Let’s Make It Better

 

The New Year – Let’s Make It Better

The team here at Storytime would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year! January is a time to look at where we are and where we would like to be in the coming months. We all like to make resolutions – and one of the best resolutions is to try and be an even better human being.

We firmly believe that stories can give us excellent role models and inspiration, and here are a few of our favourites that remind us of qualities we would like to work on. Which of these qualities do you want more of?

 

Empathy

Understanding and empathising with the way others are feeling is a very important part of building good relationships. A classic tale on this theme is The Friendly Lion (Storytime 59). Set in Roman times, it is the tale of a runaway slave who is trapped in a cave with a fearsome beast. Despite his fear, when the slave realises that the lion is in pain, he helps it and removes the thorn in its paw. This act of kindness is repaid much later… but we won’t spoil the happy ending! Being aware of other’s emotions and taking them into account can make the world a better place for all of us and it is something we should remember all year round!

 

Friendship

In a time when social isolation, it is easy to neglect our relationships with other people outside our bubbles – but having and maintaining a good support network is vitally important, now more than ever! In our recent story, Hiro and the Storm (Storytime 72), a young hare has to flee an oncoming tropical storm and only manages it with the help of the friends he makes along the way. It shows us that our friends are those we can rely on for physical and emotional help. Is there someone you know that you haven’t contacted in a while? Why not reach out to them and see how they are? A good chat will make you both reconnect and feel positive!

 

Generosity

As well as friendship, generosity is a quality that makes life better for those around you, and often makes our lives richer, too. We often think of giving money when we talk about generosity, but it’s equally important to can give our time, our attention and our skills! Our favourite story about generosity is The Selfish Giant (Storytime 28) – which happens to be written by one of our favourite writers of all time, Oscar Wilde. The titular giant keeps children out of his beautiful garden, but learns that his life and his garden become much more wonderful when he lets them in. Sharing makes life better, he learns that soon enough, and we couldn’t agree more! Needless to say, we highly recommend it.

 

Courage

Whether we want to deal with difficult circumstances or challenges, courage is an essential quality! It can be stressful to get out of our comfort zones, but a brave spirit definitely helps. After all, every explorer and adventurer was once someone who was afraid, but was determined enough to overcome it! Storytime is full of stories of derring-do, but a favourite is the classic fairy tale of Jack the Giant-Killer (Storytime 45). When the giant Cormoran plunders his land, little Jack decides to face him, no matter that his foe is so much bigger than him. For this plucky hero, overcoming his fear is half the battle, and we can definitely learn something from him!

 

Determination

And lastly, the story Hansel and Gretel, our fairy tale from Storytime #13, demonstrates many of the qualities already mentioned, while also showing how important determination is to get us through! When Gretel and her brother are captured by the witch, they do not give up saving themselves and are very resourceful and determined to escape. Gretel shows great courage, and keeps her brother believing they will manage to escape. Despite any setbacks – it’s the little girl determination and bright ideas that saves them. And of course, the love and friendship of brother and sister was crucial to keep them going. We can all learn something from them!

 

Look for qualities in stories that bring the best in the characters and help them to a happy ending. We hope they inspire your New Year resolutions! Wishing you courage, strength and determination in the year ahead!

With love, from the Storytime Team

Storytime Issue 77 Out Now!

 

In these difficult times, it is easy to feel helpless – but stories remind us that we can achieve great things if we put our minds to it! The latest issue of Storytime features many tales about characters (and particularly awesome kids) who were determined to make things happen!

 

Storytime Issue 77 – You Have The Power!

Our Favourite Fairy Tale for this month is called The Wolf Prince – but despite its name, the princess is the real hero. After the prince’s magical wolfskin is destroyed, the furry fellow has to flee, but the princess goes on an amazing quest to find her beloved. Needless to say, she doesn’t give up until she succeeds, and Diana Dementeva’s illustrations bring a special magic to the story visuals!

We have been getting a great response from our new Awesome Adventures stories, and we are not short of amazing stories to follow as well. This month we bring you The Greatest Kid in the World – the true story of a boy named Cassius. When he discovers a sport that he is good at, he puts his mind to becoming the best person he can be – and no wonder he became one of the greatest sports people of all time. This one is sure to inspire kids who love competition! Artist Vera Zaytseva did a wonderful job of capturing the era in which Cassius’s story takes place.

