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

It’s Autumnal Storytime Issue 62

Storytime Issue 62Storytime Issue 62 will be popping into your postboxes this week, giving you the perfect excuse to curl up and indulge in the happiest of autumnal activities – reading! Yes, we’ve all squeezed the last drops out of summer. Now it’s time to wind down, embrace the darker nights and spend some quality time with stories. Music to our ears!

In this issue, we have a friendly mix of characters for you to meet, including a monster, dragon, elf, and mythical spider. Perfect to read with little ones at Halloween and beyond. Find out more about Storytime Issue 62 below.

Inside Storytime Issue 62

Firstly, our fable The Squabbling Siblings opens the issue. It’s a new take on Aesop’s fable, The Bundle of Sticks, and a great lesson in putting your differences aside to work as a team. Laura Proietti has done an excellent job of bringing our naughty puppies to life, which we hope will help children engage better.

Storytime Issue 62

Arachne shows off her weaving skills in Storytime Issue 62. Art by Gabi Tozati.

Long before Spiderman, there was Arachne the Spiderwoman from Greek mythology. In Storytime Issue 62, you can discover her story and find out how she gave her name to spiders. It’s a timely tale for a spidery Halloween, plus it comes with a message about not being boastful. Incidentally, we applaud Gabi Tozati’s art for this. It’s not easy illustrating someone who’s half-woman and half-spider!

Next up, we have an Around the World Tale from Brazil – How the Beetle Got Its Colourful Coat. When you start reading, you’ll think it’s another version of The Hare and the Tortoise. However, prepare for a clever surprise ending. Thank you Júnior Caramez for our bright and beautiful illustrations.

Our cover story is Monster Under the Bed, which has been expertly illustrated by Josh Cleland. If your child worries about the dark or unwelcome creatures hiding in their room, then this is the perfect story to allay their fears. What if the monster under the bed is scared of you – or even your pets? Find out what happens to our friendly monster in Storytime Issue 62. Warning! Reading this story will probably make you crave chocolate muffins.

Storytime Issue 62

A princess meets a jewel thief bunny in Storytime Issue 62’s fairy tale. Art by Vera Zatseya.

Back to the land of classic fairy tales – one of our most popular sections – and a special story from Portugal. The Princess’s Lost Rings is packed with many magical elements. It includes a princess with a precious collection, a jewel thief, a shape-shifting rabbit, a cursed prince, two forgetful storytellers and a donkey with backwards hooves. There’s so much to discuss after reading this story and there are fun things to do while you read it too. Vera Zatseya has created a stunning puzzle picture for you alongside her wonderful illustrations, so don’t miss it!

Continuing the fairy-tale theme, this issue’s Storyland Adventure follows Jack and Jill as they venture a bit further than up the hill. But, alas! They come face to face with a bad-tempered dragon. Giorgia Broseghini’s artwork for Jack and Jill and the Dragon is as lovely as ever and we hope you are enjoying this series.

We’re fully embracing autumn here in the UK. We love nothing better than collecting shiny conkers, splashing in puddles, admiring fiery leaf displays, and sitting around the fire pit with a warming stew. It might just be our favourite time of year, so Rachel Field’s poem Something Told the Wild Geese is the perfect accompaniment. It captures the changing seasons perfectly and is excellent to teach at KS2 level. In fact, you can download our teaching resource and lesson ideas for this poem here. Grab the issue and you can admire Shira Le’s illustrations too.

Finally, you can snuggle up in Storyteller’s Corner for a folk tale from Ireland. Billy and the Little Man is a tale of mischief, magic and marriage. Oh, and a lot of feasting too! Masha Klot has done a grand job of making the Little Man in question every bit as cheeky as he needs to be. Plus there are plenty of moments to make children laugh, question and cheer along with the action.

 

There are lots of activity ideas and free downloads to go with this issue, so check them out here. And, of course, we have our usual Playbox pages at the back of Storytime Issue 62 with puzzles, art challenges and a game. It’s learning to read… the fun way! But isn’t that how all learning should be?

 

Wishing you a very happy spooky season,

stories for kids

Storytime Issue 61 – Our 5th Birthday Issue!

