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Get Creative With Rhymes

Get Creative With Rhymes


Get Creative With RhymesThe new issue of Storytime features our latest competition! The Story Rhyme! contest opened on August 2nd, and it challenges kids to write cool poems about their favourite place in the world. It was inspired by a wonderful story, ‘The Stolen Treasure’ by Ellie Williams, a fun tale about a seasick pirate who finds a wonderful new home.


We believe that writing poetry is a great way for children to express themselves creatively and discover the joy of playing with language.


We’d love it if your little ones entered the contest, and this blog gives tips on how to help and encourage them in their poetic endeavours!


The first step is to download our special Story Rhyme! Competition pack. It introduces kids to different poem types and poetic techniques and includes many different puzzles and games to get them inspired to write works of their own.


Creating poems can be playful and fun, and it’s an excellent way to let children’s’ mind run free!



If they send their creation in to us by 30th November 2023, they could win prizes: the winning poet will get their masterpiece printed in Storytime, a printed certificate, a cool book bundle, and a Storytime Hub subscription for the whole school for a year!


Here are some ideas to help get your kids’ creative juices flowing!

  • Get a notebook! Encourage them to jot down cool words, images, rhymes and phrases that come to mind. Then, when they sit down to create their poem, they will have material for inspiration!


  • Poets read poems! Other poets can be a brilliant source of ideas! Help your little ones to find poems online or in the library. They can also ask people they know to recommend their favourite poems. Inspiration can be found in unusual places – for example, the Poems on the Underground programme puts interesting pieces of writing in carriages on the London tube network!


  • Write regularly! Ask them to write a short verse or just note down a cool image or phrase once a day. Make writing a habit, but keep it light and fun… poetry doesn’t have to feel like homework!


  • Go with the flow! Kid should feel free to experiment and try out new ideas when writing poems, even if they don’t quite work out!


  • Try something new! If your little poets aren’t feeling inspired, get them to write a new type of poem. The Story Rhyme! Competition pack has a list of them! They could a go at a haiku, go crazy with a nonsense poem, or carve out a concrete poem in the shape of its subject!


  • Have fun with poetic techniques! The Story Rhyme! Competition pack also includes information on different poetic tricks they can use. You’ll be surprised by the cool rhymes, similes, metaphors and alliterations your kids can create!


  • Look at life in a poetic way! Ask them to describe interesting things you see in poetic terms. Things like, ‘That storm cloud hangs like a heavy hammer over the neighbourhood’ or ‘the bus crawled up the road like a ladybug down a flower stem…’ Thinking like a poet can make their life brighter and more interesting!


We are already so inspired just thinking of all the places we will visit through the amazing poems coming our way! Where will your children’s poems take us? We look forward to reading all their wonderful entries for our contest – get scribbling, you all, poets of tomorrow!


Download your our special Story Rhyme! Competition pack here.

We are excited about receiving your entry!  The closing date is 30th November 2023. Enter today to win some fabulous prizes!

The story so far…


It feels like only yesterday that Storytime was just a wonderful idea … and now the world’s favourite story magazine is turning 9!  It’s a pinch-us moment, something that we couldn’t even have imagined when the first issue was published back in September 2014.


We human beings are made of stories, so we’d like to use this very special moment to share our story as well! We have been so busy crafting tales for you all and building our brand that we have never told you about the amazing journey we have been on! Here we go…


We are Leslie Coathup and Lulu Skantze, and we met more than 20 years ago – when we were working in publishing, and we collaborated on many projects. We also shared a love for books and knew that literacy and reading for pleasure could change lives.  Books and magazines had certainly been very important to both of us as children.


We believed stories could change the world as they allow us to dream, to be brave, to imagine new opportunities and to learn resilience. Stories can question old ideas, introduce us to new cultures and take us further than we can even imagine. Storytime was born from our belief that the world needed more stories, and we wanted to bring it to life in a fun, modern and engaging way.