The Knight in Shepherd’s Boots is a story from long ago, but rewritten for modern readers and illustrated in a colourful up-to-date style by Paige McMorrow. It’s about a humble shepherd who meets some knights– and is determined to become one of them! Despite his humble origins and rough clothing, he proves his courage and joins King Arthur’s legendary Knights of the Round Table crew. This story is hundreds of years old but its themes continue to speak to us, even today.

The latest story in the Short Stories, Big Dreams section is called Sleeping Beauty Goes to the Moon. Giorgia Broseghini brings her special touch to this charming tale of what happens when a certain sleepyhead takes a night-time trip. Was it just a dream? But what is the cheese smell about? It makes a wonderful bedtime story, and shows us that we can take amazing journeys just by using our imagination.

We don’t often do detective stories, but The Classroom Conspiracy Conundrum is a rather special exception! Young Agatha is a big fan of mysteries, and when she notices strange things going on around her, she decides to play detective. The formidable Marrie-Pierre Oddoux illustrates the story of what Agatha and her tortoise Hercules discover. Does she solve the conundrum? We won’t give away the ending, but a very special surprise is in store for Agatha!

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where the most fearsome predator could swoop down at any moment? That is the problem the animals of the savannah face in the African fable When Uncle Lion Could Fly. However, brave Brother Toad realises that he can do something to make a difference and break the spell that gives the lion his wings. Maja Barska conjures up beautiful images of Africa in this story that can inspire all of us to make the world a better place.

This month’s fable, is for everyone that ever wondered How the Dog and the Cat Became Enemies. The cat and the dog joined forces to achieve a great deed, but let’s say the outcome was not too fair! This tale, illustrated with style by Federica Tanania, is great fun, and gives an explanation for why two of our favourite pets do not get on!

To round out the issue, we have something rather special to mark the beginning of the new year and remind us that the weather will (eventually) get warmer! The Story of the Year is the tale of two sparrows who go to the countryside and witness the changing of the seasons first hand.

New artist Rachel Batislaong really captures the way the different times of the year feel in her wonderful art.

Stories can do a wonderful job of inspiring and motivating us. Can you think of a special story that have made a difference in your life? Let us know!

Happy New Year everyone – we shall make sure 2021 is filled with wonderful stories to inspire and motivate you all!

With love, The Storytime team

The Best Things About Christmas

 

The Best Things About Christmas!

There are many wonderful things about Christmas. In fact, there are so many that we here at Storytime can’t agree about what is best! What do you think? Here is a selection of classic Storytime tales about our favourite Christmassy things… ! Get inspired by our stories that celebrate many of these traditions, and don’t forget that sharing a story is a great tradition too!

 

What would Christmas be like without a Christmas tree shining bright in the living room? The December issue of Storytime features The Christmas Fairy of Strasbourg, which is a fairy story about how the people of this famous Austrian city began the tradition of putting up Christmas trees. Another magical story about a Christmas tree can be found in Storytime 15, The Little Fir Tree is told from the point of view of a tree that is very happy to be taken inside and decorated for the holiday season!

 

When it comes to decorations, we love a little sparkle and The Tinsel Spiders is full of it! (Storytime 64), a sweet story about the kind spiders who weave all night long to help a lovely granny to decorate her house for Christmas. We love putting up decorations – and tinsel is a firm favourite!

 

We also love carols, as well as other songs and poems. Check out Twelve Days of Christmas from Issue 15 and Jingle Bells from Issue 64 for two of the most classic Christmas rhymes. Why not sing them together with friends and family?

 

During the holiday season, you cannot escape a classic Christmas jumper – the brighter and wackier, the better! That’s why we love the story Pim the Penguin from Storytime 64. When he loses his feathers, his aunty makes him a cosy and comfy knit to see him through the Antarctic winter.

 

If cooking is your treat of choice, then we have a yummy Christmas issue for you! Our Issue 52 features a poem about one of our favourite yuletide treats – Pudding Charms by Charlotte Druitt Cole and the Gingerbread Man Baking Challenge might inspire you to bake all season long!

 

We could not forget Santa! In our issue 40, A Visit from Saint Nicholas reminds us of all the lovely anticipation and traditions we have on Christmas eve, while we wait for the most special visitor of the year!

 

What is your favourite thing about Christmas? Share with us below!

Storytime Issue 76 Out Now!

 

This month we celebrate the holiday season with a special Christmas issue. It’s all about giving gifts – and as you can see, many of the presents people give in these tales are even better than toys, gadgets, or even knitted jumpers! The gift of stories is also a great gift, don’t you think?

