"Stories beget understanding,
Understanding begets respect,
Respect begets justice,
Justice begets peace,
That is the power of story."
The Storytelling Round Table at the 2016 Texas Library Association Conference in Houston helped sponsor renown storyteller and mime, Antonio Rocha (pronounced Hosha with a short o sound). His TLA pre-conference workshop was titled "Beyond the Voice: Using Movement, Expression and Mime in Storytelling." My head is still spinning with Antonio's tips on incorporating mime in our storytelling journey. With permission from Antonio, I thought it best to blog about this unforgettable day in hopes that what was taught will be practiced often until we can try out some of the movements at a storytelling event in the future.
Antonio worked with us on pulling a rope, opening a door, and using our eyes! I've included clips to help you see what was taught.
Thank you Antonio for sharing your passion with us. You make it all look so easy when in fact, it's a lifetime of constant interaction with the world, research, practice, and finally the beautiful portrayal of story you share with us on stage. Thank you!
I was fortunate to present this workshop at the 2016 Tejas Storytelling Conference in Waco June 2016. The theme of the conference was "Bridging Our Differences: Embracing Our Diversity" My inspiration came from children' author, Grace Lin's Ted Talk on Windows and Mirrors through reading. Grace Lin is a wonderful children’s author who presented the best Ted Talk ever regarding books on all of our shelves. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one of my favorite books! I l realized storytelling could easily be substituted for books. Gist: Kids need storytelling to be mirrors, making connections to what they hear and see. But they also need storytelling to be windows. Kids who always see themselves in stories need to be able to see things from other view points. By empathizing and sharing, kids can see outside of themselves. Look at the stories you tell – is there a balance of windows and mirrors?
I included various activities that have been used quite successfully in the classroom preK - 12th grade to help our students see both the window and the reflection of themselves and others through story. I've attached the files below rather than make this blog much longer. Please try them out. Each activity works in all curriculum contents.
The gem of all gems for me was a website I uncovered just a week ago. It's called The Literacy Shed- sharing visual literacy ideas and tips. These short animated clips are placed in categories and most are without words. What a perfect beginning for storytellers and writers. So many of these stories allow us to walk in others' shoes while at the same time making connections with our own lives. Coolest website ever!!!
It's always nice to hear other contributions to this subject, new ideas and old ideas that we've forgotten about. Please share!
Photo Credit from photopin.com: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38991571@N00/27496469035">Cute Baby fat</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>
Whether your summer library's theme is based on physical fitness, heroes, or another motivating theme, I would love to storytell for your patrons because there's a story for everyone!
I'm honored to be on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artist Roster which means funding is available through their grant application process. TCA will pay up to half of my fee! Please check them out HERE. The grant application deadline for summer performances occurring June 15 - August 31 is May 1, 2016.
The ancient art of storytelling comes alive when involving the listeners into the story through actions, musical instruments, puppets, and strings! My stories are folktales, fairytales, personal tales, urban legends, and spooky tales! Please give me a call or email me soon!
Storyteller, Sue Kuentz
Visiting Texas Libraries this summer
Home: Bulverde, TX (Just north of San Antonio)
Listening to the diversity of stories shared by members and visitors of our San Antonio Storytellers Association monthly gathering at the Brookhollow Public Library brings out the best in me as a storyteller. From 6:30 - 8:00p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, everyone in drawn to hear an array of tales ranging from Cowboy poetry, personal tales, traditional folktales and fairy tales, to outlandish tall tales and fantastical stories that couldn't possibly happen (or could they?) I feel at home with this group of tellers and listeners because every story is a work in progress - constantly being cut and polished revealing that diamond in the ruff.
Where Can I find that Perfect Story?
Our brains are wired for stories - that's how we communicate and make emotional connections to understand our surroundings and new knowledge. Here's a few ideas and resources that have always worked for me when it comes to finding, cutting, and polishing a tale:
1. Personal tales - Talk to family members to recall those poignant moments in your life that you'd like to share through a story. Keep a small paper notebook or digital notebook with you always to jot down common phrases and idioms that you definitely want to include. (Take it from me, if I don't write them down within five minutes of hearing them quoted, they're out of my brain forever.)
