Talking About Emotions

Five stories for talking about emotions!

In a previous blog, we discussed how stories and imagination can provide much-needed escapism in during difficult times. However, stories offer far more than just a distraction – they are an excellent starting point for talking about and dealing with emotions.

Schools teach Physical, Social, and Health Education as part of the curriculum. This includes lessons about keeping healthy and safe, relating to others – and managing our emotional state. Discussing the stories your children read is an excellent way of building PSHE skills – and as current events have proved, being mindful about one’s emotions is vital!

After reading a story with your child, why not ask them what different characters might have been feeling at different points in the story, and why. How they would feel in similar situations, and what they would do? Here are some of the stories featured in Storytime that are particularly appropriate:

Hansel and Gretel

Grimm’s fairy tales often feature children in scary situations, and Hansel and Gretel (which featured in Storytime issue 13) is a classic example. It has fantastical elements (including a witch and a magical gingerbread house) but it also deals with fears that all children deal with, particularly fear of abandonment. It also provides an opportunity to discuss another important issue: being aware of stranger danger.

Tom Thumb

The story of Tom Thumb (told in Storytime issue 35) is one that all kids could identify with. Just like Tom, they live in a world that is too big for them, a world that they do not understand and is full of potential dangers. Tom deals with feelings of fright, abandonment, and not being in control, which would be familiar to all kids. We suggest reading this story with your child and asking them about the bits they really identified with. The story also teaches another lesson: children can learn to deal with the world on their own terms, just like the story’s minuscule hero!

Jack Makes the Princess Laugh

Jack Makes the Princess Laugh (Storytime issue 59) is about a boy who trades the family cow for a magic harp and some performing animals – but we would like to talk about the princess that he wins the heart of! She hadn’t laughed for seven years, and it took a performance by Jack and his animal as well as a bit of dancing magic from his harp to make her laugh three times!

Being sad, grouchy or depressed like the princess is a part of our life, but identifying when we or others are sad and finding ways to get them out of it is vital. We may not have dancing animals or a magic harp like Jack does, but we can use laughter and music to feel better. A favourite comedy show or putting on music and having a good old dance is an excellent cure – and they work even better if you share the experience with someone else!

The Secret Garden

Classic children’s novels are classic for a reason – because they have connected with generations of kids! One that might be especially relevant at the moment is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (We liked it so much, we introduced the first chapter in Storytime issue 10.)

It’s the story of young Mary Lennox who is kept in isolation following an epidemic. She feels lonely, sad, and unwanted by a friendship with the gardener and two young boys. Though it was written a century ago, this story has a lot that children of today might identify with and want to talk about! Mary learns to become a better and kinder person by relating to other people, and that applies as much today as it did then.

Moving Day

For a more recent (and futuristic!) example of a story that might be used to discuss emotions is Moving Day, a story from our latest issue! It’s about a boy named Isaac, who is forced to leave his friends behind when he and his parents go to help colonize Mars. He has to deal with loneliness and boredom on the flight, but after arriving on Mars he makes a new friend in a very unexpected way.

This story is about a very common situation that many children have faced (moving to a new town or country), but its sci-fi setting gives it a fun new twist. After reading the story, why not ask your children about Isaac’s emotions, and whether they can identify with them.

Can you think of any fictional stories that helped you to think about emotions or deal with problems you faced? If so, tell us in the comments!

Storytime Issue 69 Out Now!

 

May of us will be faced with new problems at the moment. Of course, life is all about facing and overcoming our difficulties. The great thing about stories is that they give us new ways to look at the problems we face – and ways of dealing with them!

It just so happens that this month’s issue is packed with stories that we can learn from…

 

Storytime Issue 69 – Help can come from unexpected places!

The War of the Fox and the Wolf is about characters who are facing very different problems. An elderly dog and cat flee their home because their master wants to get rid of them, and a fox has to deal with a mean wolf and his bullying friends. However, when the dog, cat, and fox meet, they come up with a cunning plan. I won’t spoil the ending, but star artist Roger Simó captures all the fun brilliantly!

This Vietnamese prince learns the benefit of hard work in the Watermelon Man

The Watermelon Man is a rather special tale, all the way from Vietnam. Artist Wazza Pink takes us all the way back to the time of ancient kings, when an exiled prince learns how to survive and prosper with the help of a lot of hard work – and some strange black seeds! Perhaps we all need to plant seeds now and work at helping them grow to create a better future?

