it is and yet talks like he don't know what a word is...? With Uncle Remus speaking on education of the blacks, "Hit's de ruinashun er dis country. Look at my gal. De ole 'oman sont 'er ter school las' year, an' now I do not think I can read any more of this. Attempting to get through the tortured English is too much for me. I have better books to read. I can't help think that this book is racist. Written by a white southerner to make Blacks look silly. Does anyone notice the vocabulary, how large it is and yet talks like he don't know what a word is...? With Uncle Remus speaking on education of the blacks, "Hit's de ruinashun er dis country. Look at my gal. De ole 'oman sont 'er ter school las' year, an' now we dassent hardly ax 'er fer ter kyar de washin' home. She done got beyant 'er bizness. I ain't larnt nuthin' in books, 'en yit I kin count all de money I gets. No use talkin', boss. Put a spellin'-book in a nigger's han's en right den en dar' you loozes a plow-hand. I done had de speunce un it." What southern white children heard that and took it to heart?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    As a kid, I watched the Song of the South and never really understood that Uncle Remis was a slave. I saw him as more of a grandfather figure. In the movie you identify with poor Brer Rabbit who all the other characters are trying to eat. But Brer Rabbit is a vicious, conniving dick in these stories. The first half of the book is fables told by Uncle Remis, and I really liked those. The second half is stories from Uncle Remis' life as an old timer. He reminds me of the character played by Samuel As a kid, I watched the Song of the South and never really understood that Uncle Remis was a slave. I saw him as more of a grandfather figure. In the movie you identify with poor Brer Rabbit who all the other characters are trying to eat. But Brer Rabbit is a vicious, conniving dick in these stories. The first half of the book is fables told by Uncle Remis, and I really liked those. The second half is stories from Uncle Remis' life as an old timer. He reminds me of the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained. He is a slave that loves his life and white people, and looks down upon free black men and people who go to church. This is beyond ridiculous and clearly was propaganda written by a white person that supported slavery. I didn't like Uncle Remis in the second half of the book with his hoity toity, I'm better than you attitude.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Letitia

    As a child, I delighted in a Dorling Kindersley encyclopaedia of world mythologies and folklore and must've first encountered Brer Rabbit's stories in that tome. Over a decade later I'm revisiting the source of those tales, partly prompted by having read Toni Morrison's Tar Baby novel. Tip: It goes a lot quicker if you start off by getting a feel of Uncle Remus's "voice" with this public domain audiobook narrated superbly by Mark Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqVji... As a child, I delighted in a Dorling Kindersley encyclopaedia of world mythologies and folklore and must've first encountered Brer Rabbit's stories in that tome. Over a decade later I'm revisiting the source of those tales, partly prompted by having read Toni Morrison's Tar Baby novel. Tip: It goes a lot quicker if you start off by getting a feel of Uncle Remus's "voice" with this public domain audiobook narrated superbly by Mark Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqVji...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Kelly

    ugh... the story frame is completely unnecessary, even using the standards of the day and time in which it was written. forget the glaring racism that we see through 21st century eyes. the forced and farcical dialect completely distracts from and detracts from the stories. completely unreadable today. His only saving grace is that he at least wrote them down. That leaves them for the rest of us to pick and and write down better. Although, I do believe these stories would have survived without him ugh... the story frame is completely unnecessary, even using the standards of the day and time in which it was written. forget the glaring racism that we see through 21st century eyes. the forced and farcical dialect completely distracts from and detracts from the stories. completely unreadable today. His only saving grace is that he at least wrote them down. That leaves them for the rest of us to pick and and write down better. Although, I do believe these stories would have survived without him and been written down eventually anyway.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Ingram

    When reading this book it is important to remember that the objective here was to preserve both legends of a sub-culture and the dialect of the same which was vanishing. If the same book was written today, the dialect would be vastly different and many words and attitudes which simply were products of the time are now terribly offensive. It has to be read in the context of the time. Having said that, I found to stories just as pithy and funny as I did when I was small... although I am seeing som When reading this book it is important to remember that the objective here was to preserve both legends of a sub-culture and the dialect of the same which was vanishing. If the same book was written today, the dialect would be vastly different and many words and attitudes which simply were products of the time are now terribly offensive. It has to be read in the context of the time. Having said that, I found to stories just as pithy and funny as I did when I was small... although I am seeing some things I never noticed as a child. I think everyone should read this book at least once.

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