Phillis Gershator










Fire and Wings

I enjoy writing stories and poems
for the Cricket Group magazines.
One story, “Kotoshi the Dragon
Doctor,” was included in the hard
cover anthology, Fire and Wings
(Cricket Books, 2002).

Kotoshi, instead of being
eaten by a dragon, or killing it,
not only heals a dragon baby’s
wounded wing, she discovers
that its mother much prefers
eating fish to sacrificial maidens.

The story continues in “Kotoshi
the Love Doctor” (Cricket,
May 2007) when Kotoshi
meets a poetic patient she
can’t (or perhaps doesn’t
really want) to cure.    

Art by Daniel Powers
for "Kotoshi the Love Doctor"

Here is a list of more stories:

“Spider Soup,” Spider, 6/1995
     A Liberian folktale starring a greedy and selfish spider.

“The Salted Mushroom,” Cricket, 11/2003
     In 15th century China a wealthy salt merchant plans to live forever.

“Reina Sardina,” Spider, 3/2004
     A magic fish grants Pepe’s mother an unexpected wish.

“Tukama and the Duppy,” Spider, 6/2005
     Can Tukama outwit a mischievous Duppy?

“Marco and the Magic Seeds,” Spider, 5/2004
     Marco’s magic beans turn out to be squash seeds, and the weedwoman is not a fee-fi-fo-fumming, treasure-hoarding ogre.

“Love Leaves” & “Basket of Love,” both in Cricket, 2/2003
     Two Chinese courtship festivals and how they began.

“The Ox-Star,” Spider, 8/1996
     When Shang Ti sends Ox to Earth with an important message, mixed-up Ox makes a big mistake.

“The Moth Prince,” Cricket, 11/1999 

A spoiled Chinese prince
awakens from a dream
that he’d become a moth.
But maybe it wasn’t a dream.
“The Moth Prince” is one
of my favorite stories.
Among its inspirations:
a tour of a Chinese silk factory
in 1990 and a famous dream
in the Taoist classic,
Chuang Tzu:

When the sage, Chuang Chou
awoke, he didn’t know if he
was a butterfly dreaming
of Chou or Chou dreaming
he was a butterfly!

by Linda S.Wingerter
for “The Moth Prince”

“Hair and Feathers,” Cricket, 11/1996
     How can bald Bandong court Nanka, his true love, if he has no hair for her to comb?
“Biscuit Boy,” Ladybug, 4/1996
     With a bugle and a song, shy Sidney sells Mama’s biscuits in the marketplace.

“Princess Shen-ming and the Wise Man,” Cricket, 8/1996
     A practical princess wisely interprets a simple man’s comments.
“The Little-Like-Me Baby,” Ladybug, 4/2000     
     Who does a baby platypus look like?

Art by Ponder Goembel
for “The Little-Like-Me Baby”

“The Bits-and-Pieces Platypus,” Ladybug, 4/2000
     Facts about the platypus.

“The Promise of Seged,” co-author, David Gershator, Spider, 11/2000
     The Jews of Ethiopia celebrate the holiday of Seged––and reach the land of their dreams and prayers.

“Coyote’s Coat,” Spider, 4/1999
     Will Coyote never be satisfied with the color of his fur?

“Kot kot kot kodatch...,” Ladybug, 7/2000
     A boastful Hungarian hen takes a ride on a bike.

“Tiyoro and the Kissing Bird,” Cricket, 2/2006
     A tale from Mali: stubborn girl meets stubborn bird.

“Nu Wa and the Yellow Clay,” Spider, 4/2005; 9/2012
     A Chinese myth of creation featuring the snaky goddess Nu Wa.

“Vive l’Artiste!” Cricket, 10/2005
     When a Haitian artist, inspired by the spirits, paints his finest painting, will he sell it?

“The Butterfly Test,” Cricket, 5/2006
     If an indecisive prince can’t make up his mind what to wear or what to eat, how will he ever choose a wife?