Moving to a new house is challenge that most of us face at one time or another. In Moving Day, Dilara Karakaş illustrates the story of a boy named Isaac, who has to leave his home and move far away when his parents get new jobs. This story takes a few interesting twists and turns, but Isaac soon discovers that being friendly to everyone you meet is a great way to make a new place feel less lonely.

The poem Who Ate My Socks? looks at a problem that we have all had at one time or another – why does one sock in a pair always go missing? The hero of this tale finds the surprising answer with some diligent investigation, and that is often a good way to find answers to any questions or problems you might have! Check out Carolina Grosa’s lovely artwork which perfectly matches this fun rhyme.

Icelandic princess Ingibjorg (don’t worry, we tell you how to pronounce it in the magazine!) finds herself stranded in the woods when an evil giant steals her feet! Help comes from her childhood beloved pet. While we may not always be able to rely on cats with magical powers to help us in our hour of need, Kisa The Cat does show us how help can sometimes come from the most unexpected places – friends, neighbours, or people you might have known in the past! Sarah-Lisa Hleb brings her unique magic to this fairy tale about a very special friendship.

This poor fly ends up in a sticky situation in our fable – will he escape?

Jing Jing Jia provides the art for this month’s fable, The Fly and the Moth. In this tale, a moth decides not to help a fly in trouble – but gets laughed at in turn when she makes a foolish decision and gets burned! All things being equal, it is best to help people if you can, because you never know when you might need help in return! What is the phrase people use? Pay it forward!.

In the latest episode from Storyland, a visitor get stick in the woods, and the townsfolk get together to help him out. As always, Giorgia Broseghini sprinkles some of her magic dust on the artwork! This tale shows us that it is easier to overcome our problems if we work with others and that a little creativity goes a long way!

Masishasura and Durga is an epic tale from India! The king Masishasura asks the gods for supernatural powers, but when he tries to use them to conquer the world, the gods create a fierce female goddess to defeat him! Do not misuse things others have given you – or you might get in trouble! Bhumika Jangid captures all the excitement with her colourful illustrations.

Of course, the Storytime Playbox is packed with activities, including a maze, an art project, a tasty recipe, and a fun game in which players compete to find a pirate treasure!

What stories have helped you to overcome problems or difficult times? Tell us in the comments!

Storytime Issue 68 Out Now!

 

Many of us will no doubt be feeling a certain desire to change our current situation at the moment – and this happens to be a theme that runs through the tales featured in the latest issue of Storytime!

 

Storytime Issue 68 – I want to break free!

Sometimes it’s animals that want to run wild, and that’s just what happens in The Llama Pyjama Drama. Aided and abetted by a mischievous girl named Maya, a llama named Alan leads a mass breakout that culminates in a mob of llamas knotted in nightclothes – an unlikely situation rendered with artistic flair by Helga Lukas.

Anders has the best hat is the whole wide world – trouble is, everybody else wants it too

Anders’ Red Hat is about a boy whose mother makes him the very best hat in the world, which is so fabulous that it secures him to an invitation to a princess’s tea party at the royal palace. However, it soon becomes clear that everyone – including the princess and the king – have designs on his magnificent chapeau and he must get out! Federica Tanania captures the manic action (and amazing hat) in grand style.

A jackal gets accidentally dyed sky-blue, and discovers a way to get out of the drudgery of scavenging for food by masquerading as a holy being. When the dye comes out in the wash, though, he must escape the vengeance of the animals he has tricked. Sebastian Baculea does a great job rendering the colourful tale of The Blue Jackal!

The story of Kintu and Nambi is something really special – a Ugandan creation myth with fab artwork by the very creative Thiago Amormino. When a goddess falls in love with a mortal man, she leaves heaven to be with him – but the couple must escape the attentions of her brother, the god of disease!

Robert Louis Stevenson is famous as the author of the adventure novel Treasure Island, but not many people know that when he was young, he was often confined to bed by illness and would occupy his time fighting battles and building worlds on the bedspread with his toys. The Land of Counterpane was a poem he wrote about escaping from his sickbed though the power of imagination, and illustrator Ramona Bruno captures it perfectly.

These four tuneful animals thwart a gang of robbers in The Musicians of Bremen.

