Foxy Fairy Tales!

magazine subscriptions for kids, foxy fairytales, fox stories, fictional foxes, best bedtime stories, kids magazine subscriptionsIt’s well established that wolves got a bum deal in the fairy-tale world (we’re looking at you, Big Bad Wolf), but if there’s one stereotyped anthropomorphic animal I always feel a little sorry for it’s the wolf’s close relative, the fox.

Cunning, sly, wily, sometimes cruel, sometimes charming (but ultimately to satisfy its own needs), the fox hasn’t got much love in the world of stories. Even Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox is a trickster but, admittedly, one whom we all root for.

We’ve featured many fox stories in Storytime and we have The Sly Fox as the star of our latest cover (with illustrations by the brilliant Louis D Wiyono). In this classic fairy tale, the fox becomes obsessed by the thought of the tasty little chicken who keeps outwitting him, so he sets out to catch her and eat her once and for all. There are variants of this story all over the world.

What we particularly love about it is the energetic manner in which the fox catches the chicken (high-speed tail whirling no less) and the smart way in which the hen gets her revenge – always carry scissors, thread and a needle, folks!

kids magazine subscriptions, foxy fairytales, gift subscriptions for kids, magazines for kids, christmas gift ideas, bedtime stories, fables for kids

The Sly Fox puts his victim in a spin in Storytime Issue 37’s Favourite Fairy Tale, with art by Louis D Wiyono

It’s likely that the wily fox figure so dominant in Western children’s literature has its roots not just in the fables of Aesop, but another foxy trickster called Reynard who first appeared in the Middle Ages, and starred in stories in France, Holland, Germany and England. Further east, there are numerous fox tricksters, including Kuma Lisa in Russia and Bulgaria and the wonderful Kitsune fox spirits of Japan.

We thought it would be fun have a look at some of our favourite foxy fairy tales and fables to see just how many similarities there are. Schools or teachers who are looking at fox stories should find this round-up interesting (and subscribing schools can download our free Sly Fox resource pack – find out more here.)

Fabulous Foxy Fairy Tales

 

1. Greedy Foxes

magazine subscriptions for kids, foxy fairy tales, fairytales, foxes in fiction, storytime magazine, fables for kids

A gorgeous Greedy Fox from Storytime Issue 15, illustrated by Axelle Vanhoof

Like foxes in real life, scavenging for survival, the greedy or hungry fox features heavily in the literary world. Perhaps the first greedy fox that most children meet is the one who finishes off that edible rebel, The Gingerbread Man, who featured in Storytime Issue 2. Having charmed the little fellow into crossing the river on his back, the fox proceeds to scoff him bit by soggy bit. Another fantastic charmer appears in the fable The Fox and the Crow in Storytime Issue 5. This time, he flatters an attention-starved crow into dropping a tasty morsel of cheese. Finally, in our Storytime Issue 15 fable, The Greedy Fox, a fox’s eyes are bigger than its belly. This fox pays for its greed, but lives to feast another day.

 

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, foxy fairy tales, fictional foxes

A cunning fox for The Fox and the Goat fable in Storytime Issue 30. Art by Bruno Nunes.

2. Sly Foxes
As well as The Sly Fox in our latest edition of Storytime, there’s also the opportunistic fox that appears at the end of Henny Penny in Storytime Issue 19. (This story is also known as Chicken Licken and Chicken Little.) The fox craftily lures Henny and her trail of feathered friends into its den, promising that it’s a shortcut to the Queen’s house! In many versions of the story, fox and family gobble most of them up. In our version, he wasn’t successful and the bird brains get away. The fox in our Storytime Issue 30 fable, The Goat and the Fox, is another cunning creature, tricking an unwitting goat into jumping down a well with him, so he can use the goat as a means of escape.

 

3. Outfoxed Foxes

magazine subscriptions for kids, gift subscriptions for kids, storytime magazine, foxy fairy tales

The Fox gets outwitted by a cat in Storytime Issue 25. Illustrations by Francesco Zito.

Brer Fox traditionally plays the antagonist in the Brer Rabbit stories and, though he tries to be smart, he invariably gets outwitted by the cantankerous bunny. He certainly does in our Storytime Issue 19 story, when Brer Rabbit decimates his vegetable garden. In Storytime Issue 25, our fable The Fox and the Cat also demonstrates that foxes don’t always win. On this occasion, the fox who boasts about his intelligence is made to look a fool by a cat. And in another fable, The Fox and the Grapes (which we’ve yet to feature), after much effort, a fox is forced to give up on a tasty snack of grapes, claiming that he didn’t want them anyway. Cognitive dissonance replaces cunning.

 

Okay, so that’s a lot of sly or greedy foxes. A skulk you could say (probably my favourite of the collective nouns for foxes). We tried to redress the balance a bit with the gorgeous fairy tale The Fantastic Fox in Storytime Issue 23, in which the fox is actually the wise sidekick and facilitator of the main protagonist’s success, but it’s probably about time we included a story where the fox character fits none of the usual stereotypes, isn’t it? We’ll see what we can do about that.

What are your favourite foxes in literature? Picture books and novels too? Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We always love to hear from you.

 

Wishing you a wily week!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Illustrator Interview: Luke Flowers

Illustrator Interview: Luke Flowers, storytime, magazines for kids, kids magazine, magazine subscriptions for kids, gift subscriptions for kids, gift ideas for kids, christmas gifts for kids Storytime Issue 37 has been out for a week now and we’re still celebrating – it’s our 3rd Anniversary Issue, after all! If that’s not an excuse for cake and party poppers, we’re not sure what is…

Luke Flowers, Storytime magazine, magazine subscriptions for kids, xmas gifts for kids

Luke Flowers – our first port of call for brining the Trianti to life!

Plus, we’ve already had loads of fantastic entries for our Children’s Art Competition! (Have your creative kiddos entered yet? All they have to do is draw their own imaginary creature. Find out more here!)

When we were planning the competition, we decided to make it inspired by the weird creature in the wacky poem The Triantiwontigongolope by CJ Dennis. For the art, US-based illustrator Luke Flowers was the first person who sprang to mind.

We’ve collaborated with Luke on a couple of stories already (The Wind and the Sun in Storytime Issue 12 and Henny Penny in Storytime Issue 19) and he always brings something super-special to his work.

In fact, everything Luke turns his hand to is bursting with life, energy, careful thought, gorgeous detail, vibrant colour and a healthy measure of off-the-wall craziness. Luke was the perfect fit for The Triantiwontigongolope, so we were over the moon when he came on board.

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime, magazines for kids, bedtime stories, art competition, drawing competition, illustration competition, kids drawing tips

Download our Awesome Art Pack and enter our competition today!

Even more so when he agreed to not only judge our art competition (kids, Luke Flowers will see your work!), but to put together a fantastic step-by-step guide to creating a Triantiwontigongolope in his style.

It’s part of our Awesome Art Pack, which is full of top tips and fun exercises for kids who love art and illustration – and it includes our competition entry form. Make sure you download it here!