There turned out to be a real market for this kind of magazine… and we discovered that it was even hit among kids who didn’t even know that they loved reading! Schools all over the world started buying Storytime, and reluctant readers in particular enjoyed lavishly-illustrated tales in an approachable magazine format with no ads and no plastic. Schools in over 60 countries now use Storytime to teach English and to foster curiosity and creativity in the classroom.


The next amazing thing we discovered was that the appeal of Storytime crosses linguistic boundaries… such is the power of stories! Collaborations and licensing with international partners have led to the creation of Storytime editions in other continents. There are now millions of readers that read the same story as you every month all around the world. It’s wonderful how a love of stories connects us all, no matter how far apart we may be…


We kept dreaming big and decided to find new ways to deliver fun stories to people. That was how the Storytime Hub was born! Creating audio and digital versions of our entire catalogue of over 850 stories was a huge task to undertake during the lockdown years, but we couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished.


Having audio versions of our magazines available alongside digital issues allows us to reach those that cannot get Storytime in the post and has allowed for entire schools to use our magazine as an essential tool for teaching! Having stories delivered in more than one format makes Storytime your world of stories…. Where you can find your favourite tales being told in print, audio and digital!


We continue to support reading for pleasure and learning through entertainment with passion because we realise that this is the most powerful tool for change. Our company has expanded over the years, and we have a wonderful team that works together to bring Storytime to you all every month. Every new issue is celebrated like it was the first, and we never forget that it is a great privilege to tell amazing stories!


We feel that it is vitally important for young readers to read stories and keep on dreaming of better tomorrows– and our mission now feels more relevant than ever. We shall continue to create tales that we hope will inspire you to change the world!


Of course, our own story wouldn’t be completed without highlighting the wonderful artists that helped to bring the brilliant anniversary issue to life. So join us in celebrating them all! The magical cover is the work of Aga Mazsota, and she managed to bring the South American landscape to life in the Brazilian fairy tale ‘The Quest for Cleverness’.


We are in awe by how Ann-Sophie D’Hollander turned a tale of snails into a colourful garden of wonders in ‘The Happy Family’.


Elena Geroldi’s masterful art transported us to the Asian jungle, and her pencils rendered ‘The Nodding Tiger’ in gentle strokes reminiscent of traditional Chinese art. We love to see stories through the artists’ eyes, as they often add another dimension to stories!  A similar delicate touch was used by Lily Fan in her illustrations for the pirate tale of ‘The Stolen Treasure, written by Ellie Williams. Lovely artwork like this has to be treasured!


We feature the real-life story of young Albert Einstein in ‘The Compass of Life’ – it’s a must-read for all STEM lovers, and it’s inspiring to see how far curiosity and a thirst for knowledge can take you! Manuel Mal takes us into the world of the clever little boy with his wonderful illustrations…


This month’s bedtime story features a character from a classic book – Pollyanna, from the novel of the same name! ‘Pollyanna’s Perfect Day’ is a cheerful story about making the best of things, illustrated by one of our long-time collaborators: the talented Laura Proietti!


Let’s hear it for dear old Mother Earth and the extraordinary artwork of Leti Depedri! When we decided to tell the Greek myth of ‘Gaia the Earth Goddess’, we weren’t sure how to represent her, but Leti depicted this larger-than-life character in amazing style!


This story also features our newest strand in Storytime: the ‘You Need to Know About…’ section! Every month from now on, we will bring you amazing facts and figures related to the subject of a tale. It can cover anything and everything… but we can promise that it will always be fun! We hope you enjoy learning about beautiful planet and are looking forward to finding out more fascinating facts in future!


Finally, Waldomiro Neto brings warmth and joy to the fable of ‘The Mole and His Mother’ with his art! The story is a sweet reminder about how we should use all our senses to explore the world. Fables have many life lessons to teach, but this is one that we are particularly fond of… Feel the wind, smell the flowers, listen to the beautiful sounds of nature … and never forget that we are all very special in our own way!