When four elderly farm animals realise they are no longer useful on the farm, they decide to escape this predicament by going to Bremen and embarking on a career in the music business. An encounter with some superstitious robbers leads to them putting their talents to a better use – and becoming heroes into the bargain! Artist Marine Cazaux breathes new life into the classic tale of The Musicians of Bremen.

The lead character in the ancient tale of Rhodopis the Egyptian Cinderella has more reason to want to break free than most, for she is a slave to a family that ruthlessly exploit her skill at sewing by making her work to all hours. However, her needlework (and a hawk) soon lead to a change in circumstances. Fatima Anaya ably captures the magic of a time long past in her illustrations.

One thing that’s really difficult to escape, it is the pull of gravity. However, that doesn’t stop Storyland residents the Three Little Pigs from trying to do so by scoffing loads of enchanted treats made by Sugar Plum and grazing on magic cloudmallows, they soon discover that flying is no fun for pigs. Sugar Plum’s Sweet Shop features art by the very talented Giorgia Broseghini.

We hope you enjoy escaping with our many adventures in the latest issue. Stay safe and well, from everyone at Storytime!

Worlds of Wonder

 

Recent events have definitely changed our reality. Travel – or even going out of the house for more than essentials – is no longer an option for many of us.

However, there is still a way for us to escape our homes and explore wonderful new places. Stories have always transported us to magical new worlds, and at this time we need them more than ever.

We can also share our journeys by reading to each other, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, video chat is available to most of us on all kinds of devices. Let’s make those journeys together with our kids, grandparents, parents, godparents, aunties and uncles, anyone your love – use this moment to share stories, visit these magical places, and dream of limitless possibilities.

Here are just a few of our favourite worlds to journey to through the magic of books. You can read the first chapters of many of these tales in Storytime – available through our shop: www.storytimemagazine.com/shop. (We have added notes about which issues the stories can be found in after each entry.) Affordable editions of these books can also be found online, in print or ebook format.

Arthurian Britain

The stories of King Arthur and his knights transport us back to mythical Britain, where brave warriors must go on quests that test their strength, their faith, and their honour. These stories at the foundation of British culture – and have excited and enchanted readers for centuries. The stories have been retold many times, but TH White’s The Once and Future King is a clever retelling that captures the spirit of the originals while keeping things fun and engaging for a modern audience.
(You can read about the Lady of the Lake in Storytime issue 28 and Launcelot’s battle with Sir Turquine in issue 67)

Discworld

Discworld is a flat world on top of four giant elephants that stand on the shell of a giant cosmic turtle that swims through space, and as you might expect, it is home to many fantastic creatures. Sir Terry Pratchett wrote 41(!) novels set in this world. They are among the funniest books ever written, and despite taking place on such a wacky place, they have some wise things to say about us human beings and the way we live. The best books for younger readers are the Tiffany Aching novels, about a determined young shepherdess who becomes a witch.

Fantastica

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is about a lonely young boy who discovers a magical book and learns that he has the power to save Fantastica, a land where all stories are real. However, saving the world is only half the battle! After he saves this magic land, Bastian becomes its ruler and can create anything he can imagine – but risks losing himself in the process! One of the most imaginative books ever written, this story does actually come to an end –but people who read it will still be thinking about it for years to come!

The Land of Oz

Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took readers down the Yellow Brick Road and introduced us to a world of witches, bizarre beings and quirky heroes unlike any we had ever seen before. He wrote many more novels set in Oz, and the first volume was, of course, turned into a classic movie. (Storytime issue 2)

Middle Earth

JRR Tolkien lovingly created perhaps the most detailed and beautiful world in all of fiction over many decades, and it is a great place to visit! The Lord of the Rings is of course the greatest fantasy epic of them all, but The Hobbit is the best introduction to his creation. Forget about the films – let Professor Tolkien enchant you with his tale of dragons, battles, and the finding of a very special ring.

