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!

Love Your Library

 

We here at Storytime have a special place in our hearts for libraries. In fact, exploring the wonders to be found there was a formative childhood experience for all of us.

We believe that libraries are magical places, which is why we feature them so often in our stories. For example, check out the enchanted library in Issue 50’s ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ or the Beast’s amazing book collection in Issue 31’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

With libraries opening up again in a number of different ways, here are just some of the reasons why you should love your local library…

 

1. Books, books, and more books!

We make sure that each issue of Storytime is packed with fun and varied reading material, but let’s face it: voracious readers will go through a magazine in a week or less, leaving them hungry for more!

Libraries are a treasure-trove of reading material – fiction and non-fiction, magazines and periodicals. (Most libraries also have graphic novels and manga for the comics junkie in the family.)

Go to your local library, where innumerable worlds are waiting to be discovered… and it won’t cost you a penny -unless you rack of late fees, of course!

 

2. Librarians know it all!

Librarians are one of the world’s unappreciated treasures! They aren’t just there to shelve books – they are highly trained professionals with degrees in Library Science. It’s their vocation to make information accessible to people – people just like you! Think of them as like Google, but friendlier.

Librarians are generally fast readers who feel a professional duty to keep up to date on what people are reading, and an acquisitions librarian has likely read every book that they buy for the library! So, if you want to get information or recommendations about what to read, a librarian is your best bet.

A quick note: not ALL staff at a library are librarians! Clerks and assistants help out with shelving and checking out books, but they can be very knowledgeable too.

 

3. A library is a community hub

Their noticeboard is a great place to find out about local groups and events, and the library can also serve as a venue for meetups. For example, my local library sets aside tables for the local Scrabble club meetup on Saturday afternoon. Why not drop by and see what’s going on?

 

4. Do it for the kids

Libraries do their best to help develop new generations of readers. Many libraries have specially decorated spaces for kids and run activities for them. ‘Rhyme Time’ sessions are particularly popular. These rhyming and singing sessions are for children aged 0-3 and are very popular – some are so in-demand that you need to book tickets for sessions in advance!

Teens aren’t left out, either – larger libraries often have a ‘Teen Zone’ with books and magazines to appeal to that age group, along with all-important wifi and USB charging facilities.

 

So next time you’re in town and feel like a break from the hurly-burly of the High Street, why not pay an enriching visit to your unique and irreplaceable local library?

Storytime Issue 72 Out Now!

 

If you’re anything like us, the weather might be getting on top of you at the moment – but what better way to chill out than by relaxing in a cool place and reading the latest issue of Storytime? As it happens, most of this magazine’s tales involve the weather in some way… from tropical heat to fierce storms!

 

Storytime Issue 72 –  Feeling the Heat

At the moment we can all sympathise with the hero of Brazilian folktale The Story of the Yara. Living in a city by the Amazon river, he seeks to escape the heat by taking a dip in a quiet forest pool – which is where a creature called the Yara lurks! The lush artwork of Lucas Reis will make you feel the humid heat of the tropical night!

The Sunchild is about a young girl who must work as a servant in the mansion of the sun – and I’m sure that anyone who has been spending time outdoors recently would be able to identify with her predicament! David Sierra’s illustrations really capture the spirit of this Greek tale.

This Scottish snack goes on the run – will it be a case of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’?

The Wee Bannock is about another character who is desperate to escape the heat – in this case, the heat of a frying pan in an elderly Scottish couple’s kitchen! He goes on the run and has a great old time until he comes to a river and a sly fox… The art by Tel Coelho brings this Celtic take on the story of the runaway gingerbread man a life of its own!

The Lion Fairy and the Frog, beautifully illustrated by the talented Vanessa Morales, does not centre around the weather – but it is a storm that leads to the heroine’s carriage crashing in a forest, after which she is captured by the titular Lion Fairy. This story has many of the ingredients of a classic fairy tale (a frog, dragon, a prince, a princess in distress) but mixes them up in a unique and magical way.

When New Zealand’s mighty volcanoes clash in The War of the Mountains, that leads to eruptions, earthquakes, and of course mighty storms! It takes a special artist to illustrate a story this epic – but Andrès Felipe Rodriguez Rodriguez is up to the challenge.

Unsurprisingly, the weather plays a big part in our cover story, Hiro and the Storm. Originally created to celebrate the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan (sadly postponed), this is an action-packed mini-epic in which four animals must team up to escape a typhoon and get to safety. It’s worth reading for Miru Kim’s unbelievably cute character designs alone!

Some visitors fly over to Storyland, bringing a mysterious wind with them.

The Storylanders find their sleep disturbed by unusual weather in The Mysterious Wind – a story illustrated and written by the redoubtable Giorgia Broseghini. Jack (of ‘and the Beanstalk’ fame) goes in search of what caused it and encounters… well, we don’t want to spoil any surprises, but he does meet some guest stars from Neverland! We should note that this will be the last Storyland tale, but all the favourite fairy tale characters we love will continue to appear in a new section. Called ‘Short Stories, Big Dreams’, it will feature short but sweet stories that make ideal bedtime reading.

Well not everything in this issue is about weather – see if you can guess what By Evaleen Stein’s poem Pop-corn is about! Illustrated in style by Thiago Cerca it’s a fun start to this issue! A bowl of popcorn could make a nice snack in this weather…so we have given you some special recipes to download too!

Next month it’s our very special 6th Anniversary issue! There will be some new sections, a new competition and lots of special features for our lovely readers! We hope you will love it – but in the meantime enjoy the latest issue of Storytime and chill!

Homeschooling habits to keep all year round!