“Promises,” Cricket, 8/2007
     A classic tale from the Panchatantra, in which a young woman marries a snake.

“Ancestor Dog,” Cricket, 9/2008
     A legendary “Beauty and the Beast” story from China.

“Barbarian’s Bride,” Cricket, 5-6/2009
     Who will be chosen to wed the Barbarian? Surely not the Emperor’s favorite!

“Seek the Sun,” Spider, 9/2009
     A true story from Japan.

“The Beggar Prince and the Honest Princess,” Cricket, 4/2011
     A classic tale, retold from the Panchatantra, in which a disowned daughter is married to a sickly beggar.

Art by Uma Krishnaswamy
for "The Beggar Prince
and the Honest Princess"


"The Lonely Goat," Ladybug, 2/2012
    A goat looks everywhere for his family. Where did everybody go?

“Wu-tu,” Cricket, 3/2012
     From the ancient annals of Chinese history: valiant soldier, precious stone, greedy king, beautiful maiden....

"Frog Rain," Ladybug, 4/2013
     A true story about a very tiny, very loud, and very special frog: the coquí.  Read the story!

"Bushi's Bullfight," Cricket, 3/2013
     A legendary tale in which the 19th century warrior Sokon Matsumura engages in hand-to-hand combat––with a bull!

"Bushi's Bride," Cricket, 9/2013
     Young Yonamine consents to marry on one condition. Her suitor must defeat her in a fair fight.

"The Water Bucket: a Chinese folk tale," Cricket, 1/2018
     Both "Cinderella" and "The Porridge Pot" come to mind in this traditional tale starring the popular Chinese "Water Mother," Shui-mu.

"Can I Borrow Your Burrow?" Ladybug, 2/2018
     Mr. Tortoise likes peace and quiet, but his burrow is a busy place. One guest after another stops by––and moves in! What is our hero to do?

"Three Impossible Tasks," Part 1, Cricket, 1/2020
     Can Pei, a handsome, young, but very poor calligrapher, win the hand of the wealthy magistrate's daughter? No! Impossible! Or so the magistrate hopes. To be continued....
"Three Impossible Tasks," Part 2, Cricket, 2/2020
     The first and second tasks set by the scheming magistrate seemed impossible, but the third task––well, there is no way Pei can succeed this time, locked in a cell without ink or brush....

"The Silent One," Cricket, 3/2023
      A mix of fact, fiction, and legend to tell the story of Mo Niang, a popular Chinese deity, also known as Ma Zu (Ancestral Grandmother), patron saint of sailors, fisherfolk, explorers, travelers....


"The Tennin's Robe," inspired by a classic Japanese tale, appeared in a wonderful issue of Highlights magazine in April, 2008. That issue includes some amazing facts about the brain, plus a true story about the famous candy maker Milton S. Hershey.

Poems in the Cricket Group Magazines:

"Down at the Pond," Ladybug, 5/2022


Art by Kate Talbot for "Down at the Pond"

“At the Holocaust Memorial Museum,” Cicada, 5-6/2001
     Where does tolerance start?

“After the Storm,” co-author, David Gershator, Cricket, 4/2000
      Treasure on the beach.

“Mosquito catcher,” Spider, 6/2001
      My friend the lizard.

“Don’t call my name,” Cricket, 5/2000
       Why not? Read on:


Please don’t call my name--
I’m reading a book.

Please don’t call my name.
Don’t ask me to clean up my room
and take out the trash.
No, I don’t want to go shopping.
I’m not ready to play.

Please don’t call my name--
I’m reading a book.
I’m far away.
I’m busy.
I’m making new friends.
I know all their secrets
except for a few,
so please,
don’t call my name.
I’m reading a book
and I can’t answer your call
till I see how it ends.


Portrait of Phillis by Morton Dimondstein,1953

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for these magazine stories and poems––please contact me at