Storytime Issue 61, 5th birthday issue, Swan lakePhew! Storytime Issue 61 is out this week, which means five years of Storytime! I think we start every birthday blog with a look of disbelief, so please forgive us if we’re being repetitive when we say we can’t quite believe it. Truthfully, we can’t. Being an independent publisher is challenging. Some might have given up and walked away. But we’re still here. Why? Because we believe in what we’re doing and we thought we’d share those beliefs with you.

Storytime’s Beliefs

 

• We believe kids deserve a wide variety of options to support their reading and we know magazines play an important role in facilitating that.

• We think kids and parents deserve magazines of much better quality than most of those on offer today. Magazines that inspire, excite and educate.

• Our team takes pride in giving kids access to a wide range of stories and poems and literacy-themed activities at an affordable price.

• As story-lovers, we are passionate about keeping stories alive that would otherwise be lost and forgotten.

• Like any responsible company, we believe in the importance of offering a planet-friendly, plastic-free magazine with no toys or tat on the cover.

We strive to deliver quality and beauty. This means nice thick paper so you can keep our magazine forever, gorgeous illustrations, and a lot of love poured into every page.

• Finally, we want to help children fall in love with reading and learn valuable lessons about the world around them through short stories and poetry.

 

This is what fires us up and has kept us going for the last five years. And it will keep us going for many more.

So, yes, it’s been tough at times. But it has also been our privilege to create Storytime for you and we are so grateful for your support. Here’s a big slice of imaginary birthday cake for you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

 

Inside Storytime Issue 61

Storytime Issue 61, Swan Lake, 5th birthday issue

 

Our 5th birthday issue kicks off with a VIP visitor to Storytime’s pages and a funny new story in Paper Round with the Queen. Written by children’s author Eszter Molnar (visit her site) and brought to life by Simone Krüger’s illustrations, it’s a flight of fancy with a helicopter and a cool tandem bike thrown in for good measure.

Next, we travel to Canada and the indigenous Haida nation for our Around the World Tale, Raven Steals the Sun. Guilia Baratella’s bold illustrations show how clever raven brought the sun, the moon, the stars, fresh water and fire to the people when they were most in need.

This month’s Storyland Adventure is set in Beauty’s classroom, where she encounters a mysterious new pupil who refuses to reveal his name. Can Beauty’s brains combined with her magic mirror help her get to the bottom of this riddle? Giorgia Broseghini blew us away, yet again, with her illustrations for this new story.

Storytime Issue 61, Pirate Poodle, Pirate poem

The not-so-nefarious Pirate Poodle. A poem by Carolyn Wells in Storytime Issue 61. Art by Azbeen.

There’s a poem in every issue, and we hope kids will love our choice for Storytime Issue 61. The Pirate Poodle, as you can probably tell by its title, combines canines with adventures on the high seas – but it doesn’t turn out quite as you’d expect. Azbeen’s illustrations hit just the right pirate pooch tone for this poem by Carolyn Wells. We challenge you to learn a verse off by heart for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Thursday 19 September.

Swan Lake is Storytime Issue 61’s cover and fairy tale. Russian composer Tchaikovsky composed the music for this ballet, basing the story on old German folk tales. Now it’s come full circle (you could say pirouetted) into a story again in Storytime. If your child isn’t a ballet fan, never fear, there’s a healthy dose of royal torment, baddies and curses in this classic tale too. And it’s all dressed up in Letizia Rizzo’s fluid and flowing illustrations. If you’re an educator, please visit our Schools site to find out how to get hold of our free resource and activity pack.

In our Famous Fable, The Fox and the Grapes, you can discover where the expression ‘sour grapes’ comes from and what it means. We think you’ll love Martina Rotondo’s striking illustrations too. Such an elegant fox.

Storytime Issue 61, The Three Presents, Ludwig Beckstein, Fairytales for kids

The Three Presents by Ludwig Beckstein in Storytime Issue 61, with art by Barbara Bongini.

The Three Presents is adapted from a story by German author and fairy-tale collector, Ludwig Bechstein. In his day, he was more popular than the Brothers Grimm. It’s an unexpected rags-to-riches tale with an amusing ending. Barbara Bongini’s illustrations are perfect and we’re sure Ludwig would approve.

Storytime Issue 61 closes with a fabulous Irish tale. It’s about a legendary hidden world of fairies and the poet warrior lured there by magical beauty, Niamh of the Golden Hair. What happens when you return from a land where each year is equivalent to one hundred ‘real-world’ years? Find out in this story. Thank you David Navarro Arenas for the illustrations.