 

Over the past few months, many of us have suddenly been forced to take up the job of teacher for kids stuck at home! This has been quite a challenge – but are there lessons and habits that we can take from our home-schooling experience once the world’s schools reopen?

Here are some home-schooling tips that we should keep in mind when studying with the little ones at home, that even after lockdown, will help children to make the most of their study times.

 

1. Make a ‘study space’

Doing schoolwork in the same space every day will help kids to get into the right mindset. It should be quiet, with a comfortable place to sit, a surface for writing, good light for reading, and enough space for books and papers.

There may not be enough space in your home for a permanent study area, but you can mark a place as a temporary ‘quiet study area’ by putting something like a houseplant there. When in the study zone, it’s time for study!

 

2. Keep to a schedule

Keeping regular hours in lockdown is difficult for everyone, especially kids! However, that makes it even more essential to draw up a time plan for schooldays and stick to it.

It doesn’t have to stick to regular school hours, but should give enough time for all work to be done. And as part of that schedule, you will need to…

 

3. Take regular breaks

Studying non-stop for an hour or more is not the best for learning! Remember to put breaks in your schedule – these actually enhance concentration and could include going for short, brisk walks, doing some PE exercises, or even walking the dog. TV does NOT work as a useful break, however!

 

4. Quality time

Parents often need to help kids, either with home-schooling or regular homework. However, you need to balance your children’s needs with the fact that you have responsibilities of your own!

It is best to schedule times when you will give the kids your undivided attention. While doing their work, get them to note down things that they want to ask you about before moving on, so they can ask you about them during the scheduled ‘quality time’.

 

5. Keep it flexible

One of the advantages of home-schooling is that children can do their own research about things they have learned that interest them. Why not schedule 45 minutes of ‘free study’ at the end of the day?

At the beginning of this time, ask your child what they would like to find out more about, and then let them do some research on the internet. Then, at the end of this period, ask them for three interesting facts they found out

 

6. Reward effort

Though they might deny it, kids want your approval. We might want our kids to achieve things, but it is more important to reward effort. After all, if we teach perseverance, then they will be able to stick with tasks until they can achieve them. So pay attention to when they are putting in a lot of work, and be sure to congratulate (and sometimes even reward!) them for this.

 

7. Remember, you’re not alone!

Helping your kids study can be hard work! Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help on questions or just to talk about your experiences. Social media is a great way to talk to other parents, and even after lockdown you can still get in touch over social media.

There are also educational resources available that could be used for fill-in lessons and help you with ideas if you few stuck. BBC Bitesize and our own Storytime Teaching resources packs are both fun and educational!

Storytime Issue 71 Out Now!

 

John Lennon once told us that “”Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – and I’m sure we can all identify with that at the moment. Even six months ago, I don’t think any of us would have thought our summer would be quite like this!

Unpredictability is a big part of life – and a big part of stories! If this month has a theme, it’s that we should expect the unexpected!

 

Storytime Issue 71 – Expect the Unexpected!

The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is a retelling of a classic short story by the wonderful Mark Twain. Burly lumberjack Big Jim Smiley loves the unexpected because it gives him something to bet on – but his plot to win money with his trained frog goes wrong when the trickster gets tricked by a stranger! Aleksey Zhdanov captures the humorous spirit of the tale in his illustrations.

Real life can be even stranger than fiction, as The High Life, this month’s Tale from Today, shows. It’s based on the true story of a fox named Romeo who made a home for himself in London’s tallest skyscraper while it was under construction – and managed to avoid capture for quite a while! Illustrator Zhanna Bulankova adds a real sense of wonder to this quirky tale.

Find out how pan pipes got their name in our Greek myth this month

We all have great potential within ourselves that can surprise those who would underestimate us, and that is a theme that runs through The Story of Pan, this month’s classic myth. Who would have thought that a goat-legged being who was so ugly that his own mother ran away from him would become so beloved of the Greek gods. Pan’s adventures feature magical art by the redoubtable Miss Paty.

In The Wise Little Girl, the Tsar of Russia himself makes a mistake by underestimating the wit and wisdom of a simple peasant girl. This clever and funny story will certainly think twice about smugly thinking you are better than someone else! Emanuela di Donna’s art really brings medieval Russia to life.

The Dragon’s Tail is a story of action and adventure set in a real place – the Dragon’s Gorge in Germany. When Helmut and his friends go exploring the gorge in search of the mythical monster that is meant to lurk there, but they in out that he is not what they expected! The rollicking action (and the awe-inspiring dragon!) are captured masterfully in the art by Alejandro Mesa.

This month’s Storyland Adventure, Moon River Melody is illustrated as always by the wonderful Giorgia Broseghini. This tale takes us below the water as the Pied Piper and a new friend find something large and unexpected lurking in the depths.

Beppo Pipetta’s magic bag can swallow up anyone who disagrees with him!

When it comes to embracing the unexpected, the titular hero of Beppo Pipetta is the master! This Italian folk hero and trickster is happy to ramble through life without worrying about anything – and this is made easier by his magic knapsack, which can swallow anyone who disagrees with him. But what will happen when he loses his enchanted bag? Find out in this quirky story, with art by Francesco Zito.

Sometimes in life though, we expect the unexpected. This month’s poem, The People Upstairs (by Ogden Nash, with great art by Susanna Rumiz) is about noisy neighbours. We can expect them to be noisy – but we can never be sure what form the next commotion will take!

We hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, with all its plot twists and unexpected events. Dealing with the unexpected can be intense, but change is a part of life, and can make things better. Can you think of totally unexpected events in your life that transformed it for the better? If so, tell us in the comments below.