They Could Turn Into Animals: Werewolves, Cat People and Other Shapeshifters by Jamie Hall. Book cover image uses a traditional Japanese print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). The print is old enough to be in the public domain. This is just a dummy cover. The actual book, when it comes out, will almost certainly have a different design. book book book book book book

This upcoming book is not yet in print, because so far it hasn't been accepted by a publisher.


They Could Turn Into Animals: Werewolves, Cat People and Other Shapeshifters retells authentic folktales from many cultures around the world. Learn about the New Zealand teenager who discovered that his father was really a shark god, or the escaped slave who thwarted white plantation owners by turning into an alligator and hiding in the swamps of the Florida everglades.

Legends of every variety are included, ranging from scary tales of werewolves and missing fingers to love stories, adventure, and even humor. They Could Turn Into Animals also contains detailed fiction guides to juvenile literature about the theme of animal transformation.

Outline of They Could Turn Into Animals: Werewolves, Cat People and Other Shapeshifters

Chapter 1. Werewolves

  • "Changing Footprints" ~ Poland
    When Israel ben Eliezer got a job escorting all the Jewish children to school, he never thought he would end up fighting a werewolf.
  • "The Missing Cows" ~ Ireland
    When Farmer Connor went looking for his lost cows, he soon ended up trapped with a family of werewolves.
  • "The Werewolf of Devil's Rapids" ~ Canada
    Andre knew about the legends before he decided to work on the farm right next to Devil's Rapids. But he was surprised when the stories turned out to be completely true.
  • "Give Me Two Dollars!" ~ America
    Joseph Hamelin was known as the stubbornest man in New York, but he'd never tested his strong will against a werewolf before.
  • "General Han's Mother" ~ China
    Wang Han had always known his mother was weird, but it was hard to believe the latest gossip about her.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Daniel Pinkwater, Annette Curtis Klause, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Patricia McKillip, Christopher Golden and many others, along with werewolf comic books, television shows and movies.

    Chapter 2. Cat People

  • "The Witch Hunter" ~ Scotland
    Mr. MacLeod was the most hated witch hunter in Scotland, until all the witches got together and concocted a very special plan.
  • "The Homeless Cats" ~ Italy
    People had always said that the stray cats living in the witch towers were really transformed humans. But they didn't know that acting against those cats would ignite a war of magic and religion ending in a strange pact.
  • "Ajani's Courage" ~ Nigeria
    Ajani was known as the bravest man around, but did he go too far when he stole two cubs from a leopard woman?
  • "Between a Lion and a Rock" ~ Angola
    Chela's new stepmother has a nasty habit of turning into a lion and trying to kill her.
  • "Land of the Tigers" ~ Korea
    Hyo never let his extreme shortness keep him from pursuing his dream: becoming the most skilled exterminator of tiger people the world had ever seen.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Andre Norton, Yasmine Galenorn, and L. J. Smith. It also includes information about cat people in movies and on television.

    Chapter 3. Water Dwellers

  • "Alligator Man" ~ America
    Escaped slaves and the Seminole tribe joined together under the leadership of a powerful African sorcerer. But what will they do when it is clear they are making a desperate last stand against the white invaders?
  • "Dancing in the Moonlight" ~ The Cook Islands
    Koro's father has always gone on secret trips. This time, Koro has the perfect plan for trailing his father without getting caught.
  • "Missing Fingers" ~ Scotland
    Iain and his brother Angus are simple fishermen living in extreme poverty, but the seal people keep intruding on their lives, taking more and more.
  • "Stranded" ~ The Shetland Islands
    When Herman Perk's friends left him to die on a rock in the sea, he is given no choice but to make a pact with a strange creature.
  • "The Water Dragon" ~ France
    After a terrible accident, Raymond is left wandering the woods, his sanity slipping away. There, he meets a woman who will change his life, and the history of France, forever.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Franny Billingsley, Susan Cooper and Jane Yolen, plus a number of movies about aquatic shapeshifters.

    Chapter 4. Bird People

  • "The Eagle in the Garden" ~ Mexico
    The fate of the Aztec empire rests on a princess, a prophecy, and a man who can change into an eagle.
  • "The Adventures of Zibid" ~ Iraq
    Zibid has no idea why the green duck hates him so much. When he finds out why, it is only the start of a lifetime of adventures.
  • "The Gift" ~ Japan
    Before martial arts teachers first came to Japan, there was only one way to learn: seek out the mountain goblins known as the tengu.
  • "The Man with Yellow Eyes" ~ America
    A young woman must learn the price of her stubborn heart after she marries a man who can change into an owl.
  • "Condor Mountain" ~ Bolivia
    Nina was so bored herding the llamas every day that she wished something would happen to liven things up. Then she got kidnapped by the shapeshifters living on the mountain peak.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Poul Anderson and Tanith Lee. It also includes movies about people who could transform into birds.