As Luke is such an integral (and welcome) part of our 3rd Anniversary Issue, we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate his work and find out what wild magic he’s using to make him so very good at what he does…

We think you’ll be inspired!

 

Illustrator Interview: 12 Questions with Luke Flowers

 

kids magazine subscriptions, art competition, magazines for kids, Illustrator Interview: Luke Flowers

Awesome illustrator and Storytime art competition judge, Luke Flowers

1. We know you’ve always been arty, but what drew you to illustrating for kids? How did you get started?

I’ve always been drawn to whimsical, playful stories. The first book I can remember loving was The Monster at the End of This Book (a Little Golden Book with Grover) and being so intrigued by the way a story kept you wondering what would happen next with each page you turned. I remember in 2nd grade really wishing I could illustrate books because I loved how the words and images worked together to pull you into the story.

I first got started in illustrating for kids when I started doing editorial illustrations for several kids’ magazines back in 2010, but I didn’t actually start illustrating children’s books until 2013. So it was a long journey to finally get to be able to do what I’ve dreamt of since I was a 2nd grader.

 

2. Do you have any favourite creatives who have influenced your work?

Kids magazine subscriptions, gift ideas for kids, christmas gift subscriptions, Luke Flowers, Storytime magazine

A selection of Luke’s amazing creative work

Shel Silverstein, Jim Henson, Walt Disney and Roald Dahl were HUGE influences growing up (and still are today), because I loved the way they brought a message of hope in the midst of the wacky worlds they crafted. Whether it was through a poem, story, film, or a television show. I wanted to be part of inspiring kids to see the fun and joy of the world through a variety of creative expressions. Jim Henson was probably the biggest influence because I was so inspired by the way he used so many forms of art to tell his stories and he truly seemed to live out what he was telling in his stories. His message of dreaming big and following those dreams and loving others on that adventure has always stuck with me on my own creative journey.

 

3. How do you keep the mojo going when you’re busy? Do you have any top tips for creatives who are juggling full-time work with illustration jobs?

Having a list of dream personal projects or types of work I want to pursue always helps me stay motivated knowing that there is some new avenue of creativity to explore and expand into. That list is longer than my life may ever allow for, but it’s always inspiring to reach those milestones and see how new doors are opened along the way.

I find so much of my daily inspiration by connecting with fellow creatives, whether through social media, email or phone conversations. Because I work alone in my creative cave, I feel like this allows me to have ‘co-workers’ because we all are striving for the same goals and facing the same challenges, so we cheer one another on.

Music is also one of the main ways I keep myself focused and inspired. I collect all kinds of film soundtracks that I go through to set the mood for a certain type of work. I really love Synthwave bands, and found sound type bands (The Books, Pogo, Wax Tailor) to set a mood of creativity for the day. I also really enjoy listening to audio books, mainly biographies. The Jim Henson Biography (by Brian Jay Jones) is constantly on repeat.

kids magazine subscriptions, Illustrator Interview: Luke Flowers, christmas gift subscriptions, xmas gift subscriptions, xmas gift ideas of kids, kids christmas gift ideas, magazines for kids

Luke’s work for Storytime’s fairy tale, Henny Penny (Issue 19) left our readers grinning from ear to ear

4. What has been your biggest illustration challenge to date?

Illustrating over 36 children’s books in just under four years has been a marathon of creativity that has gone far beyond all my expectations. I’m so grateful for each opportunity to work with such a wide range of talented creatives and publishers that have inspired me each step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and fellow creative friends cheering me on and inspiring me with their work too.

 

5. What would be your favourite fairy tale to illustrate?

I have always loved Alice in Wonderland because it is so full of wildly imaginative characters and there are so many wonderful interpretations of that story. I’d love to give my own twist to it. Though one of my all time favorite stories is The Musicians of Bremen (Brothers Grimm) because, growing up on a farm, I always imagined the animals having adventures like that. One of my all-time favourite illustrators J.P. Miller did what I believe is the best take on that tale, so I’d have big shoes to fill if I ever took a stab at illustrating it myself.

 

6. We’ve been so lucky to work with you on several stories now, including The Triantiwontigongolope. How do you create such vibrant characters?

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime, bedtime stories, christmas gifts for kids, christmas gift subscriptions, kids gift ideas, Luke Flowers

A glorious illustration by Luke for Storytime Issue 12’s Wind and the Sun fable

I’ve been SO LUCKY to have the opportunity to work with you all, and bring such fun stories to life. So thank you for those creative adventures to share with the readers.

I always start with research, looking through my library of new and old children’s books just to get the creative wheels spinning. This is also a great way to start thinking about the colors that will fit the story and characters of the assigment. Then I go right to sketching out various ways of crafting the characters with shape exploration and details like wardrobe or props. I do colour explorations and, because I work fully digital, I can quickly change up the colours to see what works best. From there it is just diving fully into the illustration with shapes, adding texture with brushes, and then lighting the scene and adding the final details.

 

magazine subscriptions for kids, Storytime magazine, bedtime stories, kids art competition

The second book in Luke’s Moby Shinobi brilliant series for Scholastic.

7. Are there any favourite projects you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Creating my first author/illustrator book series with Scholastic. I remember absolutely treasuring that stack of books, which would arrive each month when I was able to order them as a kid. So to have the opportunity to not only illustrate a book for Scholastic but a series has been a lifelong dream come true for me.

The book series is called Moby Shinobi, about a helpful ninja kid who visits various job sites to offer his helpful ninja skills. He realises (after making several mistakes) that ninja skills don’t always fit every job. But in the end an emergency occurs that truly requires a certain ninja skill and he is able to help out in his own unique way.

Ninja on the Farm was the debut book, and has sold over 150,000 copies since its release in December 2016. Ninja in the Kitchen (book 2) was just released in July and Ninja in the Pet Shop comes out in December 2017. We have two more books scheduled for this series, and hopefully many more! You can read the full story of how this series started and came together on my blog here.

(Buy these titles direct from Scholastic or download Kindle editions from Amazon UK ~ Ed.)

 

8. Is there any work you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to point to?

Luke Flowers, Storytime, storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, Christmas gift subscriptions for kids

Luke’s Labyrinth A to Z, which now hangs proudly in the Jim Henson Company offices!

Other than the Moby Shinobi book series, I’m also proud of the personal work I get to do for gallery shows each year. Gallery shows are a fun way to explore my own personal work style, while paying tribute to some of my favorite films, shows and book characters.

I do one or two gallery shows each month with several galleries in Los Angeles. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with several studios and companies through them, like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and, best of all, The Jim Henson Company!

I created an alphabet poster to pay tribute to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth on its 30th anniversary, and that piece was a big hit, which connected me with the team at Boom! Comics, who were putting together a book of tribute art. That opportunity also led me to connect with Lisa Henson (Jim Henson’s daughter, and CEO of the Jim Henson Co.), and now a print of that piece hangs at the studio!