2. Folktales, fairy tales, tall tales, legends and myths - You can discover an infinite amount of these tales in the 398.2 section of your local library. Find a comfortable chair, read through those tales that appeal to you, and you'll find that perfect one that makes you want to read it over and over again! Eventually, you'll close the book, and retell that special story in your own words.
3. Cowboy Poetry - You can find cowboy poetry in the 811 section of your library and online. It's fun to watch some of the cowboys in action through Youtube. This should give you enough inspiration to write your own story poem to present!
4. Facebook, Blogs, podcasts, websites, videos,
oh my! - Stories galore live in the world online - thank goodness! - You'll find and bookmark your favorite places to visit when it comes to stories but stop by our SASA website first. We have many fine storytellers who share their favorite tales, websites, and blogs.
Here's a few of my favorites:
San Antonio Storytellers Association Facebook - great way to stay in touch and watch for our current events and special Youtube videos of our storytellers' tales.
Storytellers Facebook - Fantastic site to visit with storylovers from around the world. Blogs are mentioned, stories are offered, questions are proposed, events are posted!
Sean Bulava's Website: Great audio resources
http://www.storyteller.net- podcasts, book resources, tellers, articles, discussions - great resources!
Gutenburg website- Thousands of folktales, fairytales, myths, and legends in print - copyright free.
Karen Chance's Blog- "Catch a Storybug" blog is a fantastic site because Karen has placed her story resources in theme categories which makes it easy to find a tale based on a season, holiday, or subject of interest.
We'd love to hear from you through comments. What are some of your favorite resources you use for storytelling? What types of tales do you prefer to tell and why? Do you have any questions regarding our San Antonio Storytellers Association?
Yay! I celebrated after publishing my last A-Z post. I was one of those nerds that ran up and down my country road with "Eye of the Tiger" song blasting through my iPhone earbuds. I did some turn-arounds and a few cartwheels - totally worth it! One of my neighbors thought I had won the HGTV's Martha's Vinyard Home that I entered twice every day. Nope, but this probably felt just as good!
My theme was " Every Hero Has a Story" and bridged storytelling and books to this summer library reading theme. I learned so much about hero characteristics, story heroes that had these characteristics, and made a conscience effort to share tales that could be told or read to kids from age 5 - 14. I now have posts that I can refer back to but also for others who are interested in the various tales I shared to find and use.
It was pretty obvious to me that there weren't many children's librarians/elementary school/middle school educators participating in this challenge so I'm not sure how useful my posts were to the majority of participants. I appreciated every visitor and hope they found worthy morsels of information, stories, ideas that could be used as springboards for later use. As such, it's my goal to share this A-Z Challenge with my educator friends. Unfortunately, April is a busy month for teachers so I'm guessing not many would be able to participate but I would love for them to know they could scout us out through our list.
What I LOVED:
1. LOVE the A-Z Challenge Survivor T-shirt! So cool. This was the reward I was looking for. Please, pick one up for yourself - you deserve it! I'm hoping to run into you this summer. How will I know it's you if you're not wearing THE shirt?
2. LOVED the support from A-Z Twitter and your posts placed daily to encourage all of us. I'm new and it's fantastic to read the invaluable tips given for bloggers!
3. LOVE the fact that I have time now to go back and read the blogs that everyone is raving about!
4. LOVED the comments posted on each of my posts. A million thank you's to all of you - such a boost!
5. LOVED the menions and organizers who stopped by every once in a while to check on me - thank you!
Changes I would make:
1. This is my second year to complete the challenge and still found our 1000+ list daunting to organize. I appreciated the tips given throughout the challenge (bookmarking the blogs visited, sign up to follow favorite, blogs, etc.) but do feel that the list need to be organized into it's categories. Many folks forgot to place their category code next to their titles so it became hit or miss.
2. I'm still very new to blogging and probably could bring more folks in but I just don't know how to at this point. I like the fact that my blog is connected to my website but noticed most bloggers are using blog sites only.