Narnia

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most famous of CS Lewis’s books, but he wrote seven stories set in his magic land. These books allow you to tag along with schoolchildren who find themselves transported to a magical world where animals can talk, mythical creatures are real, and a lion named Aslan helps to defend a magic kingdom from evil.
(Storytime issue 13)

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of pirates and plunder on a desert island has thrilled many generations of readers with its tales of derring-do. Tag along with the plucky Jim Hawkins and the roguish Long John Silver as they set out on a voyage into the unknown. Not one to be missed!
(Storytime issue 7)

The Snow Queen’s Palace

Far in the north of Lapland lies a magical frozen castle that is home to the legendary Snow Queen! This classic story by Hans Christian Andersen tells the tale of the pure-hearted Gerda travels to the Snow Queen’s domain to free her friend Kai and encounters many icy dangers and frozen wonders on the way!

Villa Villekulla

This is the house where the heroine of the Pippi Longstocking books lives, and it is a wonderful place to visit. Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi is a very strong, very cheerful, and very determined girl who lives life her own way and doesn’t care what anybody thinks. Her house contains a pet monkey, a stash of gold coins, and fiery-haired Pippi herself. Perhaps she will tell you tales of her father the pirate king, or take you on a wild adventure in the woods? (Storytime Issue 26)

Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are set in a world of endless surprises and playfully illogical characters. Follow the White Rabbit down that hole and leave reality and logic behind as our heroine gets lost in a bizarre new land inhabited by strange beings that love wacky wordplay. (Storytime issue 1)

That is our list of the ten best fictional worlds to escape into. If you read any of these books, please let us know what you and your children thought about them!

What are your favourite books to escape into? Share in a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Storytime Issue 67 Out Now!

 

In this day and age many of us are concerned about how we look– whether we like to admit it or not! Many of the stories in this month’s issue are about how appearances can matter – but also how we shouldn’t necessarily judge a book by its cover! Why not use these stories as a starting point for taking with your child about how appearances can be important, but can also be misleading?

 

Storytime Issue 67 – Should we judge a book by its cover?

‘Not everything is as it seems’ is a theme in dozens of fairy tales, and The Incredible Crow, with spellbinding illustrations by Benedetta Capriotti is a great example. When three sisters meet a talking crow, the eldest two look down on the disreputable-looking bird, while the youngest sees something special in him. Of course, the youngest is proved right in the end, though I won’t tell you quite how!

However, there is a twist in the tale: along the way, the youngest sister has to look for work in the city while dressed in rags. At first she is looked down on but when she gets given fancy new clothes, she discovers that this gets her unwelcome attention of a different sort! Why not read this story and have a discussion about the good and bad sides of dressing up OR dressing down?

Mulan charges into battle to protect her country from invaders in this month’s Storytime

Our cover star of course is Mulan (with epic art by Hana Augustine). This legendary Chinese heroine wanted to protect her family and her country by going to war against invaders but was not permitted to because she was a girl. Her solution? Cut her long hair and putting on her father’s armour!

This story could be an interesting starting point for talking about how we judge people based on their gender or appearance. Why did people assume that Mulan could not be a good warrior because she was a girl, and what was their reaction when they found out that the hero of the war, with the skill and intelligence to help save her country, was female?

The Ape King is a fable about a boastful monkey monarch who orders his subjects put on a grand show to impress visitors to his jungle kingdom – only for one of them to see right through him. With this fun tale (with tropical art by Alessandro Passoli) maybe you could discuss what the Ape King could have done to get the genuine respect of his subjects, rather than just ordering them to bow to him as part of a show?

Everybody likes to choose how they groom themselves – whether they go for style or comfort! But sometimes the style we choose can have serious effects, as Daddy Bear discovers in Daddy Bear’s Hair (with art from the wonderful Giorgia Broseghini). After he wakes up from winter hibernation, he decides to keep his new shaggy coat, even though it frightens his family. Unfortunately, his overlong hair proves too hot and heavy for everyday wear, no matter how he tries to style it!

This story has a lesson for those who stubbornly choose to stick with their fashion choices despite any drawbacks – can you think of anybody like that in your family?

Sir Lancelot’s Quest features the greatest knight of King Arthur’s court going up against a very menacing knight in dark and dented armour. But is this knight actually the ruffian he appears to be? In this case he actually is – showing that sometimes things can be just as they appear! The art by Alejandra Londoño is a particular standout, showing heroes of legend in a fun and funky fashion that would not be out of place in certain popular mobile-phone strategy games!

Edith’s invention get’s the party started! But what is it? Find out in this month’s Storytime

This issue also has a range of other wonderful stories as well – Edith the Inventor (by the inestimable Helly Douglas, art by Sian Roberts) features a plucky young girl using her creative powers to save a science show. Along the way she has to overcome technical problems and self-doubt, but we can all take inspiration from the can-do attitude she uses to deal with them!