 

Storytime Issue 76 – The Season for Giving

Pinocchio and the Monster Downstairs is the latest of our short-and-sweet bedtime tales, illustrated by the magical Giorgia Broseghini. When Pinocchio hears something downstairs on Christmas eve, he thinks it must be some frightening creature – but instead Geppetto will give him a cute new friend instead!

The Long Winter is a classic tale from the forests of North America, with lovely art by Martina Naldi. When an everlasting winter covers the world, a group of brave animals (and fish!) go on a perilous quest to bring the gift of sunshine back to the Earth. Just the story for those long winter nights!

Nelson Tsen illustrates the real-life story of a very talented kid in The Littlest Pop Star. Young Wolferl had the gift of being very good at music – and he gave everyone else the gift of beautiful music that we are still enjoying today. He even wrote a song about going on a fun winter sleigh ride – you can listen to it here!

The Christmas Fairy of Strasbourg is the tale of a count who marries and then loses his fairy bride. It tells us why the people of Strasbourg put up beautiful and bright Christmas trees – which are one of our favourite things about the holiday season! Monica Garofalo’s art just adds to the enchantment.

Our cover story, The Snowman’s Holiday literally turns the holiday season upside down! When Ike and Archie tell their snowman friend Mr Fimbulwinter that they are going to celebrate Christmas in Australia, they come up with a plan to take him along too. A magic gift from their neighbour makes it all possible! MEimo Siwaporn’s colourful artwork captures the magic of a holiday Down Under.

The traditional fable The Wolf and the Kid is about a musical wolf who gives a cheeky little goat the chance to dance for a few minutes – with unexpected consequences! Illustrator Gabriele Tafuni really brings the animals to life.

The Canadian story Saint Nicholas and the Children has beautiful art by Fanny Liem, and tells a slightly spooky story with a happy ending as well! Two twins are trapped in a barrel by a wicked butcher, but the little presents they were given by a kindly woodworker summon help from an unexpected source. Can you guess who? This story is a little bit special!

Finally, we have Pandora’s Box, a classic Greek myth about a present you do NOT want to open! Clarissa Corradin’s visuals capture the magic of this story about what happens when Pandora’s curiosity gets the better of her. It also ends with a message of hope quite appropriate for this special time of year! Shall we all be gifted hope for the New Year ahead!

What is the most special gift that YOU have ever received? Tell us in the comments below!

And of course, stories make a very special present for special people in your life! We now have Storytime subscriptions and issue bundles available in the shop (including special Christmas-issue bundles!) Check them out!

Sweet Dreams!

 

Sweet Dreams!

Kids need lots of sleep to lead happy and healthy lives – but getting enough can be challenging, especially in this era of multimedia stimulation! There are many things that can be done to create a positive and calming bedtime routine – and stories can play a key role.

That’s why we created our new Short Stories, Big Dreams section. The two-page tales bring familiar and well-loved characters to life in comforting stories that should give children sweet dreams. Because getting enough sleep is a VERY important matter, here are some extra tips to get your little ones ready for bedtime (and bedtime stories!)

 

Get into a routine

It’s a fact that getting into a regular bedtime rhythm is the key to getting a good night sleep! Try to stick to a routine (even on weekends) – and soon everyone will be looking forward to it.

Set a time for having a bath, which can help kids to relax. (But make sure it’s not an overstimulating one with lots of toys and splashing!) Make some bubbles and help them to enjoy it in a calm way. Then dry them off and have them brush their teeth, change into their favourite pyjamas and get into bed.

 

Choose a story

Once they are in bed, a bedtime story can have a calming effect. You can read them one of their favourites – and we hope some tales from Storytime will feature on their list! Our new short stories are a new treat to look forward to every moth. Try to stay away from scary or action-packed adventures and keep the acting and questions to a minimum – instead use a soft tone and help them to drift away into dreamland.

 

How much sleep do they need?

Every child is different, but on average, experts state that a 5-year-old needs about 11 hours of sleep, while a 10-year-old can get by on 10 hours. Plan bedtime schedules accordingly. It’s important for their growth – and helps them to do better at school as well.

 

The sleeping environment

To ensure good-quality sleep, a child’s bedroom should be as dark and quiet as possible. Blackout curtains are good at blocking streetlight (or daylight during summer months). If they are afraid on the dark, put on a small night-light or leave the door open a bit to let in light from the hallway. Their favourite cuddly toy can provide comfort and security, and of course a snuggly duvet will always make them feel cosy.

 

A No-Screen Zone!