3. As a storyteller, I tried to keep my posts short but short to me could be long to many others - ugh!
4. I would love to have your blogging tips and will take them all in and try it differently next year!
Favorite Blogs I visited:
1. Adventures in Storytelling- Julie Moss is a storyteller from Colorado who blogged on several interesting storytelling topics from A-Z.
2. Diary of an Urban Housewife- Kate wrote wonderfully, ingenious posts about
3. Kari Neumeyer ~ Rhymes with Safari - Wonderful blog on training and caring for dogs - her two shephards are beautiful and well loved!
4. Story Crossing - Pam Faro is a fabulous storyteller from Colorado who invested first hand research into Story Slams which are popping up all over the U.S. She attended and participated in a few slams and came out learning so much. Thank you Pam for sharing!
5. Dreams and Dimensions - Jyotsna Bhatia's theme was based on conversations between two people. Her writing was excellent!
6. The Fluff is Raging: Niall Mcardle's splendid blog posts on classic films was so entertaining - quite enjoyed the journey!
7. A-Z Scripture Adventure: Loved her scriptures each day and the connections made to each. We're reminded to repeat the scripture 10 times to hold each close to us!
8. Living My Imperfect Life - fun, short poetry that went with a word for that day's letter.
9. Tales Out of School - Mary is a retired teacher who also storytells and her blog posts were of her bygone days in the classroom - talk about storytelling. She shared wonderful tales that we can all connect to in and out of the classroom.
10. The Multicolored Diary- Storyteller and writer, Csenge Zalka, wrote out 26 amazing epics that opened my eyes to adventure. Her humorous, upbeat writing inspired me to dig deeper into some of these epics of which she would tell us its heros and highlights!
Stop on by the A-Z Blog Challenge Reflections List HERE.
"Every Hero Has A Story." My Blogging From A to Z theme bridges the summer library reading programs throughout the U.S. with storytelling opportunities, ideas, and activities.
Who wouldn't want to wear a cape, black mask, and handle the coolest, sharpest sword in the world - one that he easily carves his trademark Z into any surface? Zorro is the village of Los Angeles' Robin Hood - steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The setting of Johnston McCulley's story of Zorro is in old California where oppression rules. Native peasants are abused and innocent bystanders are persecuted by corrupt rulers and their army. Diego Vega has no choice but to disguise himself as Zorro by night to be the champion of freedom for those in need of his services.
Why not inspire others to be champions - whether it be to stand up and ask questions, help out someone in need, work as a team to create something great for others, or to build confidence to make a new friend. Read a few of these tales or tell your version of Zorro and have the kids make their marks!
It's been a fantastic month of theme blogging. I'd like to thank all of you who have visited my posts and those that left comments. It's always such a boost to read what you have to say! Please pass my blog on to teachers, librarians, families who would benefit from stories of bravery. We're all heroes - tell your tales!
"Every Hero Has A Story." My Blogging From A to Z theme bridges the summer library reading programs throughout the U.S. with storytelling opportunities, ideas, and activities.
Tip your cowboy hats to our heroine today - San Antonio Sue. Yes sir, she sure proved herself in my rendition of a fun, total participation, western vaudeville. She turns the sleepy little Western town of Yawning Gulch into a rip roaring adventure! There's good guys, bad guys, and everything in-between. Gather as many folks as you can, assign parts to your audience, practice them there parts and then off you go, narrating this Western tale. Guaranteed to get some belly laughs while your audience acts it out! this is a story no one will forget!
I think it would be pretty easy to change the setting of this tale to just about anywhere. Where do you live? How would the characters change in your town, state, country? I'd love to hear from you!
"Every Hero Has A Story." My Blogging From A to Z theme bridges the summer library reading programs throughout the U.S. with storytelling opportunities, ideas, and activities.