 

9. What’s your preferred creative medium and why?

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, christmas gift ideas, christmas gift subscriptions, bedtime stories, best magazines for kids

More dynamic Moby Shinobi scribblings from Luke!

I prefer digital for several reasons. I love the variety of brushes you can quickly explore and implement, and the unique challenge of trying to create work that the viewer can’t figure out if it’s traditional or digital. I also love the way it allows for a more streamlined process with clients – making changes and giving them a variety of digital assets to use for promotion and publication. And, of course, the undo key is quite nice for a fella who makes a lot of mistakes in the creative process!

 

10. If you could work in any location in the world, where would it be?

I’d love to work with a studio in California on a film or show at some point. Working for the Jim Henson Company or Walt Disney Animation Studio has been a lifelong dream so if that ever happened that would be a big milestone. I really enjoy visiting New York and all the incredible publishers and fellow creatives there. Every time I visit I feel deeply inspired and would love to spend a whole month just working there and visiting with fellow creative friends.

Of course I’d LOVE to visit London so I could come visit the Storytime team. I’ve dreamt of spending a whole season there, just creating and soaking in the inspiration of all the history of great art that has and is being created there!

(You are welcome at the Storytime Studio any time, Luke! ~ Ed.)

 

11. What would be your dream project or are there any different areas you’d like to explore?

I’ve recently started working on a Little Golden Book series with Nickelodeon for their television show, Rusty Rivets. I’ve always wanted to work with Little Golden Books, but I would also like to work with other properties like Walt Disney or Jim Henson Co. doing Little Golden Book variations of their stories.

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, Luke Flowers

Luke’s series of Rusty Rivets titles for Little Golden Books

I also want to do more puppeteering work. I recently had the opportunity to work on a pitch video for a show with my friend Joey Ellis. Joey created a world called Leaky Timbers, about a little monster named Wolfie, and his crazy adventures. I played the part of Roy, Wolfie’s older brother. It was such a great experience to learn from Joey about puppeteering and help him bring that world to life. You can see the video and more of the story here. I hope we can do more with that in the future.

One of my main goals for the next few years is to create more of my own author/illustrator children’s book. I’m working on developing and pitching those in 2018. I have several stories I’m really excited about and one that I may even develop into a graphic novel or television show pitch.

The one I’m most excited about though is a chapter book series that my daughter, Lydia (11 years old) and I are writing together. We hope to pitch that book series sometime in the next year and I would be so thrilled to be able to pursue that dream with her more in the years ahead.

 

kid magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, Luke Flowers, Storytime magazine, Christmas gift ideas for kids, xmas gift ideas for kids, Christmas gift subscriptions

Full of life and colour – a classic Luke Flowers illustration

12. Is there any advice you can give to children (or aspiring illustrators) who want to get into illustration?

I always say you should reach out to someone who is five miles down the road you want to travel, but be sure you are always reaching back to help someone who is five miles behind you on that same road.

Basically be connecting with someone who is doing what you want to do and inspiring you through their work, but be sure you are sharing your work and helping to inspire someone who may be on that same path and looking for some guidance, encouragement and inspiration.

I would not have been able to reach any of the milestones on my creative journey had I not had friends helping me along the way and sharing their experience, encouragement and work that inspired me.

 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, that’s an utterly lovely note to end on and what a great motto for life!

Luke’s words have really inspired our creative process and we’re sure you feel the same. You can follow Luke on both Twitter and Instagram for more inspiration and good vibes. Remember, if you have creative kiddos, don’t miss the chance to enter our Art Competition – they could see their work in print in Storytime!

 

Stay inspired and keep reading stories!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

3rd Anniversary Art Competition!

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime, magazines for kids, magazine subscriptions for kids, bedtime stories, art competition, kids art, children's illustration

Wow! Where did that three years go? Yes, our latest Issue 37 marks the 3rd anniversary of launching Storytime. It was an act of love, madness and bravery, and we’re so grateful that you – our loyal and lovely readers – took it to heart and embraced it with such enthusiasm. Thanks to you, we’re still here today – and thriving against the odds in a plastic toy and ad-saturated children’s magazine market. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We promise many more wonderful stories, poems and gorgeous illustrations to come (plus all those lovely extras like free downloads, puzzles, crafts and games). Speaking of illustrations, to celebrate our 3rd anniversary, we’ve got a wonderful children’s art competition. Read more about it below!

First, we’d like to honour Storytime Issue 37’s contributors, who help make our magazine what it is (and give a sneak peek to anyone who is thinking of subscribing).

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime, magazines for kids, magazine subscriptions for kids, UK's only story magazine

A sneak peek at the stories in Storytime Magazine Issue 37!

magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime, magazine for kids, bedtime stories, poems for kids, poetry for kids

The Triantiwontigongolope, as imagined by Luke Flowers!

We’re delighted to have the brilliant Luke Flowers back in Storytime’s anniversary issue, this time with his off-the-wall crazy illustration of that most elusive of beasts – The Triantiwontigongolope – a funny poem by CJ Dennis. We are also very honoured to have Luke as the judge of our imaginary creature art competition – again, more on that below!

Brother Pig is the ideal story to read to kids who are, ahem, reluctant to use soap and water. Parents will appreciate this funny tale and the whole family will enjoy the illustrations by Charlotte Cooke. She’s captured scruffy Dougal perfectly.

For this issue’s myth, we revisit King Midas. The Midas Touch appeared in Storytime Issue 8 (which you can buy from our Back Issue Shop), but did you know that his story continued? The King with Donkey Ears is as funny as it sounds and Mathieu Strale‘s pictures are sure to raise a laugh or two.

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime, bedtime stories, stories for kids

Anna Gensler’s fabulous illustration for Miss Beck’s Spectacular Spec, a story by author Amanda Brandon.

Our brand new story, Miss Beck’s Spectacular Specs, is by children’s author Amanda Brandon. Amanda has been writing stories since childhood, and has published three fabulous books about a sheep who loves knitting. The story is illustrated by Anna Gensler, who has done a fantastic job of imagining Miss Beck’s world and the schoolchildren who help her.

This month’s cover and Favourite Fairy Tale is The Sly Fox – a really enjoyable baddie who gets what he deserves. Kids will take pleasure in booing him and cheering on the little red hen who outwits him. Rich, colourful and characterful illustrations are courtesy of Louis D. Wiyono.

Our fable, The Moving Mountain, brings to life the old saying “don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill” in an amusing way and it has lovely illustrations by Michaela Schuett

kids magazine subscription, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime, art competition, Portuguese folk tale

An eagle causes trouble in a tale from Portugal. Art by Giulia Baratella.

We have an interesting Around the World Tale from Portugal, called The Best Kind of Trouble. In it, a princess has to make a simple decision – would she prefer trouble when she’s young or trouble when she’s old? Her answer throws her life into chaos, thanks to a cantankerous golden eagle. The story has a fairy-tale feel to it and we think you’ll love Giulia Baratella‘s gorgeous illustrations.

