When Guy Graybill found a copy of "Russian Fairy Tales" collected and translated by W.R.S. Ralston in the 1870s, he was fascinated by the similarities and differences among these tales and the better-known Anderson and Grimm tales.
There were stories that spoke of unwary travelers stepping into empty cottages, of vines that grew up into another world and jealous stepsisters. But on the whole, you might find Russian tales grimmer than Grimm. So, as an attempt to examine the national character of Russia as seen through the stories they told, and retold through the years, Graybill compiled a collection of his own called "Frost! Fourteen Gripping Russian Folk Tales Retold with All of Their Intensity and Charm."
He added to his collection, "Imbedded Student Challenges," that increase understanding of various words in the tales and assigns particular essays for students to share their impressions of the characters and plots.
When his book was ready for the printer, Graybill sought the advice of a Russian professor named Kruschev who had come to America to teach. He approved of the selection and the presentation. (He was the son of the shoe-banging leader of the USSR, Nikita Kruschev.)
The fascination young readers have for the other-worldly is sated with tales of witches and warlocks, ghosts, ghastly beasts of the forest, rivers that talk and foolish peasants that get too greedy. Some of the tales would make good read-alouds for Halloween.
Guy Graybill will sign his book, "Frost!" from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday events at Otto, 107 W. Fourth St. He also will sign his two previous books, "Prohibition's Prince," and its sequel, "Prince and the Paupers."
Rider is proprieter of Otto Bookstore, 107 W. Fourth St.