I've invited my good friend and storyteller extraordinaire, Mary Grace Ketner, from San Antonio, TX to be my guest blogger for today's letter. She successfully completed the A-Z Blog Challenge 2014 and did a marvelous job convincing us to find treasures in the 398.2 section of our library (Dewey Decimal for Folktales and Fairytales). This is her "X" is for Xmen Post:
Even teachers are sometimes surprised at how long primary students will sit fully engaged in a good story. One such tale which I love is my 25-minute version of “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship.” Meeting all seven “mutant heroes" and singing “Otchi Tchornya” after each one, then seeing how each uses his special power to achieve the fool’s goal keeps kids sitting on the edge of their seats, singing along and laughing at the strange and wonderful characters. The story has many fringe benefits, too, such as appreciation of differences and the role of kindness and respect in advancing one’s goals. I’m looking forward to getting to tell it at Library Summer Reading Programs for this year’s theme, “Every Hero Has A Story.”
Before there was Stan Lee, there were X-men, mutant heroes. Storytellers call them “magical friends” for, with their mutant capabilities and unnatural powers, they befriend the hero in his quest. When I tell “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship,” I call the seven heroes Hearsalot, Runsalot, Shootsalot, Eatsalot, and—by the time the last three arrive, kids are joining in: “Drinksalot!” “Strawsalot!” “Sticksalot!”
Without them, the Fool of the World could never have brought back the water of life from the well at the world’s end or foiled the Tsar’s tricks or married the Tsarevna!
Hooray for X-men!
Your quest for mutant heroes ends here: a picture book, a Classic Russian Collection, and a beloved Andrew Lang:
Ransome, Arthur. The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, illustrated by Uri Schulevitz. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968.
Ransome, Arthur. Old Peter’s Russian Tales. Mellon Press, 2008.
Lang, Andrew. The Yellow Fairy Book, illustrated by H. J. Ford. Reprinted by Flying Chipmunk Publishing, 2009.
(Also available for Kindle and on the Gutenberg Project.)
Create your own flying ships
Mary Grace's Story Activities that support the curriculum
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.
The story I've chosen for "W" is a wonderful Jewish folktale from Afghanistan about an unlikely hero - a poor cobler who lives each day to its fullest, always counting his blessings and having faith that God will provide. The title of this tale is "The Wooden Sword." It truly speaks to me because I believe there must be a worry gene in me of which I can't seem to get rid of. This tale reminds me to just take each day with a smile, with faith, and with a little help from my friends! The A-Z Blog challenge had me worried and yet here I am with the rest of you, enjoying every single morsel of blog post visits! Have faith my friends, we are almost victorious.
Thank you to Heather Forest, a fabulous, internationally known storyteller and author, for allowing me to post her wonderful rendition of "The Wooden Sword." Credit: "The Wooden Sword, A Tale from Afghanistan" retold by Heather Forest from Wisdom Tales from Around the World, August House Publishers.
I am a self professed worrier! Stories like this remind me to stop, take a deep breath, and believe that faith will get me through. Are you a worrier? What do you do to help remedy that impulse? I'd love to hear from you.
Vasilisa the Brave is a Russian folktale filled with Cinderella-like circumstances but ever so much more adventuresome. Vasilisa proves herself brave , courageous, and kind in the midst of jealous and mean step mother and step sisters, along with walking in the dark woods, by herself to the witche's house on chicken feet to retrieve light. Are you kidding - no way would I even consider taking on those tasks. Well, unless I had the coolest doll EVER! A doll Vasilisa's mother gave her right before dying. Her mother instructed her "Remember and heed my last words. I am dying, and together with my maternal blessing i leave you this dool. Always keep it with you and do not show it to anyone. If you get into trouble, give the doll food, and ask its advice. When it has ate it will tell you what to do in your trouble." I had a Chatty Cathy doll in second grade. I took her with me everywhere but she would only say a few sentences when I pulled her string - don't think I received the advice needed as Vasilisa did. Kids will love this tale of heroism in danger - and how fortunate to have a doll who talks to you and helps to solve all the problems that Vasilisa confronts.
There are several versions of the Russian folktale of Vasilisa. One is found in Favorite Folktales from around the World, edited by Jane Yolen. A few more are text found on the internet:
Myths and Legends
The Annotated Baba Yaga
Vasilisa the Brave
Marianna Mayer's version of Vasilisa is amazing! The illustrations by K.Y. Craft will make you feel you're walking into those dark woods with Vasilisa - pretty scary!
