The Gospel Cinderella

collected by
Zora Neale Hurston,
adapted by 
Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Bryan Collier

HarperCollins, 2004
ISBN 0-0600-0643-9

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and Other Animal Stories

Acclaimed anthropologist, folklorist, and novelist Zora Neale Hurston traveled the back roads of the rural South, collecting stories from men, women, and children in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana so that the spirit and richness of the oral storytelling tradition could be shared and preserved. What's the Hurry, Fox? is a sampling of stories from Every Tongue Got To Confess, Ms. Hurston's third volume of folktales collected from the Gulf states in the 1930s.

They have been carefully adapted and shaped by National Bookand Coretta Scott King Award-winningauthor Joyce Carol Thomas to appeal to the sensibilities of young readers. Caldecott Honorand Coretta Scott King Award-winningartist Bryan Collier adds his unique vision with collages that capture the rich heritage and rural community setting of the stories that are Ms. Hurston's legacy to us.

In What's the Hurry, Fox? and Other Animal Stories, I took a few lines that Zora collected from her trips through the South, and imagined them into full stories that I adapted into books for children. In What's the Hurry, Fox?, the fun and fear are told through the antics of animals and the follies of humans. Everyday humor spills from the mouths of everyday people who tell us why the donkey's ears are long and why the dog hates the cat.

I decided to adapt Zora's collected pieces because one day, in the Stanford University Library stacks, in 1967, a tattered copy of an anthology, titled Fire! fell from the shelves. I caught it mid-flight. I was surprised to find Zora Neale Hurston's story "Sweat" among the honored and prodigious authors in the collection. I wondered who Zora Neale Hurston was. I wondered why I had never heard of her. I wondered why her literary gifts had been ignored and neglected.

Joyce Carol Thomas


Using simplicity, humor, wit, and a colloquial style true to the spirit of the originals, Thomas has adapted some of Hurston's rich pourquoi tales, and Collier's double-page-spread pictures combine painting and collage to show the animal characters' sly human machinations. The stories are very short, leaving lots of space for storyteller and audience.... Thomas includes Hurston's sources for the stories, among them, ordinary people such as "M. C. Ford, age 55, gardener, Florida." The audience will hear his voice.

Hazel Rochman

Kirkus Reviews:

Thomas polishes up nine anecdotes and pourquoi tales collected by Hurston, but only recently rediscovered.... [The stories] will appeal to readers and tellers alike for their simplicity, humor, and action.... Collier adds an unexpected ... layer of visual complexity with painted collages.... Younger audiences might not know Hurston as a folklorist; here's help for that, in an inviting mix of new tales and familiar ones made fresh.

Deborah Hopkinson, author and folklorist:

In her introduction to this delightful collection, Thomas notes that Hurston's work is "Wise, witty, and wonderful! Zora Neale Hurston ... has willed us a legacy of laughter." What's the Hurry, Fox? will be a popular tale for children and parents everywhere.

Why do dogs hate cats? 
Why do waves have whitecaps? 
Why is the fox in a hurry?

What's the Hurry, Fox? is a delightful and humorous picture book of pourquoi tales.... Thomas has skillfully and beautifully adapted these jewels so that any child who reads themw ill be both tickled and enchanted.... Thomas, in her own unique and signature way, has adapted these stories "for a child's eye and ear."... Additionally, the rich collages of Bryan Collier capture the spirit of rural storytelling tradition. What's the Hurry, Fox? and Other Animal Stories should be in every child's library.

Zarina Mullan Plath, Parents' Choice magazine:

With stunning collages by award-winning artist Bryan Collier, What's the Hurry, Fox? captures the rich heritage and rural community setting of the stories that are Ms. Hurston's legacy to us.

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