Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Thomas Turner

Committee Members

Ed Counts, Dorothy Hendricks, Schuyler Huck


The purpose of this study was to see how folktale tricksters are portrayed in children’s literature and to see if the portrayals are culturally authentic. The study was limited to three specific tricksters from three different non-western cultures. In the cross case analysis, the following five themes emerged: 1) authors who do prior research about the cultures of origin produce more culturally authentic children’s books; 2) the occurrence of overlapping story devices; 3) a moral thread of misbehavior being punished and intelligence being rewarded; 4) the stories set in Africa often perpetuate African stereotypes; 5) and the spiritual and supernatural aspects of the tricksters were minimized. Educational implications of this study include: 1) educators should examine the moral lessons in folktales; 2) there are a variety instructional uses of folktales; 3) there are dangers in using inauthentic cultural material; 4) and educators should look at cultural material critically and research them for accuracy.

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