Finally, our on-going animal poetry series Alphabet Zoo is back with more amazing artwork by Tim Budgen. This month’s visit to see Boo and Bonnie at Grandad’s zoo focuses on animals beginning with the letter L – the lemur, the loris and, of course, lions. Roar! Don’t forget to download your free Animal Factsheet and Poster to go with this issue here.

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime, magazines for kids, bedtime stories, art competition, drawing competition, illustration competition, kids drawing tips

Download our Awesome Art Pack for tips, techniques and our entry form!

That brings us to our special 3rd anniversary illustration competition. We’re asking our readers, aged 3 to 9, to invent and draw an imaginary creature, inspired by Luke Flowers’ Triantiwontigongolope! The winner will have their work published in Storytime, get a print of their illustration, a certificate AND a bundle of illustrated books!

To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve put together an Awesome Art Pack for you to download – it’s packed with fun exercises, top tips and even a step-by-step drawing guide from Luke Flowers! In the pack, you’ll also find an entry form (or you can use the one in our magazine). Download it here!

 

Our rules are simple:

• You must be aged 3 to 9.
• Your imaginary animal must be original.
• Your drawing must be coloured in.
• Email your entry to hello@storytimemagazine.com by Friday 10 November 2017.

 

That’s it! We hope you have a lot of fun doodling and drawing your creature. We can’t wait to see your entries and hope you enjoy our anniversary issue. Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

 

Happy reading and drawing!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Illustrator Interview: Tim Budgen

kids magazine subscription, magazine subscriptions for kids, childrens magazines, magazines for kids, stories for kids, poems for kids, bedtime stories, storytime magazine, Alphabet Zoo

Animal Fair – Tim’s first illustration for Storytime, back in Issue 11.

Back in January 2017, we launched something new in Storytime Issue 29 – a continuing series of poems called Alphabet Zoo. Every month, Storytime readers get a VIP pass to meet animals beginning with different letters of the alphabet.

When we started developing the series, we had one illustrator in mind: Tim Budgen. Tim had previously illustrated a poem called Animal Fair for us (in Storytime Issue 11) and had wowed us with a lion in hair curlers and a sky-diving flamingo (right), so we knew he was the man for the job. We were delighted when he agreed to collaborate with us.

We’ve been toying with the idea of doing an illustrator interview for some time, and who better to start with than a man who can cockatoo and kangaroo with the best of them? Without further ado, escaped from the zoo… get ready to be enlightened and inspired.

Illustrator Interview: 15 Questions with Tim Budgen

 

illustrator interview, tim budgen, storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, stories for kids

Illustrator/Alphabet Zoo Keeper, Tim Budgen

1. As well as illustrating for children, you’ve also worked as an art teacher. How has your teaching practice informed your illustration work?

That’s right, up until this summer I have been teaching art from Year 3 (8 year olds) all the way up to Year 11 (16 yr olds). After 18 years of teaching, I finally decided to take a different career path and be a full-time professional illustrator, but more of that later. Spending time with children of all ages has certainly given me a good understanding of their humour and silliness, and an opportunity to put this into my drawings. The younger children were also useful as a test audience. Many times I have shown them illustrations and have asked them what they thought!

 

2. How did kids at school react to having an illustrator as their teacher?

They loved the idea that their teacher had created books they were able to buy. They were also always keen to see sneak peeks of work that hadn’t been published yet! This had a knock-on effect and many took up drawing and began to illustrate their own stories. It also showed them that people can make a living from art and that they could pursue a career in that field if they chose to do so.

 

3. What drew you to illustrating for kids? How did you get started?

magazine subscriptions for kids, Tim Budgen, Storytime magazine, illustrator interview

A very awesome Annie by Tim Budgen

I’m very lucky that illustrating runs in the family. My great grandfather used to illustrate for the Daily Express and was an artist in his own right. Fortunately, he was able to pass some of that talent down to me! Although I’ve always enjoyed drawing and illustrating, teaching took up a lot of time – I was always teaching others rather than actually doing art for myself. It wasn’t until I came across an online children’s book illustration course that I thought I could do it as a hobby in between terms. So, in the summer of 2012, I started the course. Believe it or not I completed it using ProMarker felt pens! When I finished the course, I continued to build my portfolio and decided that this was something I wanted to eventually do full time. The first book I bought was the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook – a brilliant book that guides you through everything you need to know about the children’s book industry.

 

4. Do you have any favourite artists or illustrators who have influenced your work? What or who is your biggest inspiration?

I was fortunate to have parents who realised the importance of reading from an early age. I also had my grandfather’s books, which I would spend hours reading. My favourite artists are Richard Scarry, Axel Scheffler and, of course, Quentin Blake – three artists with very different styles, but have always stuck with me.

 

storytime magazine, Tim Budgen, Illustrator Interview, magazine subscriptions for kid, stories for kids, bedtime stories, animal poems, alphabet poems

Some lovely recent work by Tim – we love the Ice Ice Baby number plate!

5. Juggling teaching with illustration work must have been tough. How did you fit it all in and do you have any top tips for creatives in the same position?

I juggled teaching and illustrating for four years. At times it got quite stressful. I spent the evenings and weekends on commissioned work, which I gained through my agent, and continued to build my portfolio. I owe my wife a lot for her continued patience and support! In the summer of 2016, I decided I had enough illustration work to go part time at school. This way, I got my evenings back. This summer, I decided to make the jump to full-time freelance work. I’ve always had great passion and enthusiasm for illustration – it’s something I love and it’s fortunate that I have been able to develop that passion into a career. I cross my fingers that I have made the right decision! There are times, of course, when things become difficult. I guess there are in any profession, but I try and have a healthy balance. I don’t always get it right, I can spend far too many hours working! As for top tips… don’t snack when working!

 

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine

Cinderella cover for Pat-a-Cake Books

6. Your illustrations for Hachette’s new Pat-a-Cake fairy-tale books are adorable. Breathing new life into these much-loved classics can be hard. How did you go about doing it for Cinderella and Goldilocks?

Thank you, I absolutely loved working on both of those titles and hope I get the opportunity to do more with Pat-a-Cake. I always wanted to do something a little different with those books, especially Cinderella. Originally, I had an idea to have a Bollywood theme. Although this didn’t materialise, it was felt that the characters should have different ethnicities to reflect the world of the modern reader. I’m really pleased with how it turned out! (See our competition below!)

Storytime magazine, magazine subscriptions for kids, kids magazine subscriptions,

A new take on Cinderella for Hachette’s Pat-a-Cake books series.

 

7. What’s your favourite fairy tale and is there one you’d love to illustrate?

My favourite fairy tale is Three Little Pigs, although I was always on the side of the wolf and disappointed by how he met his grizzly end! I would love to illustrate my version of that tale, so if there are any publishers reading this please do get in touch (hint, hint)!

 

8. We’ve been so lucky to work with you on our Alphabet Zoo poetry series. How do you go about creating such vibrant animal characters?