For now, enjoy this very special anniversary issue, made with love by our team. We are very proud of being 9, and for the many thousands of readers we have inspired along the way! Hip Hip Hooray!


Long live stories!

The Science of Stories


What is the best thing about making Storytime? It is definitely sharing our favourite tales with our wonderful readers. (That’s you!)


We humans have been telling stories for many thousands of years – our ancestors were almost certainly doing this before the dawn of civilization. You might even call humans ‘the storytelling species’!


We love stories. You do too, we suspect! But have you thought about why stories are so engaging?


Scientists have been researching how our brains engage with stories and have made some fascinating discoveries! If you needed more reasons to read more stories, then these facts below might convince you for once and all that stories are the BEST way to teach and learn, having fun along the way.


1. Our brains are stimulated by stories!

Researchers can scan the brains of test subjects to see which parts activate when doing different activities. When people were given lists of facts, two parts of the brain lit up: the language processing and language comprehension centres.


But what happens when they read a story instead? Five sections of the brain lit up: the language processing and language comprehension centres, the motor cortex (the part of the brain that plans for and executes movement), the amygdala (which deals with emotions) and the visual cortex (which processes visual information).


This is because when we read a story we feel physically engaged with it (think of when you felt tense when reading a scary tale, for example), we also empathise with the characters and experience their emotions at second hand, and finally we can visualise the scenes and characters described in it.


This helps to explain why we find stories so engrossing – reading them stimulates large parts of our wonderful brains!


2. These experiences help us learn!

Because so many parts of our brains are activated when reading stories, we absorb and retain information from them more effectively than when we learn in other ways. But how much more effectively?


Twice as well? Ten times as well?


Research indicates that we actually retain information from stories up to twenty-two times better, compared to a basic listing of facts. When we read stories, our brains soak up information and make connections without even realising it and therefore it’s more likely they will stay with us for longer.


The Awesome Adventures tales in Storytime were created with this principle in mind. Rather than presenting dry facts about famous people, we chose to share cool stories from their lives that will hopefully captivate readers and connect them with the characters. It’s no coincidence that it is a very popular section where you can learn while having fun.


3. We develop relationships with characters and that makes us happier!

Have you ever felt a close bond with characters in a really involving story? Believe it or not, there is a scientific reason for that! When we read a story, our brain can release a chemical called oxytocin. This is a bonding hormone that causes us to care about the people in our lives.


Oxytocin can be responsible for making people feel as if they relate to fictional characters. When this happens, we feel more invested in stories and internalise what it is trying to communicate with us. The feel-good factor of stories is no coincidence, it also helps us to feel like we belong.


4. Stories are powerful because they combine entertainment and education

Reading stories is a fantastic form of entertainment, engaging many parts of our brains and connecting with our emotions. But this also makes them powerful tools for learning – when we are emotionally connected with what we are reading, we absorb information more effectively.


Think back to our ancient ancestors, trading tales around the campfire. They told stories to entertain and bond with other members of their group, but also to pass along knowledge and wisdom in a highly effective way. Through history there are many examples where stories were used to protect us from danger, to guide us through challenging times.


Stories unite us all, and that is the ultimate power. But having science to show us how much power makes us more determined than ever to keep sharing stories far and wide.


Here at Storytime, we like to think that we are continuing a tradition and also bringing it to new audiences. Stories provide entertainment, escapism and education… all at the same time. And the learnings we share through them won’t ever be forgotten.

Storytime Issue 108 Out Now!


A celebration of summer!

The arrival of the warm weather is always a reason to cheer up, and the latest issue of Storytime is full of tales that remind us of all the different ways we can make the most of this season! Find some shade or a nice place in the sun and sit down with issue 108 and enjoy reading for fun.


The eye-catching cover is by Hunor Fogarasi, comes from the fairy tale: ‘The Sun Horse’. This classic Hungarian story is set in a land that is shrouded in darkness, and the only light comes from the magical creature. But when the beast is stolen, a wise man and a young boy must go into the sunlit lands to find it. This story reminds us to make the most of the sunny days before the dark months return!



