Wishes: January in the Library

Happy 2009 storytellers! I hope everyone had a good holiday. I spent sometime looking at the stunning work of the illustrator Rebecca Dautremer. After receiving her book “Lost and Forgotten Princesses” as a Christmas present I went straight to the library to check out her other books. Here are some examples of her illustrations.


I was really happy to be back in the library again. This month I decided to tell what is becoming a favourite of mine The Old Lady Who Lives in a Vinegar Bottle which is retold by Margaret Read Macdonald a folklorist and children’s librarian who is also a touring storyteller.61bywj43xsl__sl500_aa240_It’s a story that I have told the most times and for that reason gets better every time I tell it. I told the story using a few pictures. The children enjoyed it for several reasons; it’s very simple and repetitive, they have an active and speaking part in it and they like that the houses get bigger and grander as the old lady moves up in the world. It’s included in Margaret Read MacDonald’s book The Storyteller’s Start-Up Book which offers basic start-up information on finding stories, looking at them critically and starting a story bank. It is also published in paperback illustrated in India ink and watercolour by Nancy Dunaway Fowlkes. Afterwards I we looked at  The Fisherman and His Wife by Brothers Grimm. 61xxrupanbl__sl500_aa240_I used a very colourful version retold by Rachel Isadora. It has the same story line as The Old Lady Who Lives in a Vinegar Bottle. However it is a fish which grants the wishes to a man whose wife demands that he wish for even greater homes. You can find several copies of the story on the internet. I’ve found one here with simple illustrations if children want to read it online. However if you want a book I would suggest the one by Rachel Isadora or it is included in Eric Carle’s Treasury of Classic Stories for Children.img_4277

To follow up we did a very simple activity. The children picked a photo from a magazine of a house and then a photo of a person to live in it. They could then make up their own story about the picture. img_4275They also drew stars, fishes, fairies and birthday cakes with candles to end the wishing storytelling session. img_4274

A great art activity for The Fisherman and his Wife would be to make fish out of different coloured tissue paper. For inspiration use Eric Carle and Rachel Isadora illustrations.trainbowfishOn Monday 26th January it’s Chinese New Year. In my next session in the library I will take the opportunity to tell a folktale of how the animals wanted the New Year named after it and also one of my favourite stories, Shen and the Magic Paintbrush.