This one of the most difficult things to do, but perhaps the most important! Some kids spend long hours glued to their screens, but the light, sound and stimulation from games and videos can prevent them from getting to sleep easily.

When you create a new routine, try to limit the screen time bit by bit, and ideally stop any screen exposure an hour before bedtime! This will help them to wind down. Make sure their bedroom is a screen-free zone. To stop them giving in to temptation, have them charge their devices elsewhere in the home.

 

A cuddle and good-night kisses

After the bedtime story, make sure they are comfortably tucked in with their favourite toy or comfort blanket. Make sure to give them a cuddle and a goodnight kiss, followed by a reassuring “see you in the morning”. Chances are they will soon be fast asleep, dreaming of new adventures tomorrow.

Sweet dreams everyone! Share your favourite bedtime tips with us, and we promise to provide new bedtime reading every month!

Storytime Issue 75 Out Now!

 

If you’re looking for tales of brave heroes, mythical creatures and talking beasts, you definitely should check out the latest issue of Storytime! It is sure satisfy even the most avid fantasy fan.

 

Storytime Issue 75 – Curious Creatures, and Where to Find Them!

The cover star is of course The Griffin – a mythical creature with the head, front talons and wings of an eagle and the body and hindquarters of a lion. The talented illustrator Ekaterina Savic does a great job bringing this strange creature to life. The Griffin is a creature who is both very wise and extremely dangerous – but in our fairytale, he is outwitted by a farmboy called Simple Hans, who after all it was rather clever!

Can you spot the unicorn? (she’s wearing a very cunning disguise)

Operation Unicorn is a fantasy story set in the modern day – in fact, it could take place in your neighbourhood! Luján Fernández illustrates this fun little Tale from Today of a girl who finds a lost unicorn in her garden and comes up with a plan to get it home. A tale about how magic can be found in even the most unlikely places.

Baloo’s Bath Day features two well-beloved characters from classic stories – and one of them is a talking bear! When Baloo has a honey-related mishap, it’s up to his little friend Mowgli to clean up the mess. The always-awesome Giorgia Broseghini brings her own twist to these favourites.

Talking animals also show up in The Unmannerly Tiger, a fun folk-tale from Korea with some very important lessons to teach. A monk regrets helping the tiger of the title when the beast decides to eat him – but can his wise friend, the toad, save him? William Luong captures the unique magic of the story with his gorgeous art.

The young Ada Lovelace features in our real life story this month

Our latest Awesome Adventures tale is about a real-life heroine who was a mistress of mathematics and invented the concept of computer programming. Ada Lovelace, nicknamed The Enchantress of Number, saw mathematical equations as being like little fairies that could perform spells on numbers. Flavia Sorrentino’s lovely illustrations show her working her magic, number fairies and all.

The Around the World Tale in this issue is not about magic as such – but about how everyday things can be seen as magical! The Blacksmith and the Iron Man is a Ugandan story about a famous blacksmith. When the king tells the smith to make a living man out of iron, he must come up with a clever plan to show the king that some things cannot be done, and do so with the help of a new friend! Nicolas Maia brings this tale to life with his colourful artwork.

Our fable this month has a great tip for solving arguments!

From the beautiful Azores, comes our fable, The Magic Mouthful. L Schlissel illustrates this story about a young woman who gets given some ‘magic’ water that helps her to stop arguing with her husband. Read this to discover a secret that can help anyone to find a peaceful way forward!

Last but certainly not least we have a story from the highest mountains in Europe, the Swiss folk hero William Tell grace this issue with his bow and arrow. This mighty hero defy an evil governor and thanks to his superb skills, manages to escape the guards and become a legend that lives on in Switzerland. It’s masterfully illustrated by Caio Bucaretchi and it is sure to transport our readers to the Alps!

We certainly hope that you enjoy this fantastic issue. What is your favourite magical creature, and why do you like it? Tell us in the comments below!

Real Life Adventures

 

The new issue of Storytime features our second Awesome Adventures story: the tale of the adventures of young Charles Darwin and his passion for collecting and tasting insects!

We are particularly excited about this new section, and we are sure you are too. Many of you have written in to say that you would like more real-life and historical tales in our magazine, and the feedback has inspired us to bring Awesome Adventures to life.

Real life can be even stranger and more interesting than fiction, and there are so many exciting stories waiting to be told. We plan to feature a wide variety of famous characters in this section – some from the distant past and some from the modern day, some who are scientists or sportsmen and others who are adventurers or artists… Boys and girls are included, not to mention some fabulous animals (as shown in last month’s tale of Bamse the sea-going Saint Bernard). All of them have one thing in common: a truly brilliant real-life story.