‘The First Coconut’ comes from the other side of the world – the islands of Samoa! It’s a wonderful story about a girl who befriends an eel and is given the gift of the world’s first coconut. Babi Wrobel’s vibrant tropical colours remind us to enjoy the special treats of summer while they last. What’s your favourite seasonal treat? Ours are juicy watermelon slices and delicious food grilled on the barbecue!



In summer, we have the chance to venture into the great outdoors and experience everything nature has to offer! That spirit of adventure can be found in ‘The Princess of Red Barns’, inspired by the childhood of Gertrude Bell. She would go on to become an explorer and cartographer and is one of the inspiring biographies in our popular Awesome Adventures section. The wonderful Aude Brisson illustrates her adventures in the gardens of her home, and we should follow her example while the weather is warm!


‘The Island of Flowers’ is the magical story of a fairy who blessed one of isles in the Azores with the most gorgeous blossoms. Cherish the vibrancy of the plants around us, because before too long the leaves will be falling as autumn approaches…Every season has its beauty, but Blu Pieraccioli used all the colours of the rainbow in her art and made this summer more beautiful.




After talking about plants, we can’t forget the animals! Ana Stretcu did a fantastic job of illustrating all of the creatures in ‘Louis’s Zoo’, a story inspired by real-life experiences. When his family moves to a new country, a little boy adopts many exotic pets not to be lonely and ends up running out of space. How many lovely animals can you spot running around in your local park?




Still on some animal wisdom, perhaps you are spending time with people from all ages and our fable ‘The Wise Rat’ is all about listening to the elderly! They always have something to teach us, and their experience is really valuable in helping us to navigate through life! Perhaps ask someone from your family to read this story with you and share some good old stories they know too! The talented Anna Laera illustrated the story of Gigi the cat and Old Jerome the rat with mastery!


No summer is complete without pirates! This month’s bedtime story takes inspiration from a classic: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Joel Cockrell rendered the characters in a vibrant style that makes them fresh while staying true to Stevenson’s book. ‘Ben Gunn’s Real Treasure’ is about what happens when the pirates get back to England and about the true treasures in life! This story should remind you to spend time with your friends and family this summer – it’s the perfect time to go on adventures and read stories together!


The heat is on in our latest myth: ‘Sekhmet and the Eye of Ra’ comes from Ancient Egypt. The goddess Hathor unleashes the power of the sun on the ungrateful people of that land and almost destroys it! The art by Damian Zain is suitably epic in scope – you haven’t seen a story quite like this one before! You might need to catch your breath after this one but why not cool down with the awesome puzzles and activities we have this month? It’s bound to get you busy and inspired and keep you talking and reliving the stories all month long!


If you are going on a long car journey, you can always order an extra back issue bundle of Storytime magazine to keep the summer reading ticking on! We have more than 8 awesome stories and there is something for everyone here in the Storytime shop.


Ahoy, Me Hearties! Enjoy a summer of stories and adventures!

Imagine That! The Power of Fantasy in Stories

The power of fantasy in stories


Fairy tales, fantasy epics and science fiction stories (like ‘The Racer from Outer Space’, from this month’s issue of Storytime!) and have been popular with readers of all ages for a very long time! However, whilst some people might see this kind of story as being ‘mere’ escapism that doesn’t teach us much… we believe they play an important role in making young readers fall in love with stories! Our Worlds of Wonder strand often features adventures in imaginary worlds, with fantastical characters. They have been very popular for many years so here is why!

We would like to share seven reasons why fantastic literature should be on everyone’s reading list!


The power of fantasy in stories

1. They ARE escapist… and that’s a good thing!

One of the appealing things about fantasy and sci-fi is that they do allow us to escape the mundane world for a time. We all need to relax now and then, especially in stressful times, and reading a tale about an epic quest in an imaginative world might be a healthier option than playing a game on a tablet or watching TV!