I found this lovely Australian myth in the book entitled Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters, edited by Kathleen Ragan. It, along with several other Australian treasures can also be found in the full text of "Myths and Legends of the Torres Strait" - wonderful tales! Asou Thaiday told this story on July 6, 1966 on Yam Island in the Torres Strait. Yam island is about a mile in length and half a mile in width with a population of around 340. The Torres Straits include reefs, rocks, and islands located between the northern most tip of Australia and New Guinea.
Uzu, the White Dogai, is an unlikely heroine because most dogais are evil tricksters, always looking to snatch a man to grab as a husband or even children, as told in other dogai tales. Uzu was a good dogai, kind to all who might be in trouble. I've included the entire text of "Uzu, the White Dogai" below. Enjoy!
Howdy folks. This here Texas tall tale stands up to the best of them, like Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink, and Davy Crockett. I figure fourth graders on up to eighth graders will certainly enjoy this picture book. Thunder Rose is filled with exaggerations and live action, bigger than life situations that gotta be solved, and our heroine comes out smellin' like a rose. I also tip my Stetson cowboy hat to illustrator, Kadir Nelson - her pictures are amazing.
Summary: A feisty baby girl was born on a dark and thunder storm night and with her adoring parents looking on, she grabbed the lightning and thunder above her and with her first breath declared that she was partial to the name Rose, so Thunder Rose stuck. Rose grew up not knowing failure. Why, on day two, she lifted a cow to drink its milk dry, two years, she played with scrap iron, and at the ripe old age of twelve, wrestled a stampeding herd of wild longhorn steer and tamed the monster steer with a song-a song her parents' love had graced her with. She conquered all who stood in her way which included a gang of desperadoes she tied up in iron and dropped in jail. Thunder Rose tackled a cloud with her lasso, squeezing it for water to halt the drought (which must have been perty fierce 'cause even the rocks were crying out in thirst. Problem was her efforts resulted in two tornadoes comin' at her. Full of determination, bravery, and confidence, Rose knew she needed a plan first so she sat back and thought it out. Thunder Rose used her talent of singin' and calmed those tornadoes. As Rose journeyed back to Abilene, TX, she realized the gentle power of music in her heart. Rose was a hero that changed her world through kindness, determined focus, thoughtfulness, and song. Thunder Rose's stories of her amazing, almost impossible feats spread all over the West and now you're hearing about them too!
I'm hoping to adapt Jerdine Nolan's original tall tale of Thunder Rose to storytell in the schools and libraries but I'll need to ask for permission from her first. Emailing begins tomorrow!
Hobby Horse, cowboy hat, some boots, and chaps: all you need to role play this tall tale!
Text of Thunder Rose
Below is a wonderful guide with writing and reading activities suited more for a classroom:
I've had a storytelling club in most of the schools I've taught in for over 20 years and came to realize about seven years ago that there are some fun apps out there that certainly support the craft of storytelling. Story Wheel has been a huge favorite of my storytelling students.
Ranging from 3rd to 5th grade, one of my student groups of 4 created a hero myth on the Story Wheel app titled "Posidon's Son." You can listen and watch the tale HERE. Please feel free to "like" the story and leave a comment for the kids - they would get a kick out of it. Thanks in advance.
Description of the Story Wheel App:
This app cost $2.99 and it's well worth it. One ipad can be shared with up to 6 kids. Stay away from the "Story Wheel Lite," which is free, but you create two stories with it and that's it. Enter each student's first name, spin the wheel and land on an image. You'll have up to 30 seconds to record your part of the story using the image. The next person's turn. He/she knows what the previous students had recorded and spins to the next image. Record the continuation of the tale incorporating this new image. As each student progresses, the previous images are displayed on the side so each can keep track of the storyline. I certainly allow collaboration when needed.