The poem The Clothes Line (by Charlotte Druitt Cole, illustrated by Andrea Galecio) makes laundry day fun. How many stories can you think of where a handkerchief is the hero?

Last but certainly not least we have The Singing Seamstress (art by Lenny Wenn). Like it or not, money is a constant concern in the modern world, but when the heroine of this story is given a sudden windfall by a miser, she discovers that cash can also be a curse. A thought-provoking tale to be sure!

And of course, our Playbox is filled to bursting with new activities – including a tricky tactics game where you get to play as Mulan!

We hope you enjoy this latest issue – and hopefully you will agree that this is one magazine that you can judge by its (rather lovely) cover!

More Than Just Words and Pictures

storytime_kids_magazine_blog picture books words and pictures_www.storytimemagazine.com

 

What is an illustrated children’s story? Is it just text with pictures that provide visual interest and encourage readers to continue with the text? Here at Storytime we certainly don’t think of it that way. We see illustrations as bringing new depth and ideas to a story.

It’s a bit like a classic Beatles song: the writer and editor laying down the basic structure – like John Lennon playing the basic chords and singing the lead vocals. The artist and designer then come in like Paul McCartney and George Harrison, playing solos and countermelodies that weave in and out of the main tune while accentuating John’s singing with those irreplaceable ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’. It’s that interaction which adds the magic.

Visual Storytelling

This idea is explored in Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling (2nd edition) by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles (Laurence King Publishing).

This lushly illustrated volume takes an in-depth look at the history of the picture-book, from early woodblock prints to the lush four-colour printing of the present. However, this is more than just a (colourful) history book.

It discusses the way in which picture books use words and pictures to play off against each other. Here at Storytime, we work closely with a large and ever-growing pool of talented international artists who all contribute their own unique visions to the magazine. That’s one of the things that makes working on this magazine such fun – something new and visually stunning arrives in our inboxes almost every day!

Of course, there are some talented people out there who have mastery of both the text and image. Oliver Jeffers, author/illustrator of The Heart and the Bottle among many other classics, puts it this way: ‘I don’t call myself a picture book writer or illustrator. I use the term “picturebook maker”. When writer and illustrator are different people I suppose texts are given to the artist in a fully formed state. But I do both and the two will evolve together.” (We reviewed Jeff’s recent book The Crayons’ Christmas in Issue 64!

Nowadays kids live in a world of ‘on-demand’ TV and social media. Does this make old-fashioned printed children’s stories irrelevant? Not at all!

Visual Literacy

We believe that illustrated books are great at teaching kids ‘visual literacy’ – how to interpret images, and how words and pictures interact. In this increasingly visual multimedia age, text is only one method of presenting information. It is often combined with images, infographics, word clouds, and other graphical elements, and reading storybooks in which text and images tell interweaving stories is not only fun, it helps children learn how to interpret visual information.

An example is given where children read and discuss a scene in Lauren Child’s classic Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? where a character is reading a book with herself on the cover – which is the book that the children themselves are reading! This leads to the children coming up with insightful ideas about what it means if a character is inside a book that the character herself is reading – the sort of sophisticated thinking that is becoming essential in this age of information overload!

When reading Storytime with your children, consider discussing the details of what is going on in the illustrations as well as what is going on in the text – this helps them to explore the possibilities that lie outside of the story itself.

Of course, we in the Storytime team are big fans of modern interactive technology and provide additional material and activities that can be found online and printed out. (Go to https://www.storytimemagazine.com/free-downloads to check out our downloadable content.)

But in the end, no online material can truly replace a lovingly crafted printed product – whether a book or a magazine (like Storytime!) No child can fall asleep hugging their favourite YouTube video channel, but they can do so with a beloved book or magazine! They can be held, cherished, and kept and passed on – loved objects in a time where almost everything is ‘disposable’. We hope that your child’s issues of Storytime are similarly loved, whether they are carefully shelved or scattered across the floor!

Storytime Issue 66 Out Now!

 

If issue 66 of Storytime has a theme running through it, it is that actions have consequences! This is perhaps the most important lesson we must learn in life.

Storytime Issue 66 – Cause and Effect!