2. They stimulate the imagination!

Reading any book requires us to use our imaginations to visualise characters and settings, but tales of the fantastic take this to the next level. We can all imagine a letterbox or a car relatively easily, but conjuring up a picture of an alien or a princess who transforms into a swan is a rewarding imaginative challenge!


3. They increase mental flexibility!

Fantasy and sci-fi tales take place in worlds that differ from our own and work by different rules. Perhaps magic works, for example, or spacecraft can move faster than light. JRR Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, called fictional realms with their own consistent laws ‘secondary worlds’. Part of the fun of reading a fantasy novel is exploring a secondary world and discovering its secrets and rules. Engaging with a world that runs by a different logic to our own encourages us to think in new ways and come up with new approaches to problems!


4. They build new vocabulary!

The best way to build vocabulary is to read books that contain lots of new words! You can work out what they mean from context or keep a dictionary handy and look them up… Tales of the fantastic are often filled with new and interesting terms to discover. Need proof? Talk to a fantasy fan, and they are sure to know lots of cool terms for magical items or bits of medieval armour. Sci-fi afficionados, on the other hand, can tell you about high-tech concepts or facts about science and space.


5. They encourage us to think beyond the literal!

Science fiction and fantasy may be about different worlds, but the best ones also have profound things to say about the world we live in. They just use fantasy metaphors to communicate them to us! This means that fantasy can be more challenging than stories set in the ‘real’ world because readers must work out the messages that authors are trying to get across.


6. They deal with big themes!

Continuing from the last point, many fantasy and science fiction novels have profound and complex themes – they certainly aren’t ‘just’ escapism! A story that involves contact with aliens (like this month’s Storytime cover story!) makes us think about what it means to be humans and how we communicate with those that are different from us. Fantasy stories often ponder heavy themes such as the nature of good and evil and what we would sacrifice to protect the things we love. However, because these ideas are introduced in a fictional context and in fictional worlds, they can be more approachable to younger readers.


7. They open our minds to infinite possibilities!

As humans, we can imagine how things could be different, and then work towards making what we imagine a reality. Stories of the fantastic introduce us to mind-bending ideas and encourage us to think in new and innovative ways. It’s no mistake that many of the most successful entrepreneurs, innovators and creatives of modern times were enthusiastic sci-fi fans or fantasy gamers in their teens, as engaging with the fantastic encourages creativity. Many say that a love of fantasy and sci-fi might just have been their superpower. So encourage your kids to read fantastic stories… who knows where it might take them!


There should be no boundaries for which worlds you would like to visit while reading stories! We encourage you to go far and beyond, wherever your imagination takes you! And there are many places yet to be visited, so we hope to write about them all… and we truly hope you will join us!

Storytime Issue 107 Out Now!


What is best in life?

Legend tells us that the great Mongol warlord Genghis Khan asked his generals this question: ‘What is best in life?”


People have debated this question for a long time and have come up with no definitive answer! However, some scientists have suggested that the best and most fulfilling thing in life is to create something.


We here at Storytime Towers find it a joy to create a new and wonderful magazine for you each month, so we are inclined to agree! And as it happens, almost all of the stories in the latest issue of Storytime are about creating something amazing…


Our cover story, ‘The Racer from Outer Space’, is about three kids who team up to build a boxcar racer for a downhill derby race. Things take a sci-fi turn, though, when a UFO crashes into their barn and wricks their racer… can the alien pilot help them to rebuild it… or maybe give it a high-tech upgrade? This tale is about the joys of working with others, and we experienced this dynamic while developing the story. Artist Carlitos Pinheiro came up with some brilliant ideas for the design of the alien and his ship, as well as the other racers in the derby. We’re sure you will love them as much as we did.


For a story that is a bit more down to Earth (literally!), you must check out ‘Building the Future’! The fantastically named Isambard Kingdom Brunel was one of the greatest engineers and inventors of the nineteenth century, and if you live in the UK it is very possible that you have travelled through a tunnel, over a bridge or along a railway line that he built! He helped to make modern Britain with his creations, and this story is all about his incredible childhood. Buse Ustaoğlu combined historical research and great creativity to create the art.