Record and Listen to Your Stories
On the wheel, you have the choice to click on "Listen to Stories." This is where you'll find the stories recorded by your family, friends, or students. Click on the story title. Your voice is played back with the images you spun. The cool part is that each page of the story shares the person's name, the animated image used, and of course, his/her voice. This is a great confidence booster for the tellers. They are their own worst critics and only become better tellers with each story told.
Share Your Stories
Once you have created your story, you can share it online, or publish it as an iBook. You can post it to their website for the world to listen.
I'm hoping you'll try it out!
When it comes to storytelling and the reading of stories, heroes come in all forms, including birds. How often have I gone for a morning jog or walking my dog and noticed at least 30 birds at one time sitting on the telephone lines along my street just talking away. You can't tell me that they aren't storytelling - they're not bird brains. Here's a wonderful Native American creation myth from the Lenape Tribe, also known as the Delaware Indians.
Rainbow Crow (Lenni Lenape Tribe): This legend from the Lenape Indian tribe, is about a crow who bravely rescues forest animals from the snow storm that promised to bury them. Wise Owl chose Rainbow Crow for this arduous journey. He's voice was enchanting and his feathers were of all colors glistening in the sun's rays. With his voice, Rainbow Crow summoned the Creator out to solve this freezing delemma. A blazing, glowing fire burned on a stick given to Crow. This fire stick was to be flown to Earth quickly before the stick burned up. This journey caused Rainbow's feathers to catch on fire and turn black and the smoke strangled his beautiful singing voice. Rainbow Crow did save the animals of the earth and warmed them with the fire but sacrificed much. The Creator and animals never forgot and honor crow - the hoarse voice prevents man from putting him into a cage to sing and men won't eat crow because the creator made his flesh taste of smoke. He would always be free.
Added bonus: I couldn't leave this post without mentioning another winged hero tale: Raven Brings Fresh Water, retold by Fran Martin in From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs, compiled by Amy L. Cohn. Another creation story from the Pacific Northwest. Raven, who is more times than not, a trickster, but in this tale, he saves the people from dying of thirst.
Fabulous Rainbow Crow theater, science, social studies, language arts - pretty amazing lessons and activities!
I panicked finding a letter "Q" hero for this post until I decided to search through Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales , praying for a lead and lo and behold, a wonderful tale unearthed itself - The Queen Bee. I've never heard this fairytale before but after reading it several times, I've grown quite fond of it. The hero is Witling, the youngest prince, who is sneered at by his two older brothers who seem to think they are much more clever than he will ever be. What I find in this young brother is empathy, an emotion taught well in this tale. By understanding that all living things have a purpose and must be treated gently, he is rewarded for his wisdom and compassion. Here is "The Queen Bee" in a nut shell:
1. King's two older sons go off into the world seeking adventure but are reckless and thoughtless and decide they better not ever go home.
2. Witling, youngest brother, ventures out to find his brothers. Once found, brothers ridicule him and pronounce him a "loser" compared to their "cleverness."
3. The three set off and come across an ant hill in which the older princes would like to step on and cause havoc. Witling speaks up and says "leave the creatures alone, I won't suffer them to be killed."
4. All come up to some ducks swimming in a lake. Brothers want to kill them for dinner but Witling stops them - "I will not suffer them to be killed."
5. Eventually they come to a bee's nest with loads of dripping, sweet honey that overflowed and ran down the tree trunk. Older brothers want to smoke out the bees for the honey but Witling saves the day and says NO, Leave the little creatures alone, I will not suffer them to be stifled."
6. Brothers aren't happy but the 3 of them finally reach a castle with stone horses by a stable. Brothers search through the rooms until they see a gray-haired man sitting at a table through a small opening of a locked door. They call 3 times before the old man turns, stands, walks to open the door. Man leads them to a table filled with foods to eat. Once eaten, the man walks each to their bed chambers.
7. Next morning, old man beckons the oldest brother to a stone table where there were 3 tasks written down to break the enchantment spell. #1: 1000 pearls belonging to the princess must be gathered from under the moss in the woods - all must be gathered and returned by sunset - Oldest brother failed and was turned to stone. 2nd brother goes out to gather the pearls and fails - turned to stone.
