When Apples Grew on Noses and White Horses Flew: Tales of Ti-Jean (2011), by Jan Andrews

Illustrated by Dušan Petričić.

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.  It appears in volume 17.1.

When Apples Grew on Noses and White Horses Flew: Tales of Ti-Jean

The Tales of Ti-Jean travelled from France to North America with the first explorers, and have grown into the French Canadian stories Jan Andrews here presents us with. The first story, “Ti-Jean and the Princess of Tomboso,” was in fact translated back from “Ojibwa tellers who, presumably, had heard it from the voyageurs” (Note on Sources).  As Andrews points out in the introduction, “Ti-Jean” stories are legion: “many, many people have created stories about him over the years” (11).  When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew presents three, all of which are lively and delightful.  Lovers of folktale will especially appreciate the seeming newness of the tales; they are completely different from the more well-known folktale plots, despite a full complement of folktale characteristics: objects and events in groups of three; magic as part of everyday life; trickery triumphed over by the simple, “everyman” hero, Ti-Jean.
In “Ti-Jean and the Princess of Tomboso,” Ti-Jean is initially duped by the Princess, but eventually gets his wits together to triumph over her.  In “Ti-Jean the Marble Player,” his self-assurance leads him to seek the magical Bonnet Rouge, whom he must outwit to save his life.  This he can only do with the help of Bonnet Rouge’s sisters and youngest daughter.  In “How Ti-Jean Became a Fiddler,” his humility is contrasted with the self-assurance of his older brothers, whom he must save from prison with magical gifts given to him for his hard work and honesty.  In all three tales, basic human values are lauded; arrogance and dishonesty are punished; and the simple hero, Ti-Jean, triumphs through his hard work, honesty, and simple approach to life.
An added benefit in the text is the inclusion of “A Word about Ti-Jean” and “A Note on Sources,” which situate the tales within a larger folkloric tradition and reveal their importance in the history of North American folklore.

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