Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

In November I told Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback to my group of children in the library in Sant Pol de Mar, Barcelona.

As well as enjoying the great story and learning the names of all the different clothing, we had a great time dressing up and singing the traditional song with the help of Anna Ginesta.

After all the singing and storytelling the children illustrated the story. This picture is by Carla

This one by Max

This one by Elliot

This one by Yaser

And finally this one by Naüja

And here is an animated excerpt from the video based on the book. The DVD is produced by Weston Woods/Scholastic, narrated by Rob Reiner and has a score that features authentic klezmer music.




A Squash and a Squeeze

This month various schools have chosen this story and I’ve had a great time telling it. It is Julia Donaldson’s hilarious rhyming version of the Jewish European folk tale.

A little old lady is living by herself in a sparsely furnished house, yet she grumbles and grouses that she doesn’t have enough room. A wise old man hears her complaining and moaning and, when she asks him for advice, he devises a novel way to teach the old woman the value of what she has. He encourages her to bring her animals into the house, one by one – first her hen, then her goat, followed by the pig and then finally, her cow – and merry mayhem ensues. When she reaches the end of her tether, the wise old man tells her to turf all the animals out. Once they have all left, she realises her house is not quite as small as she thought it was. This story provides a very good framework for introducing the concept of appreciating what you have in a fun and imaginative way. Vocabulary includes farm animals and household objects. Below is the version written and sung by Julia Donaldson herself.

The Smartest Giant in Town

Here I am in Tordera telling The Smartest Giant in Town. It was the first storytelling event in English to take place at the library. Many thanks to Sílvia who made it happen and all the children and parents who came.  Let’s hope it’s the first of many!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This year I have started my storytelling in schools with a classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book was first published in 1969. It has won many awards and has been translated into more than 30 different languages, from Swahili to Catalan. The perfect tool for teaching the story includes counting, the names of the days of the week, different foods and the concept of the metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. This book is a must have in every school classroom and library.

Resources for The Smartest Giant in Town

Here is a great audio version of The Smartest Giant in Town read by two fantastic English actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter.

And here is a great lesson plan from the British Council which includes flashcards and exercises.