8. Witling's turn - quite tedious but gets help from those ants he saved earlier-all pearls were gathered.
9. #2 task ordered by the table of stone was to retrieve the key to the Princess's room at the bottom of the lake. Witling was assisted by the ducks he saved earlier and the key was delivered.
10. #3 task ordered by the table of stone was most difficult - Witling had to choose out the youngest and loveliest of the three Princesses with only these clues: oldest had eaten a piece of sugar, the middle had eaten a little syrup, and the youngest had a spoonful of honey. The Queen Bee comes to the rescue and trying the lips of all three, settles on the one that had eaten honey. Witling, the King's son, thus choose the correct Princess, the spell was broken and everyone woke up. Witling married the youngest, ruled the kingdom after his father's death, and the brothers were none the wiser.
Julie Moss, one of our own Storytelling A-Z Bloggers has a wonderful post today on Clever and Wise Queens. Please check her post out here.
Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned by the USSR to write a composition for children in 1936. The purpose was to introduce children at an early age to music so they can learn to appreciate it in its many forms. Prokofiev knew that kids loved listening to folk tales so why not have a story narrated within the music itself. Thank goodness orchestras all over the world continue to entice children and their families to listen to this wonderful tale of a young hero and his animal friends - each portrayed by different instruments in the orchestra. The audience is given the unique chance to listen to the narration of this tale while the music enriches each piece of the plot. You decide what the moral is to the story - weather it is to take risks by relying on your wits or possibly to challenge established beliefs. Prokofiev's original storyline is found here.
I'm a flute player in the Helotes Community Band (Helotes, TX) but was given the opportunity to lay my flute down and narrate a shorter version of Peter and the Wolf this past Sunday arranged by Jim Curnow. While the original composition takes about 30 minutes to play, ours was about 13 minutes - easier for all age groups to enjoy. I thought it would be fun to share our concert piece here on my blog.
Tall tale heroes that I primarily know come from Texas such as Pecos Bill, Slu Foot Sue, and Davy Crockett's wild tales of adventures. Nice to know that this tall, handsome folk hero of a man comes from Massachusetts during the days of adventuring sails on the ocean. Legend has it that Alfred Bulltop Stormalong was beached as a baby, but no worries about drowning, because he was 3 fathoms tall (18feet). He was assigned to his first ship when he was 12 years young and seems to be responsible for the term "able-bodied" by signing his name on his first employment as "Stormalong, A.B." He certainly lived up to that because he was 30 feet tall. He sailed the largest ship out there at the time, the Tuscarora (a.k.a. the Courser). This ship was similar to our huge ocean liners, only better. It had a stable of Arabian horses to be ridden from one side of the boat to the other, and the humongous masts had to be hinged in fear of them running into the moon! Stormalong was a hero to all the sailors and coastal folks for his heroic acts of protecting everyone from his greatest nemesis: the Kraken. Below is just one of his tall tales of bravery on the seas:
These are my Matryoshka nesting dolls sitting atop our piano, awaiting to be stacked one within the other to tell tales of motherly and sisterly love for each other. Russia is known for creating the most beautiful, unique nesting dolls in all the world but having done a bit of research, the idea of nesting dolls goes all the way back to ancient China and Japan (1000 AD) where they depicted mythological and religious figures such as The Seven Lucky Gods. Savva Mamontov, a wealthy Russian patron of the arts noticed these stacking dolls and wanted to revive the Russian folk art in his country so he worked with an artist , Sergei Maliutin, and a craftsman, Vassily Zyiozdochkin and created the first Russian set of Matryoshkas.
I chose two tales of heroism originally written down for children to enjoy and read over and over using the nesting dolls.
Amazon's Summary of this tale: Katya's grandmother took a little matryoshka, a nesting doll, out of a small box. "If your need is great, open the doll and help will come. But you may only do so three times. After that the magic will be gone." A wicked spell has changed a handsome young prince to a pale glassy figure made of "living ice," and his kingdom to a frozen landscape of night without moon, darkness without dawn. Katya knows that it's up to her to rescue the prince and undo the evil spell that has banished the sun. Armed with only the magic nesting doll and her own valiant heart, she is determined to succeed. But will the combined effort of her courage and the mysterious nesting doll be strong enough to prevail? Laurel Long's radiant paintings and Jacqueline K. Ogburn's enchanting original tale were inspired by Russian folk art and stories. This talented duo has created a modern classic that honors its folklore heritage while depicting a world in which a girl can be anything, including a hero.
