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Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales

Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales

Edited by Kristin G. Congdon
Illustrated by Kitty Kitson Petterson & Richard A. Petterson
Paperback : 9781578063857, 196 pages, January 2002

An elegantly illustrated collection of forty-nine traditional tales from the Sunshine State


Few states can boast the multitude of cultures that created Florida. Native American, African American, Afro-Caribbean, White, and Hispanic traditions all brought their styles of storytelling to fashion Florida's legends and lore.

Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales captures the way the state of Florida has been shaped by its unique environment and inhabitants.

Written for adults, children, and folklorists, this gathering of forty-nine folktales comes from a wide variety of sources with many drawn from the WPA materials in Florida's Department of State archives. Kitty Kitson Petterson's detailed pen-and-ink drawings illustrate each narrative. The stories represent a cross-section of the ethnic diversity of the state.

The book is divided into five sections: "How Things Came to Be the Way They Are," "People with Special Powers," "Food, Friends and Family," "Unusual Places, Spaces, and Events," and "Ghosts and the Supernatural. " Within these sections are stories with titles ranging from "How the Gopher Turtle was Made" to the improbable "The Woman Who Fed Her Husband a Leg Which She Dug Up from a Cemetery. " In these tales Florida is a world full of magic, humor, and adventure. There are tall tales, old magical legends, even quirky, almost straightforward narratives about everyday living, such as one story titled, "My First Job. "


Art and philosophy professor Congdon (Univ. of Florida, Orlando) and freelance artist Petterson have had a lifelong love affair with their adopted home state since they visited it on spring break as college students. Eventually, both women married and found themselves living in the Sunshine State. In a book divided into five thematic sections, Congdon presents forty-nine folktales from a variety of sources, including folklorists and WPA materials. Each tale is accompanied by a discussion of its origins and issues. Petterson’s pen-and-ink drawings illustrate each narrative, making this a lovely book for children, adults, and folklorists alike. Florida’s multitude of cultures—Native American, African American, Afro Caribbean, Caucasian, and Hispanic—have all contributed to the legends, lore, and folk telling traditions of the region. Every state would be lucky to have a guide like this to its folklore. Recommended for all Florida libraries, both public and academic, as well as libraries with large folklore collections.

- Pam Kingsbury, Library Journal