I think I’ve been the lucky one! I have loved working on Alphabet Zoo. To develop illustrations for each letter of the alphabet must be a dream for any illustrator. I always try and think like a reader. What would they like to see? I try and create characters that are fun, but also have some warmth about them that connects with the audience. I’m lucky enough to have an art director who pretty much allows me to do what I want, so I try and give the best illustrations I can.

 

kids magazine subscriptions, illustrator interview, storytime magazine, poetry for kids, animal poems

Pink-bottomed baboons in Storytime Issue 30 – Tim’s favourite so far!

9. What’s been your favourite animal to illustrate so far and is there any particular animal we need to get in before we run out of letters?

I think it has to be the yellow baboons in Issue 30. It’s always fun to draw pink bottoms! I have my fingers crossed that there might be an opportunity to illustrate an orang-utan, or maybe a penguin or a polar bear? (We can confirm that all three will be appearing in Alphabet Zoo – Ed.)

 

10. Is there any piece of work you’re particularly proud of?

I think completing my first picture book As Nice as Pie (from Maverick) was a particularly proud moment. If you haven’t read it, it’s about a bunch of hungry but naughty birds and it’s written by the very talented Gary Sheppard. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing my name in print!

 

11. Are there any favourite projects you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

I am working on a couple of projects, but I’m remaining quiet about those just for now. I am also developing a couple of my own stories and I’m keen to see if can further develop the Dr Dolittle character I’ve been working on. See more of Tim’s work on his website.

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, tim budgen, illustrator interview

Doctor Dolittle examines his patients – a personal project by Tim Budgen.


12. What’s your preferred creative medium and why?

When I first started illustrating, all of my work was done with ProMarker felt pens. Since then I have progressed to using Photoshop on a Cintiq. Often publishers like a quick turn around and working digitally means I can correct or change things almost instantly.

 

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, poems for kids, animal poems, animal alphabets, gift subscriptions for kids

Tim’s groovy gorillas rocked Alphabet Zoo in Storytime Issue 34

13. If you could work in any location in the world, where would it be?

Two of my favourite cities are San Francisco and New York in the US. I love the buzz and excitement they both offer, but there is nothing like being at home and, at the moment, that’s on Hayling Island. It’s very beautiful part of the UK and, fortunately for us, often overlooked.

 

14. What would be your dream project?

I would love to write and illustrate my own picture book one day and be able to buy it in any bookshop anywhere in the world. That’s the dream and I hope, one day, I will be able to achieve that. I have a few ideas flowing around in my head – I just need to find the time to put them to paper.

 

kids magazine subscriptions, children's magazines, storytime, Tim Budgen, Illustrator Interview, Alphabet Zoo, kids poetry

Bringing the joy and wonder to children’s illustration – Tim Budgen.

15. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

If you want to achieve anything in life, you have to work hard. With illustration, it’s all about practising and making sure you draw every day or as much as you can. Social media offers great opportunities to get involved with a variety of drawing opportunities. Challenges such as Colour Collective, Sketch Daily and Inktober are great ways to develop your art and share it with others. Equally, never be afraid to ask for help. The joy of social media platforms is that there is always someone willing to help. I get a lot of helpful feedback and support on my Twitter and Instagram pages. Above all, enjoy what you’re doing!

 


Thanks Tim! Great answers from a great illustrator (did you know you can buy his prints here?). We wish Tim every success in his full-time career.

storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears for the Pat-A-Cake series from Hachette Children’s Books

To celebrate Tim’s work, we have a gorgeous bundle of Pat-a-Cake books to give away from the kind people at Hachette Children’s Books, including the two titles illustrated by Tim, plus classics including Ugly Duckling and Jack and the Beanstalk.

To be in with a chance to add these wonderful books to your collection, email us at win@storytimemagazine.com and tell us the name of the poetry series Tim illustrates for Storytime magazine.*

One last thing before we go… we’ve been turning Tim Budgen’s fantastic Alphabet Zoo illustrations into free animal factsheets, activity packs and posters, which you can download with every issue. Get your latest letter J and K factsheets here!

Alphabet Zoo, Tim Budgen, storytime, best magazines for kids, best stories for kids

 

See you next time!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

*We will choose a winner at random from our entries. Closing date for entries: September 8 2017 at midnight. Terms and conditions apply.

Storytime Issue 36 Is Out Now!

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, Storytime Issue 36 is out now, As I write this, it’s pouring with rain – all the more reason to celebrate the fact that Storytime Issue 36 is out now, because it is positively sparkling with sunshine and the perfect antidote to the gloomy British summer we’re enduring.

So save the puddle-jumping for autumn and join us on armchair adventures far and wide, as our summery issue travels to the beach, Hawaii and even to a dragon’s lair! Here’s what’s inside and more about our brilliant contributors.

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime issue 36 is out now, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories

Doris hits the big time! Art by Sebastiaan Van Doninck.

Our cover star is Doris the Singing Cow – a funny new story written by Philippa Rae and illustrated by Sebastiaan Van Doninck, which will bring a smile to the faces of talent show fans everywhere. Readers can follow Doris’s rise to stardom from barnyard to the big time. Writer Philippa Rae has written many children’s stories and poems for BBC Radio, and her stories have been published in anthologies and magazines. Look out this winter for two new illustrated chapter books by Philippa.

For this issue’s fairy tale, The Dragon Queen, we welcome back illustrator Alessandra Fusi, who has previously illustrated Sleeping Beauty (in Storytime Issue 20) and a Norse myth (Sif’s Golden Hair in Storytime Issue 23). This time, Alessandra has tackled rainbow dragons, a flower princess, a daring prince and fantastic foxes.

We hope The Mare’s Egg will make our readers chuckle. It’s a funny folk tale about a family who are fooled into buying a pumpkin in the belief that a foal will hatch out of it. The ending is great and should cause a giggle or two. This story is wonderfully illustrated by Sara Toretta.

kids magazine subscriptions, magazines for kids, storytime magazine, storytime, best bedtime stories, Hawaiian legend

Pele’s in a bad mood! Art by Hanh Dung Ho in Storytime Issue 36

For more summery fun, then pack your bags because we’re off to Hawaii in our latest legend, The Volcano Goddess – and Pele is a fantastic, fiery character. The gorgeous illustrations by Hanh Dung Ho bring to mind Boys Own and Girls Own annuals from years gone by – and a touch of Disney’s Moana.

In our fable, The Golden Galleon, we’re off to the seaside and… is that a pirate ship we spy out at sea? We can’t say much more than that or we’ll ruin the surprise. Art is by illustrator and comic book artist, Martina Naldi.

Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson is a perfect poem for a rainy summer’s day – and it should inspire you to get out the Lego or building blocks and create something fantastic of your own. Our imaginative illustrations are by Guilia Lombardo.

In Tales from the Around the World, we have a stunning story from Estonia, about the origins of the Milky Way.

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for children, Milky Way legend, storytime magazine, storytime

How the Milky Way Came to Be – an Estonian legend in Storytime 36, wih art by Elena Iarussi

It involves birds, gods, a goddess and lots of gorgeous chariots, and it is beautifully illustrated by Elena Iarussi.