This new section aims to complement the curriculum and what children are studying in school: from History, to English and STEM subjects and more. We hope that telling the stories of exceptional individuals in the classic Storytime format will make them accessible to young readers and bring some new interest to the subjects.

But there’s more! We want these stories to do is inspire our little readers. The featured characters were once kids with talents and dreams that they dared to follow. We hope that our tales inspire kids to find out what they are passionate about and reach their full potential too! After all, it starts with a dream and some amazing opportunities we all encounter along the way. Join us on these adventures, we hope you will have as much fun discovering who they are as we did choosing them all!

On this note, we should also mention that October 13th was Ada Lovelace day. It commemorates an amazing woman who has been an inspiration for mathematicians and computer programmers for more than a century. Ada was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron – but she is famous in her own right as a truly brilliant mathematician who invented the idea of a computer ‘programme’ even before the first computer had been built!

We are in awe of Ada – and she stars in next month’s issue. Her Awesome Adventures tale is called The Enchantress of Number and we can’t wait to share it with you all! If you are curious already – you can find out more about her and Ada Lovelace Day by following this link here

We will be celebrating Ada’s day in the Storytime HQ, no doubt. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy spotting some bugs in your garden as much as Charles did!

Happy new stories everyone!

 

Storytime Issue 74 Out Now!

 

By now, many of our readers will be back at school, so it seems appropriate that this month’s stories should be about learning lessons of different kinds!

 

Storytime Issue 74 –  Learning Lessons

Our cover stars, Maggie and Magnus, had learned about technology and decide to use it to make their own robot in The Incredible Pet Project, featuring fantastic artwork by Marko Renko. However, when things go wrong they find out that they should have thought things through a bit better! Grandpa comes to rescue and reminds us all of the lovely role our grandparents have in our childhoods!

This proud Stag learns a valuable lesson in our fable this month

Fables are traditional tales written to teach lessons, and The Stag’s Reflection is no exception! A vain deer is very proud of his mighty rack of antlers, but after they get caught in tree branches, it is his legs that save him from a panther! The illustrations by Marya Bazykina really bring the animals in this Indian jungle story to life in style.

The Boy Who Liked Bugs is our latest Awesome Adventures story, and it stars a boy named Charles who would rather collect insects than study traditional subjects. You will notice that artist Pedro Riquelme really enjoyed drawing all the creepy-crawlies! The lesson that this story teaches is that it is important to follow your interests, because you never know where they might lead you. Can you guess who little Charles was? If so, write it in the comments!

The World’s Beauty is a classic story about a young man who falls for the most beautiful princess in the world and loses a fortune and three amazing magic items to her before figuring out how to turn the tables on her. Chioma Iloegbunam does a wonderful job of capturing the tale of a lad learning an important lesson… eventually!

Dick Whittington’s Cat is a story that many of us might know and love from Christmas pantomime performances. This version may not have songs, but it does have lovely illustrations by John Joven! Needless to say, the main character learns a lot about the value of hard work and shrewd investment!

The heroine of The Princess in the Wooden Petticoat is a wild, wild child who needs to learn how to behave properly – and she does, with help from a certain piece of timber clothing! Núria Aparicio gives this Dutch folk tale a modern feel with her art.

Brunhilde isn’t your typical damsel in distress! Read about her in this classic German legend

The legend of Brunhilde and Sigurd might seem like a traditional story of a damsel in distress being saved by a hero at first – but this one has a twist! In this classic German legend, the lady is a mighty warrior in her own right, and when the hero Sigurd comes to rescue her, she teaches him many things, including how to write magical symbols called runes! Britanny Baugus’s gorgeous illustrations take this legend to a whole new level.

Of course, not all stories need to have an obvious lesson. Giorgia Broseghini uses her art to tell the story of what happens when a certain folk character decides to check that all the baby animals are safely tucked in. Wee Willie in the Woods is a sweet tale that makes an ideal bedtime story that will guarantee sweet dreams to our readers!

Can you think of any valuable lessons you have learned from stories? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Love Your Planet

 

Here at Storytime, we are committed to taking care of the planet. The Earth is our home, and it only makes sense to care for the place where we live! Protecting our planet from from pollution, ecological damage and climate change allows us to enjoy life here and make sure we pass on a green and pleasant planet to our children, and their children as well. We love the Earth, and we hope you do too!