Of course, all stories are about consequences – when you get right down to it, what is a story but a sequence of actions and their results, happening one after the other? Some stories are particularly focused on teaching lessons on dealing with the repercussions of one’s actions (that’s what fables are all about!), but any story can serve as a springboard for a discussion. When discussing a story, why not ask your child about what might have happened if a character had taken a different course of action?

Elli gets a big shock when her enchantment wears off, in The Interrupted Wedding

Our first story, Annie McMarvellous, written by the talented Josette Reeves, with fun art by Rayanne Vieira, is about a young magician-in-training who disobeys instructions when practicing a new spell. This leads to the literal disappearance of her mother’s favourite rabbit, and Annie puts considerable effort into making things better again. She serves as a realistic role-model – she makes a mistake (as we all do!) but makes sure to put things right, albeit with unexpected consequences.

Vain Victor, a poem by Clifton Bingham, with art by Inês da Fonseca, is a more conventional fable-type tale: the titular character spends so much time preening in the mirror that he transforms into a peacock! This story could serve as a starting point for a discussion about focusing too much on appearances instead of accomplishments.

The Norwegian folk tale The Interrupted Wedding with brilliant art by Uliana Babenko, ties into this idea as well. When a young maiden receives a marriage proposal from her beau and a beautiful wedding is suddenly prepared, she feels something is wrong – and learns that she has been hoodwinked by the faerie folk called the huldrefolk. Needless to say, not everything is as it appears!

Barracuda Boy, masterfully illustrated by Guille Rancel, is Storytime’s first tale from the island nation of Vanuatu. When two brothers make a friend while swimming in the ocean, they invite him home – but after they feel jealousy about his skill with a bow and arrow, their resentment drives him away, where he transforms into a barracuda. Why not talk about how the brothers acted, and how they wish they would have acted differently at the end of the story?

Rumble-Mumble Goose Egg, brought to life by Louis Wiyono, is an epic story of action and adventure starring a tremendously strong hero with an appetite to match! In some ways this story asks us questions about what it would be like if a mighty hero actually existed – and how much trouble he would make for anyone he worked for! At first the king is pleased to have him at his beck and call – until the hero’s meal bill comes in, and the king is forced to try to get rid of him! Why not read this story and discuss what it might be like if superhuman heroes REALLY existed?.

Greek mythology’s most famous lovers Orpheus and Eurydice star in this classic tale of love lost, found, and lost again.

The Elephants and the Moon is an animal fable set in Africa, beautifully illustrated by Yvonne Campedel. There’s a drought on the Savannah, and the Elephants are hogging the only water-hole! Though this is an old story, it is perhaps more relevant than ever in this time where resources are becoming scarce. Why not have a talk about the consequences of the big and powerful claiming things for themselves, and where this leaves those who are less fortunate (and might not have a cunning hare to help out)?

Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the most powerful love stories of classical mythology, brought to life with stunning artwork courtesy of Valeria Abatzoglu. Orpheus journeys to the underworld to bring back his beloved, but when he disobeys the instructions of Hades, there are heart-breaking consequences. Why not discuss the points at which this tragic tale might have taken another turn?

Our latest Storyland instalment, Gretel and the Secret Cave, illustrated, as always, by the redoubtable Giorgia Broseghini, involves a hunt for a terrifying-sounding monster. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and when the ‘monster’ is found, it is an unexpected hero who saves the day, and the heroic princes are left looking a little foolish. Why not talk with your child about the assumptions the princes made, and how this affected their actions? What is the best way to avoid getting into this kind of situation?

That’s it for this month! I hope you and your little ones enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it! Be sure to share with us on social media – we’d love to hear your thoughts on our latest issue!

Storytime Issue 65 Out Now!

 

Happy New Year, everyone! To welcome in 2020 we have created an issue with something special for everyone – from fairy tale magic and ancient myths to a scientifically-plausible tale of modern-day space adventure! Be sure to let us know which of these stories are your favourites!

Inside Storytime Issue 65

Storytime would like to wish all our readers the very best for the new year – and what better way to celebrate the dawning of a new decade and think about the passage of time and the seasons than with the very season-centric tale The Twelve Months? The Twelve Months tells the tale of what happens when the personifications of the months of the year use their powers to help a poor Czech girl names Maruska, and illustrator Eugene Smolenceva really captures the magic of this classic story.