And, of course, we have the latest instalment of our Alphabet Zoo poetry series. This month, join Bonnie and Boo at Grandad’s zoo as they visit animals beginning with letters J and K, including a fierce jaguar, an even fiercer komodo dragon, a cute koala and a multi-talented kangaroo. Tim Budgen, who we’ll be interviewing here soon, provides the illustrations.

As ever, there are loads of ideas for extending the story fun throughout the issue, including makes, colouring, puzzles, a game and book recommendations. Storytime Issue 36 is a little slice of summer fun and we hope you enjoy every page!

If there’s anything you’d like to see in Storytime, do let us know Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We hope you enjoy this issue and treasure it too.

 

Happy reading!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

250 Stories for Kids!

Though we have a big celebration coming up in our September issue (3rd anniversary – woo hoo!), as a small and busy business, we don’t often get the chance to step back and review what we’ve done. And our latest Storytime Issue 35 marks the fact that, to date, we have published a mind-boggling 250 stories for kids! Actually, that’s 250 stories and poems, and many more amazing illustrations by some of the most talented illustrators in the world.

We hope you enjoy the celebratory video we’ve made with the help of our fantastic intern, Anaelle Despaux. The illustrations are by Josh Cleland for the poem, The Budgie Likes to Boogie by legendary children’s poet, Brian Moses. It was the cover of last year’s 2nd anniversary issue (which you can pick up here).

Previously, we celebrated reaching 150 stories by picking out some of our favourite stories and illustrations, so we thought we’d do the same for the last 100 stories and poems we’ve published. Here are some of our top picks… for today anyway. It might change tomorrow!

Storytime Magazine’s 250 Stories for Kids – Our Top Picks

 

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, 250 stories for kids

The Selfish Giant in Storytime 28, illustrations by Sebastia Serra.

• From Lu, our art director: “I loved Paco Sordo’s bright and graphic illustrations for The Enormous Turnip in Storyime Issue 29. He added a lot of fun and made it feel modern. How not to like that colourful ending? Plus, I also liked Sebastia Serra‘s illustrations for The Selfish Giant, for similar reasons (in Storytime Issue 28). I was pleased with how the layout and colours embraced the copy. The giant and the kids make me smile and I loved the foliage in the garden too.”

• From Les, our marketing director: “I love the idea of taking an old tale and making it feisty and relevant, so I like what Little Golden Hood represents (from Storytime Issue 32), and I think the message of I Want to be a Pencil Sharpener (written by Eszter Molnar in Storytime Issue 35) is one that many readers will relate to. I certainly relate to it from childhood.

magazine subscriptions for kids, 250 stories for kids, best bedtime stories, Greek myths for kids

Pegasus starred on the cover of Storytime Issue 32, with illustrations by El Gunto.

And I was delighted that we finally had a myth on the cover, so Pegasus with illustrations by El Gunto is my third choice (in Storytime Issue 32).”

• And me… I have so many soft spots, but for characterful illustrations and a gorgeous colour palette (oh, and a fun story) I loved The Reluctant Dragon in Storytime Issue 25. (Illustrations were by Mel Matthews.) I also adored Giorgia Broseghini‘s illustrations for Storytime Issue 34’s White Buffalo Calf Woman, and the precision and imagination in Marko Renko‘s illustrations for Stanley and the Rampaging Robot – a fantastic tale in Storytime Issue 32 from Stan Byford. Working with new writers has been a delight this year.

So robots, Sioux legends, giants, school children, a flying horse, turnips, dragons and fairy tale heroines… a nice selection here and a great taster of what Storytime is all about.

kids magazine subscriptions, The Reluctant Dragon, best bedtime stories, Storytime, magazine for kids

One of Mel Matthews’ illustrations for Storytime Issue 25’s The Reluctant Dragon.

We’ll keep mixing things up, and we’ll keep striving to deliver excellent stories, poems and illustrations. We can’t believe we’re at 250 stories for kids already!

We’d love to hear what your favourites are – and why – and what you’d like to see more of in Storytime. Get in contact on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and let us know.

 

Have a great story-filled week!
 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories, enormous turnip, fairytales, 250 stories for kids

A colourful scene by Paco Sordo for Storytime 29’s The Enormous Turnip.

Little Heroes for Little Readers

kids magazine subscriptions, tom thumb resource pack, teaching resource, storytiime magazine, subscriptions for kids, little heroes for little readersTom Thumb is our teeny-tiny cover star for Storytime Issue 35 and we have a fantastic Tom Thumb Resource Pack to give away too – get it below!

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, tom thumb resource pack, little heroes for little readers, fairytales

Thumbelina in Storytime Issue 17, illustrated by Line Paquet.

Alongside Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen (see Storytime Issue 17), Tom Thumb is probably one of the world’s best known diminutive fictional heroes. Or, at least, different versions of Tom Thumb are well known, because this plucky little character exists in cultures all over the world and has been around for over 400 years.

In Japan, there’s Issun-Boshi, the Inch-High Samurai. In France, there’s Hop o’ my Thumb, who beats an ogre. In Germany, from the Brothers Grimm, there’s Thumbling. In Eastern Europe, there’s the Hazelnut Child, who wins a diamond from an African king. There are many more.

Tom Thumb’s character, as a subject of superstition, was first in print in 1579, but he made his fairy-tale debut in 1621. It’s thought that this may have been the first ever printed fairy tale in the UK. Tom stayed small but his popularity grew and his adventures became more and more exciting. In time, he even became a knight in King Arthur’s court.

magazine subscriptions for kids, tom thumb resource pack, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories

Tom Thumb, the tiny star of Storytime Issue 35, illustrated here and top by Emmanuelle Colin.

It’s no surprise that stories with small heroes and heroines should be so popular among children. Kids not only relate to the size of the hero or heroine, they learn valuable lessons in courage, confidence and curiosity. These types of stories say, “Just because you’re small, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve big things.” Kids empathise with the hero’s perils and rejoice in his successes. They see life from the hero’s perspective. It’s empowering stuff for little readers – and fires up their imagination.

Small World Activities

But don’t just read Tom Thumb and Thumbelina – extend the fun with some small world activities to help you see the world through the eyes of our little fictional heroes. Here are some ideas:

 

1. Make a whole world in a shoebox (or a bigger cardboard box if you’re feeling ambitious). You could create a room or landscape from one of our stories or invent an imaginary place with whatever buildings or locations you can dream up. What do Tom or Thumbelina need? Our Tom Thumb Resource Pack features room decorations you can print out and use in your world. Download it here.

2. Play with finger puppets and pretend Tom Thumb and Thumbelina are tackling everyday challenges like climbing a flight of stairs, or trying to get a drink of water or eat an apple. How do they get around these problems? Download our printable finger puppets for Tom Thumb.

3. Get down to floor level and imagine what life is like for a miniature character. It could be Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, a mouse or an ant. What obstacles do they have to face? What are the benefits of being small? Can you write a diary – a day in the life of a miniature creature or hero?