We have been an environmentally friendly company from the start. We make sure our paper comes from renewable sources, and we have made a commitment to never use plastic packaging or include plastic toys with our products, we send our mag out every month in colourful paper envelopes instead of bagging them.

More than that, we also make sure our stories give the right message to our readers, sharing the love and care for animals, nature and helping to keep this sense of wonder for the only planet we have! (Though it’s true that sometimes, we like to explore other planets too!)

 

However lately, planet Earth has been suffering from years of neglect and mistreats and we are now VERY aware of our responsibility to care for it. With that in mind, we chose our theme for this year writing competition. We wanted to share the love, and what a better way to do so than with a love letter?

That is why we we created the Letter to Planet Earth competition! Check our on page 48 of our issue 73 for more details or you can read about it here. But before you write your entry, we would like to share a very special pack we’ve prepared for you: the Love Your Planet Activity Pack. It can be downloaded for free here and it is packed with fun facts and lists of little things we can do to make the Earth a healthier and happier place. To make caring for our planet fun too, there are challenges and award badges to cut out.

 

We would like family and friends to read this pack together and talk about the little eco-friendly changes you can make in your lives. After all, if we all make small changes, we will make a BIG difference. Many of our tips are not only good for our planet, but also help to save money, get exercise, and spend quality time together! Everybody wins!

So get inspired, fall in love with our planet and send us letters to the planet Earth, telling us so. The best letter will be published in Storytime next year, plus there’s a book bundle and a lovely certificate to the winner! And the runner ups will get certificates too!

The Love Your Planet Activity Pack and the competition entry form can be downloaded from www.storytimemagazine.com/earth

We hope you love it!

Storytime Issue 73 Out Now!

 

We like to think that every issue of Storytime is special – but Issue 73 is extra-special.

For one thing, it is our sixth-anniversary issue! We have had a wonderful time bringing you new stories to enjoy every month – and to celebrate, we are introducing not one, but two new sections!

 

Storytime Issue 73 –  Happy Birthday to Us!

The first is called Real Life Adventures and tells the story of a real-life person (or animal), but told in a classic Storytime way. This month, we have Bamse the Sea Dog, the true tale of a faithful Saint Bernard dog who went to sea during World War II. We’re sure you will love this thrilling story – and the colourful illustrations by Uliana Babenko.

Tinker Bell decides a pirate’s life is the life for her in our new bedtime stories section

The second new section is entitled Short Stories, Big Dreams, and features fun little tales that make ideal bedtime stories. The first episode is entitled Tinker Bell and the Forest in the Sky. Illustrated by the brilliant Giorgia Broseghini, it tells us what happens when the titular fairy embarks on a new career as a pirate!

Of course, all of your favourite sections are still present and correct – and Storytime is as jam-packed as ever with fairy tales, fables, modern stories, myths and legends.

The Spellbook is a fairy tale that celebrates our love for books. When her sisters get enchanted by an evil magician, a young clever girl must break his spell – and she does so with curiosity and courage! It’s also our little nod to the teachers everywhere in our back to school issue – as her happily ever after is rather special! It’s magically illustrated by Chiara Galletti

Freddie’s Fabulous First Day is a story about a boy’s first day at a very special school. We won’t spoil the surprise, but the art by Margherita Ende certainly brings it to life!

What happens when our favourite crustaceans decide to fight the sea? Find out in a fable from the Philippines, called The War of the Crabs! We are particularly lucky to have artist Alvin Adhi Mulyono illustrating this one, as he loves drawing sea life.

The classic Japanese story Urashima Taro also has an underwater theme, and Illustrator Tran Dac Trung captures the magic of the underwater kingdom the hero visits.

The classic Greek legend of Icarus gets the Storytime treatment in our new issue

We love classic myths, and we certainly hope you do too! Daedalus and Icarus – the tale of the boy who flew too close to the sun – is one of the most famous ancient Greek tales and Saoirse Louise does an admirable job bringing it to life with her art.

And finally, we have something very special. Rudyard Kipling is one of our all-time favourite storytellers, and it was a thrill to retell his tale, How the First Letter Was Written. It’s a hilarious story about what happens when a Stone Age girl tries to write a letter to her mother, and the characters drawn by Lavanya Naidu look so lively that they could step off the page!

Of course, we also have new activities and a ‘minesweeper’ card game in the Playbox section and a brand-new eco-friendly competition where you write about why you love the planet Earth – but more about that in the next blog!

What do you think about the new sections in the magazine, and which is your favourite? Tell us in the comments!