Meet Carys Williams – the best baker in Wales, who gets two magic wishes. What will she wish for?

We bring Wonderland whimsy to Storyland with the brand-new tale of The Fox and the White Rabbit. Giorgia Broseghini shows what happens when the White Rabbit is menaced by the cunning fox – who will win this battle of wits? This story has a particularly timely message about following one’s instincts and not trusting strangers!

The issue also features a good-natured poem from the perspective of a giant who has given up his child-devouring ways and now helps kids to have fun instead. The Sleepy Giant poem is brought to life by Brian Fitzgerald’s lovely illustrations.

What would happen if you got what you wish for? In The Fairy Borrowing, the artist Giovanni Abeille shows us what happened to a young Welsh girl when she receives wishes from the fairies who borrowed her pots and pans! A folk tale with a funny twist in the end that should make our young readers giggle.

Greed can make us do silly things! In The Wise Parrot, a girl owns a parrot that can apparently find gold – but when a greedy man tries to buy it, he discovers that some things are too good to be true! The colourful, fun illustrations are from the talented Chris Borges.

Storytime goes literally out of this world with our cover story, Mission to the Moon mixing cosmic adventure with scientific fact! It’s our little nod to the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. When Connor goes on a trip to the Space Centre, he couldn’t predict that it would lead to him being recruited by NASA for a very special mission of his own. Geraldine Rodriguez captures both the adventure and the scientific details with her wonderful art.

We are honoured to include a wonderful classic tale from none other than Oscar Wilde. Chiara Nocentini illustrates The Happy Prince, a heart-breaking tale of an unlikely friendship between a bird and a golden statue who is troubled by the sadness and suffering in the world.

Inanna and Ninshubur are pursued by seven deadly sea monsters in our Mesopotamian legend, The Queen of Everything

Finally we wrap up the first issue of 2020 with a myth that takes us all the way back to the birth of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia, with the thrilling story of the goddess Inanna. The Queen of Everything is a powerful story, with Alex Herrarias bringing the magic and monsters to life.

In Storytime Playbox, we give our readers a chance to test their reading comprehension and unleash their creativity! Look out for a new game in which players compete to see who can feed a giant the tastiest and most nutritious food! And don’t forget to check out Story Magic for new books that can take you and your child on new reading adventures.

See you all next month and keep reading!

Storytime Issue 64 Out Now!

 

We’ve created a special treat for you this holiday season: our snowiest issue ever! It’s the time of the year to curl up by the fire with your loved ones and share special stories, and you’re sure to love the tales in this month’s issue.

Inside Storytime Issue 64

Dashing through the snow! Jingle Bells is our festive rhyme.

 

Our first story takes us all the way to Antarctica, where perky Pim the Penguin suffers a chilly mishap but receives a colourful Christmas gift that makes things better. Pim and his pals look great in the cute and colourful art by the talented Luke Flowers.

There’s nothing like a traditional Christmas sing-along, and they don’t come much better than Jingle Bells. Read and sing this poem with others! Alisa Coburn’s illustrations bring new life to this family favourite.

The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs is yet another classic story, with gorgeous old-school artwork by Beatriz Mayumi. Of course, it also provides a gentle moral about the perils of greed and over-consumption that could make for an interesting topic for discussion at this particular time of the year.

We’ve also got a wild and wintry adventure story called The Little Girl and Father Frost. A brave little girl overcomes adversity to bring spring back to her town, and artist Carol Rempto does a fantastic job bringing it to life. Warning: may contain cute little bunnies!

The Elves and the Shoemaker is another classic story that taps into themes of generosity and kindness in the festive season. Illustrator Gemma Román certainly has a gift for drawing elves!

Is Skadi’s appetite for food bigger than her appetite for revenge?

In your family, is decorating the tree a treat, a chore, or somewhere in between? Whatever the answer, you’re sure to love The Tinsel Spiders, an original story about an old lady who gets help from an unexpected quarter. The story is rendered in lovely detail by the talented Tatiana Obukovich.

Artist Vanessa Morales brings some mythological magic to the season with Skadi the Ski Goddess. This fierce giantess has a vendetta against the Norse gods, but even her heart gets melted by a midwinter feast!