Tom Thumb Resource Pack, Storytime magazine, magazine subscriptions for kids

One of the activities in our Tom Thumb Resource Pack. Free to download!

4. Visit your local library and read other stories with tiny characters. Try The Borrowers by Mary Norton and Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen. Write your own little hero story – or take Tom Thumb on another adventure!

5. Try our activities in our Tom Thumb Resource Pack. Have a go at some pint-sized poetry, rewrite the story using our Tom Thumb storyboards, play our Bigger or Smaller game, spot Tom Thumb hiding in our picture, make a story map, print out our character mask and act out the story, and do some colouring and drawing.

 

This week, instead of thinking big, think small. Short stories, small worlds, tiny heroes and little readers!

 

Let us know if you get up to any of the activities listed here on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If you enjoy our Tom Thumb Resource Pack, download more from our Schools website. Plus, if you’re a teacher, we send out additional packs every month to our school subscribers. Make sure you get yours!

 

Have teeny, tiny fun!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Why Cumulative Stories Are Cool!

storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, old woman and her pig, cumulative stories, chain tales, best bedtime stories, best magazines for kidsOnce upon a time, there was company called Luma and they wanted to publish a wonderful story magazine for children, so they went to the bank and asked for some money, but the bank said, “No. We can’t help you until you’ve found a big magazine distribution company to work with.” So they went to the big magazine distribution company and told them they could only get money from the bank with their help, but the big magazine distribution company said, “No. We can’t help you until you’ve found a good printer.” So they went to a good printer and told them they could only find a big magazine distribution company to work with and get money from the bank with their help, and the printer said…

You get the idea. In this week’s blog, we’re talking about cumulative stories – also known as chain tales. These fun folk tales and rhymes form an important part of the story cannon, and they exist in every culture around the world.

In our latest issue, Storytime 35, we’ve got a classic cumulative story you might remember from your own childhood: The Old Woman and her Pig (with fantastic illustrations by Cristina Yépez). There are variants of this folk tale all over Europe and, though it’s a story you hear less often today, it still goes down brilliantly with kids. Why is that?

Repetition, Humour and Brilliant Endings

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we think it’s down to that magic story ingredient: repetition. Stories with repetition allow children to appreciate the rhythm of a text and anticipate what’s coming next, which makes them feel smart. Even better, it allows them to participate in a meaningful way. But there are more reasons why repetition is important in children’s stories and you can read them here.

Another winning feature of cumulative stories is the humour. As the story gets longer and more convoluted, the list of characters involved usually becomes wackier; and the actions that unfold more surreal. You feel like you’re being led along a safe path of repetition until, suddenly – as in The Old Woman and her Pig – she’s having a chat with a pond or persuading a rope to return to its owner.

But probably the best thing of all about cumulative stories is the ending, when the repetition reaches its climax, followed by a swift and satisfying conclusion. The grand finale is always full of rhythm and great fun to read aloud, but do remember to take a deep breath before you get stuck in! Cumulative stories have their own unique reading style and, if you can relax and get into it, reading them can be an enjoyable experience, which truly engages your child.

So if you loved The Old Woman and her Pig and want to try some more cumulative stories, here are a few gems we recommend:

6 More Cumulative Stories for Children

 

kids magazine subscriptions, magazines for kids, storytime, storytime magazine, old lady who swallowed a fly, cumulative stories, rhymes for kids

There Was an Old Lady… a cumulative rhyme from Storytime Issue 5, illustrated by Irene Dickson

1. The Gingerbread Man – This classic fairytale is so popular with toddlers, and it has many international variants. You’ll find it in Storytime Issue 2.

2. The House that Jack Built – Cumulative rhymes have a long history too – and are still much loved by children. Don’t miss our version in Storytime Issue 16.

3. Henny Penny – Sometimes known as Chicken Little or Chicken Licken, a hen convinces a series of friends that the sky is falling in. Read it in Storytime Issue 19.

4. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly – Another enduringly popular cumulative rhyme, with really fun illustrations in Storytime Issue 5.

5. The Red Mitten – A lovely winter’s tale with adorable animals, which featured in our cosy Christmas Storytime Issue 27.

6. The Enormous Turnip – A much-loved preschool fairy tale from Russia, which featured in Storytime Issue 29.

 

In future, we’d also love to feature Tikki Tikki Tembo – a cumulative story from China about the challenges of giving your child an exceedingly long and ridiculous name. And if you’re looking for a cumulative story in book form, you can do no better than the brilliant Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss.

How do you feel about cumulative stories – do you love or hate reading them? Any top story-reading tips to share with other parents or teachers? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Let’s spread the reading knowledge and love.

 

By the way, we should say that our own cumulative story had a happy ending!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 35 Is Out Now!

kids magazine subscriptions, best bedtime stories, Tom Thumb, Storytime Issue 35, storytime magazineGood things comes in small packages, they say, and we hope when you read Tom Thumb in our new issue you’ll agree. Storytime Issue 35 is out now, with this pint-sized hero looking extremely cute on the cover. Art is by Emmanuelle Colin.

Like Thumbelina (which we featured in Storytime Issue 17), there are versions of the Tom Thumb story all over the world, but we loved the Arthurian finale in this one, and hope children enjoy tiny Tom’s adventures. Schools subscribing to Storytime will receive our free Tom Thumb pack, filled with lesson ideas and activities linked to the story, and all readers can download goodies for our Tom Thumb game in the back of the issue.

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, best kids magazines, old woman and her pig, storytime issue 35, storytime magazine, stories for kids

The Old Woman and her Pig in Storytime Issue 35, illustrated by Cristina Yepez

As usual, the latest issue of Storytime is bursting at the seams with a wide variety of stories and a visual feast of illustration styles – something for everyone! In Storyteller’s Corner, we have a true classic – a story that many parents will have grown up with – The Old Woman and her Pig, with rich and characterful illustrations by Cristina Yepez. We’ll write more about this and the joy of reading chain tales in a future blog.

Our latest fable, The Butterfly and the Rose teaches a lesson about loyalty, and will transport you to a summer garden in full bloom thanks to our illustrations by Fernanda Ribeiro.

More diminutive characters come in our poem The Rainbow Fairies by Lizzie M Hadley. It’s charming, it’s colourful and it has gorgeous illustrations by Anoosha Syed.

kids magazine subscriptions, best bedtime stories, stories for kids, storytime magazine, Jess Pauwels, schools stories, stories about school, Storytime Issue 35

I Want to Be a Pencil Sharpener – story by Eszter Molnar and illustrations by Jess Pauwels

Our newly commissioned story, I Want to Be a Pencil Sharpener, is brought to you by former primary school teacher Eszter Molnar, who has been conjuring up stories since she was a child, but has been taking it more seriously since having children of her own. Do show your support over at her site Maisie’s Reading Corner and on Facebook. Illustrations are by the amazing Jess Pauwels, who has really captured the spirit and humour of this lovely story.