Library Journal's Summary: Kindergarten-Grade 2-Created by a doll maker in Old Russia, a set of six nesting dolls travels to America and finds its way into a toy shop. When Nina, the littlest "sister," is accidentally brushed off a table, she begins a journey that rivals the Perils of Pauline. She is lost in a pile of snow, survives a waterfall, is threatened by a blue heron, gathered up by a squirrel, jostled down a drainpipe, and played with by a cat before she is discovered by Jessie, the young girl who had purchased the incomplete set. Bliss's story and text are most successful when they incorporate elements of traditional folklore: Although the narrative tends to be long-winded, it nevertheless makes for an effective read-aloud. Brown adopts a representational style and a palette consisting mostly of soft shades of blue, brown, and green. Against this pastel background, the nesting dolls-with their traditional bold red and yellow coloring-become the focus of each picture. The art does a credible job of capturing the action of the text but is less successful in establishing a consistent sense of time and place. Still, the adventure has definite appeal. A note on the history of these dolls is included.
Denise Anton Wright, Alliance Library System, Bloomington, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Please visit my blog post titled:
Nesting Dolls and Storytelling: Adding Detail to our Bare bones.
In this You Tube, Birte Harksen and her Icelandic pre-schoolers are role playing the march into the forest.
The Lion and the Rabbit is a tale from The Panchatantra (or five books created around 200 B.C.E. in Kashmir, India. The Rabbit is the intelligent, wise hero who plans to save the day.
Bare bones of The Lion and the Rabbit:
1. Once upon a time, a long time ago in India, there lived a thoughtless, yet ferocious lion who for game, hunted more animals than he could ever eat. He would flex his muscles, roar his loud roar, and then proceed to do the same each day.
2. Animals of the jungle were terrified knowing that eventually there would be no animals left. They gathered together and agreed to meet with the lion and offer an animal a day to the lion to stop his greedy, unnecessary hunting. The meeting took place.
3. "I accept your offer," said the lion. From that moment on, one animal would go to the lion's den each day to be eaten.
4. It was eventually the rabbits' turn to choose one from their group to walk to the lion's den. The old, wise one immediately volunteered. He told stories to the baby rabbits first, said his goodbyes to his family and friends, and hopped off.
5. This rabbit took his time to get to the lion's den - he dawdled here, nibbled there, and conversed with any animals he came upon. He finally arrived quite late to the lion's den.
6. Lion was beside himself with anger - "Why are you so late? I'm starving."
7. The wise old rabbit explained that he would have been there earlier but was stopped by another ferocious, evil lion with knarly teeth, sharp claws, and a large mouth - "He looked quite like you," commented the rabbit.
8. The lion went bazerk with rage - "Another lion has invaded my territory? Well, we'll see about that. Where is he now rabbit?"
9. "Oh, I know exactly where he is," and rabbit led the lion to a deep well filled with crystal clear water. "He is in there King Lion. Look for yourself."
10. The ferocious lion peered into the well, saw his reflection in the water and roared his terrible roar. That roar vibrated off the water in the well and echoed back to him with an even louder raging roar!
11. "Who are you?" shouted the lion. The echo sounded right back - Who are you? "Why, I am the KING of the jungle!" roared the lion. The echo roared right back the same. The lion was so crazy with hate that he responded "How dare you call yourself a King." Of course the echo shouted back with an even louder conviction ; How dare you call YOURSELF a King! This was all the lion could take. He thrust his sharp claws out and showed his teeth and jumped squarely into the deep well - SPLASH!
12. The wise old rabbit hopped back to the animals of the jungle to tell them the ferocious lion fought against his own reflection and lost.
13. Moral: Cleverness is superior to brawn!
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