    Chapter 5. Fox People

  • "The Fox Liked to Ride Horses" ~ Japan
    Hideki has sworn to protect travelers from the fox girl, but he keeps getting outsmarted.
  • "The Lost Traveler" ~ Korea
    Minho was hopelessly lost, and he had no idea how many monsters were waiting to eat him.
  • "Warrior Women" ~ Vietnam
    There is something stalking the American soldiers, something far more deadly than the Viet Cong.
  • "The Crooked Accountant" ~ China
    Mr. Zhu's maid is a genius at investigation. She catches everyone who tries to swindle him. But what Mr. Zhu doesn't realize is that he's already been robbed.
  • "A Haunted House Call" ~ Japan
    Dr. Kendo though it was just an ordinary house call, but he had really been sent to the worst haunted house in the district.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth and Andre Norton. Films and television shows are also described.

    Chapter 6. Bear People

  • "Bearskin-Woman" ~ America
    Bearskin-Woman knows her father would never approve of her marriage to a non-human, so she tries to keep it a secret.
  • "Yu the Great" ~ China
    Yu saves the lives of thousands from the great flood. A hero to the multitudes, he neglects his own family and the consequences soon come back to haunt him.
  • "The Bear Prince" ~ Denmark
    Prince Bjorn knew his stepmother was an awful woman, but he didn't know she was a witch willing to do almost anything to ruin him.
  • "Battle of the Bears" ~ Iceland
    Rerir was always trying to hook up with Signi, a girl who hated him. At last he decided to use his transformation power to kidnap her and force a marriage. But Signi has a family secret of her own.
  • "Ustaquio's Vow" ~ America
    All the cowboys were doing it: killing off the few remaining the bear men. Ustaquio considered it his Christian duty to wipe out the last traces of his Chumash heritage, so he made a vow to kill every bear he saw. Then, one day, his vow is tested to the limit.
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as David Randall and S.C. Butler, plus three movies about human/bear transformations.

    Chapter 7. Other Shapeshifters

  • "The Witch, the Horse and the Vampire" ~ Lithuania
    Tomas was so desperate to earn 900 gold pieces that he didn't really think about what he was getting himself into: turning into a horse and fighting a beautiful lady vampire.
  • "The Grain Thieves" ~ Wales
    Prince Manawyddan is trapped in a strange landscape, slowly starving. His last chance to survive the winter is to harvest his three wheat fields, but something magical is about to interfere.
  • "First Man and the Magic Buffalo" ~ Ghana
    First Man had to do his best without the rules and knowledge we have today, so it isn't surprising that he got in trouble with the magic buffalo.
  • "Coyote Brother" ~ Guatemala
    Raimundo Herrera was surprised when his father adopted a boy, but Raimundo is about to be a lot more surprised.
  • "A Silver Bullet" ~ America
    Moses Talley knows that deer can't be bulletproof... or can they?
  • Recommended Fiction
    This fiction guide includes novels by authors such as Meredith Ann Pierce, Bruce Coville and Sharon Shinn. It also includes a number of television shows and movies that focus on odd varieties of shapeshifter.

    This section includes the complete source information on each folktale, including the exact page numbers of the book or books used to construct my retold version, historical background information on the culture it came from, and notes about other versions of the folktale or legends with similar motifs.

    Bibliographic information on all the books consulted in order to write They Could Turn Into Animals.

    Free Preview

    I used to have the first five pages available to preview. However, these have been taken down for the time being. I hope to have them available again after the book has completed its final revision. Thank you for being patient!

    Trivia from the Book

    The following trivia questions are answered within the book:

    1) What differences are there between werewolves in Chinese legends and those in European legends?

    2) Other than being the name of several British organizations of artists and bards, what is the Gorsedd?

    3) Do you need a silver bullet for any shapeshifters other than werewolves?

    4) How was murder handled in societies that saw it as a matter to be settled between two families instead of a matter for the courts?

    5) Who were the Maroons, and why does their history contain more folklore than solid facts?

    6) What kind of fish god is Tini-rau?

    7) Did any European kings ever claim to be descended from a dragon?

    Back Cover

    Since the book has not yet been accepted by a publisher, the back cover copy is not available at this time.

    Buy It

    Since the book has not yet been accepted by a publisher, you can't buy it yet. Usually the publication process itself takes a year or two.

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