As ever, Alphabet Zoo, illustrated by animal wrangler extraordinaire, Tim Budgen, brings you rhyming magic and mayhem. We’ve reached letters H and I, which means wacky hyenas, wallowing hippos, cool iguanas and a mountaineering ibex. Do not miss our free monthly packs, which you can download here. They come with facts, jokes, puzzles and animal alphabet posters to collect.

Ali’s Dream is our Around the World Tale from Yemen and features a well-known character in the Middle East, Clever Ali – professional fixer of problems. Ali does it in style in this funny story illustrated by Pamela Wehrhahne.

Storytime Issue 35, The Sampo, Finnish myth, Ana Varela, kids magazine subscriptions, mag subscriptions for kids, kids mags, best bedtime stories, myths for kids

An eagle sorceress takes on a Finnish god in The Sampo. Art by Ana Varela

Finally, Storytime Issue 35 has our first Finnish myth all about the incredible Sampo. What it a Sampo? You’ll just have to read the issue to find out, but we can tell you that the story involves gods, a shape-shifting sorceress, a magical furnace and a thrilling battle – all brought to life in wonderful illustrations by Ana Varela. You might recognise Ana’s work from Storytime Issue 14 and our myth Atlanta and the Golden Apples.

There’s more to Storytime than stories, so you can also look forward to activity ideas and suggestions throughout the issue, including puzzles, drawing, colouring, a craft, book recommendations and a bumper prize bundle from Little Tiger Press too! Make sure you enter here. As we say in the issue, we’re all about short stories with big ideas.

 

Happy reading this month – let us know our favourites in Storytime Issue 35 on Twitter or Facebook! We’d love to hear from you.
 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

The Wonderful World of Myths

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, best stories for kids, greek myths, world myths, myths for kids, mythology for kids, storytime magazineWe’re three years into making Storytime now and we’ve built up an abundance of stories of all kinds – our very own library of wonders. In doing so, we’ve realised that it’s not just fairy tales that suffer from ‘safe bet’ syndrome*, it’s myths and legends too.

In the UK’s book publishing industry and education world, most of the emphasis is on learning about or reading Greek myths. Many of them make great stories, and they tie in with curriculum studies of Ancient Greece. We get it.

Norse myths probably come second in exposure, perhaps with thanks to Marvel’s Thor (which we’ve written about here), but public awareness of myths and legends of other great civilisations is horribly lagging behind.

magazine subscriptions for kids, gifts for kids, stories for kids, myths for kids, greek myths, storytime magazine

Is Perseus and Medusa the Jack and the Beanstalk of the myth world? (Art by Phill Hosking)

At school, there may be exposure to the odd Sita and Rama or Egyptian underworld myth, but in the wider world, Theseus and the Minotaur (or Perseus and Medusa) have become the Jack and the Beanstalk of myths, while Pandora is our Cinderella. In short, we keep telling the same stories from just one location over and over again. It’s a bit mad when you think about it.

Stuck in a rut with Greek myths?

I think, just like the world of fairy tales, we’ve got stuck in a rut with exploring, revamping and publishing the same old Greek myths. Do this often enough over the course of a century, and they become the myths that readers know and love best. The myths that readers expect – and even ask for.

It’s for that reason we’ve featured many of Greek mythology’s greatest hits in Storytime so far, but we’ve also been sneaking in some lesser known myths and legends too. Our reason for this is that we don’t want you – our readers – to miss out on truly great stories. Would you really want the same slice of chocolate cake for dessert every day if you could also try chocolate cake supreme?

I suppose the other reason, which we use to justify many of our choices in Storytime (see here), is because we can. And also because, if we don’t, we worry that this ‘safe bet’ approach will just run and run for decades or even centuries to come, and we’ll completely lose interest in myths and legends that aren’t Greek or Norse. We’ll raise generations of kids who’ve never heard of great fictional heroes and heroines from all over the world. We’ll unwittingly place barriers between ourselves and other cultures. We’ll contribute to an end of global thinking – and we definitely don’t want to be part of that.

A world of myths in your hand

kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories, native american folktales

White Buffalo Calf Woman, a Sioux story illustrated by Georgia Broseghini.

In our latest issue, Storytime 34, we feature a wonderful Sioux legend – White Buffalo Calf Woman. When her people are on the brink of starvation, she brings forth the peace pipe and shows them how to use it in rituals and celebrations to save themselves. This story resonates so strongly in Sioux culture that, even today, to see a white buffalo is considered a sacred event. White Buffalo Calf Woman isn’t just a saviour of the people, she’s powerful, terrifying, benevolent and knowledgeable – like the best Greek gods. And probably better than most Greek goddesses, who often end up subjugating themselves or living in sufferance. The stunning illustrations for this legend are by Giorgia Broseghini.

White Buffalo Calf Woman is our kind of legend, but for other lesser known myths and legends in Storytime, you might like to check out these stories (all available from our Back Issue Shop):

The Hero Twins – a Mayan underworld myth in Storytime Issue 4, featuring football and the origin of the sun and the moon.

kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, finn maccool, irish myths, myths for kids

Finn MacCool fights the good fight in Storytime Issue 7. Art by Tim Paul.

Finn MacCool – an Irish legend in Storytime Issue 7 with giants, humour and the origin of the Giant’s Causeway.

The Great GilgameshStorytime Issue 11’s Mesopotamian myth about a deadly beast and the two heroic friends who take it down.

The Queen of Winter – a Scottish legend in Storytime Issue 15 about the origins of spring and how the rule of a cold-hearted queen is put to an end.

The Golden Staff – a dramatic South American myth from Storytime Issue 20 about the founding of the Incan civilisation.

Ra’s Secret Name – an Egyptian myth about how the goddess Isis tricked mighty Ra into revealing his true name and handing over his powers, in Storytime Issue 22.

Ganesha and the Golden Mango – a funny and clever Indian myth, which tells how elephant-headed god Ganesha became so prominent, in Storytime Issue 25.

Momotaro the Peach Boy – a Japanese myth in Storytime Issue 26 about a young boy, born from a peach, who slays an island of ogres.

AND coming up in Storytime Issue 36, we have the story of the goddess Pele, and how she came to rule over the volcanoes of Hawaii. We can’t wait!

Travel through time with us

In combination with our Around the World Tales, which feature a story from a different culture every month, we hope that we are expanding our young readers’ minds and taking them on amazing adventures through time and around the globe. But most of all, we hope we are giving them a taste for more than the usual Greek myths. There’s a wonderful world of myths and legends out there.

Don’t get us wrong, we’ll always have a place for Greek myths in Storytime, but it’s time for us – and everyone else – to make room for myths and legends from other cultures too.

What are your favourite myths and legends? Any we should be featuring? Let me know via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can even drop us a line via Youtube! (Something Neil Gaiman’s Media might appreciate.)

 

Do us a favour, choose a different myth this week,
 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

 

*Read more about our thoughts on fairy tales in the publishing world here, and get some recommendations for fun fairy tales you never knew.