Competition Time!

To celebrate our 5th birthday, we close the issue with a special competition. We’re asking you (readers aged 3 to 9) to invent, draw and describe your dream superhero. We’ll pick our favourite and bring that superhero to life in a Storytime story next year! It’s a fantastic opportunity to unleash your creativity and potentially see your ideas in print.

Storytime Issue 61, Storytime Superhero Competition,

Find out more about the competition here and download a fabulous activity pack to help you get started.

Of course, in our opinion, the biggest superheroes of all are our Storytime readers.

 

Now let’s eat cake!

stories for kids

Storytime Issue 60: Out Now!

Storytime Issue 60Need a mid-holiday pick-me-up to help you through the long summer break? Never fear, Storytime Issue 60 is here to occupy those “run out of stuff” moments or long journeys. Packed with an inspirational mix of stories, poetry, activities, puzzles and a game, it will keep your kids happily immersed and trigger their creativity too.

In this issue, we have a big bad wolf, a mysterious kelpie, rival siblings, a sun god, a daring girl gamer, a singing tortoise, a musical sea shell and Tom Thumb! Intrigued? Find out more about it and our talented contributors below.

Inside Storytime Issue 60

The perfect poem for summer – The Sea Shell by Amy Lowell plunges you into an ocean adventure with pirates, parrots and more! It’s a great and easy poem to learn off by heart. In particular, Coco Zool’s illustrations made our day.

Storytime Issue 60, African fable, Singing Tortoise

A tortoise teaches everyone a lesson in Storytime Issue 60’s African fable. Art by Maria Bazykina.

This issue’s Famous Fable has a timely environmental theme. The Singing Tortoise is a story from Africa with a simple warning about meddling with nature. Maria Bazykina’s illustrations bring it to life beautifully.

In Storytime Issue 60’s Storyland Adventure, Tom Thumb finds out that it’s not easy going on exciting breaks when you’re tiny. However, his best friends, Hansel and Pinocchio step in to surprise him. Giorgia Broseghini provides yet more fantastic illustrations for this series.

Flemish fairy tale Mr Wolf’s Candy House is our centre and cover story in Storytime Issue 60. It features a big bad wolf, a house made of sweets, two daring (and slightly cheeky) children and some rebel ducks! They seemed like perfect story ingredients to us and we hope you agree. What’s more we hope you love Davide Ortu’s illustrations as much as we do!

Storytime Issue 60, Level Up, Jenny Woods, Patrick Corrigan

A girl gamer takes on a monster challenge in Jenny Woods’ new story for Storytime Issue 60. Art by Patrick Corrigan.

We’re excited to bring you a new Tale from Today by a former journalist, experienced children’s fiction writer and sausage dog owner, Jenny Woods. Level Up sees a young girl gamer face a real-life quest to get to the top of a tower. The rewards are great, if only she dares! Many thanks to Patrick Corrigan for the perfect illustrations.

We have another fantastic Greek myth for you too – the story of Helios and Clytie. Helios is the fickle god of the sun and Clytie is the dolphin-riding sea nymph who loves him. Like many myths, the story lacks a happy ending, but it does explain how a particular flower came to be. Fascinating stuff – and it was great to work with Francesca de Luca again, who illustrated this for us. Teachers and home educators can pick up our free resource pack for this story by getting in touch here.

Have you heard of Scotland’s mysterious and troublesome kelpies? You can find out all about these watery wonders in our Storyteller’s Corner folk tale, illustrated by Forrest Burdett. This particular tale has magic and drama and, who knows… it might just be true! By the way, if you’re going to Scotland this summer, let us know if you spot a kelpie.

Finally, Giada Gatti has wonderfully illustrated a moral tale from Bangladesh called Clever Sister, Foolish Sister. This might just be the perfect story to whip out if you encounter sibling rivalry this summer as it’s all about sharing.

 

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean enjoying stories should be out too! Reading is something to be nurtured all year round – and reading together is a memory your kids will treasure forever. Also there’s something extra-special about reading together in the great outdoors – from the beach to the park – so get out there and enjoy it while you can! You might even come across a candy house in the woods or a singing tortoise in a quiet copse. Incidentally, you can get more suggestions for great places to read outdoors here.

 

Make it a Storytime summer!

stories for kids