Magical Storyland is blessed with almost perpetual lovely weather, but this proves a problem when the inhabitants want to experience ice-skating, snowball fights, and other winter activities. In A Snowy Surprise, Giorgia Broseghini illustrates what happens when the Storylanders ask a witch to help them have some frosty fun…

Please don’t forget, that if you are looking for a gift that will keep giving all throughout the New Year, there’s nothing better than a whole year of stories! Each month you can give someone special a new issue, addressed to them in the post and packed with exciting and heartwarming stories, gorgeous artwork and fun games and puzzles. You can subscribe here.

Happy holidays and a very merry Christmas from the whole Storytime team!

Storytime Issue 63 Out Now!

Storytime Issue 63Brighten your November with all-new Storytime Issue 63, which features our gorgeous Masha and the Bear fairy tale on the cover!

This new issue is guaranteed to make you want to curl up together and lose yourself in the wonderful world of stories. We’ve filled it with a wide variety of stories from new fiction and poetry to classic fairy tales and adventures from around the world. Better still, it’s designed to help your kids find a passion for and confidence in reading.

Plus, as always, every story comes with ideas for activities to extend the fun and learning, including plenty of puzzles and creative challenges. You can also discover our recommendations for the best new picture books – and enter our competition to win copies here!

Before you do that, find out what you can look forward to in Storytime Issue 63 – we’re really proud of this issue.

Inside Storytime Issue 63

We hope little dinosaur fans enjoy our new poem The Doyouthinkhesaurus, which is illustrated by the amazing Momo. The star of our dinosaur poem has an incredible secret, but you’ll have to read it to find out what it is!

Storytime Issue 63

The Car that Went Far – an eco story for kids in Storytime Issue 63. Art by Gaby Zermeno.

A plucky electric car is the unexpected hero in The Car that Went Far. When his new owner brings him home, he gets a hostile reception from the petrol cars on the street. They don’t believe he can drive any great distance at all. Can he prove them wrong? This story is ideal for little environmental warriors. Thank you Gaby Zermeno, once again, for the bright and cheery illustrations.

Fans of King Arthur and Arthurian legends will enjoy our latest folk tale, which comes from Wales. A tale of greed, The Sleeping Knights features a hidden cave, secret treasure and Knights of the Round Table. Virginia Morelli has done a brilliant job of bringing Merlin to life, the wizard we never tire of seeing in Storytime.

Another issue means another Storyland Adventure. This time, in The Princess and the Pea Soup, Princess Meribel decides to turn the tables and test whether she has found a real prince. It only seems fair! As ever, Giorgia Broseghini’s wonderful art helps bring our new fairy-tale world to life.

Fairy tales remain one of our most popular sections in Storytime. As the issues progress, we get genuinely excited about sharing lesser-known (but still brilliant) tales with you. Masha and the Bear is a famous fairy tale from Russia. It inspired a popular TV series there, which you might have seen. Our version of this classic tale is beautifully illustrated by Gaia Bordicchia – her second cover for Storytime. She previously illustrated The Nutcracker – a great festive issue to add to a Christmas stocking. Incidentally, you can read an interview with Gaia here.

Thunder and Lightning is a really enjoyable myth from Africa. It explains the origins of our most extreme weather conditions. The lead characters are troublesome, noisy, destructive and probably get what they deserve. See what you think. Guilherme Franco created the energetic art for this story.

Storytime Issue 63

Our fable, The Animals and the Mirror, with art by Jean Galvao. Read it in Storytime Issue 63.

We also have a short but thought-provoking fable for you in The Animals and the Mirror. When wild animals see their reflections for the first time, it inspires feelings and doubts they have never experienced before. Is ignorance bliss? A great story to get a conversation started with great illustrations by artist and comic strip creator, Jean Galvao.

To close the issue, we whisk you away on The Magic Carpet for a spectacular story of sibling rivalry and adventure in the Middle East. What’s more valuable – the carpet of the title, a looking glass that can see whatever you wish for or a magical healing apple? Find out in this epic story, which returning illustator Raitan Ohi perfectly visualised for us.

 

We truly enjoyed putting this issue together for you. If you like the look of it, don’t forget that our December issue is just around the corner too. Subscribe now and you’ll get it in time to make a lasting and memorable Christmas gift. For now though, cosy up and make the most of your November issue!

 

Remember – reading together makes readers forever!

stories for kids