This month’s bedtime story features an engineering marvel with a fairy tale twist. When the Billy Goats Gruff go to the seaside, they decide to build the biggest castle EVER! Guess who turns up to help? You’ll love the fun and characterful art of ‘The Billy Goats’ Sandcastle’, courtesy of the inestimable Jesga Machado.


‘The Cuttlefish’s Love Story’ is a classic tale by Baroness D’Orczy, an exiled Hungarian aristocrat who also created the dashing master of disguise known the Scarlet Pimpernel! This imaginative story is about a tentacled mollusc called a cuttlefish. He composes a beautiful underwater symphony so he can be near the mermaid he loves. This story is unique, and we needed a unique artist to illustrate it! Sara Gaiaudi was the ideal choice, as she is amazingly good and LOVES the undersea world. She really brought this tale to life.


Our latest fairy tale is a version of the tale of a distinct Italian flavour, which is only fitting as the title character in ‘Petrosinela’ is named after parsley! When she is kidnapped by an ogress and imprisoned, her mother makes a garden of parsley in her memory – remember, planting a vibrant garden can be an act of creativity, too! Giulia Lutri’s vision of what the characters look like are eye-catching and original, and will linger in your imagination.




We have featured previously stories of Anansi, the trickster spider-god found in many African tales in previous issues of Storytime. What does the tricky spider make in ‘Anansi Gets Hungry!’? A meal – out of dozens of gullible fish! We’re sure you will love this story, especially as it features vibrant African-influenced art from amazing Ani Manzanas!


‘The Three Dolls’ is a fable about something very near and dear to our hearts: storytelling! A king is challenged to find out the difference between three identical dolls. A wise man and a fool fail to figure out the difference, so a storyteller has to come up with the answer. The character design and Indian-influenced costuming in Blanca Martinez’s illustrations are a feast for the eyes and make this tale a treat.


Well, not all of the stories this month are about creating something! ‘Thor Goes Fishing’ is a Norse myth with a self-explanatory title, but that doesn’t make it any less fun! Rafael Gandine captures the fun and the action of this legend which includes Thor hooking a massive sea serpent that encircles the entire world!


Do you think that creating something is the best thing in life, and what is the best thing you have ever created? Let us know!

Grandparents The Real Superheroes


We humans are pretty amazing creatures, and there are many things about us that might be considered ‘superpowers’. Think about our wonderful creative brains, our ability to communicate complex ideas to each other, or even our amazing thumbs, which allow us to pick up and use objects with ease.


But anthropologists (scientists who study human societies) think that there might be another super-secret that helped us to become so successful as a species: grandparents!


‘Grandparents can be pretty cool,’ you might say, ‘and they might be great at telling jokes or fixing things or baking a Victoria sponge. But how are they super?’


Well, research seems to show that in hunter-gatherer societies grandparents helped raise children, gathered food using their knowledge, and passed on the many things they had learned in their long lives to the little ones.


I bet you’re wondering, “What does this have to do with stories?’ Well, we’ll tell you: grandparents often passed on their wisdom for stories! Storytelling by grandparents is the most wonderful human tradition and it goes back to before the beginnings of history.


But in many Western societies nowadays, we focus so much on the immediate ‘nuclear family’ (parents and their kids) that we don’t spend as much time with the extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents). But how nice it would be to encourage grandparents and grandkids to spend more time with each other? It could enrich both their lives immensely, and what better way to do that than by sharing tales?



When children are able spend quality time with the superheroes in their lives, Nanna and Grandad, we would like to encourage them to read together! Storytime has a variety of themes and stories to please everyone and help to build a bridge between both worlds: children can share their Worlds of Wonder and grandparents can share famous folk tales from Storyteller’s Corner with mastery! They can also share their favourite stories from when they were children or talk about things they have experienced in their lives!


Here are several benefits that sharing stories can have in the family:

  • Grandparents and grandchildren having the chance to spend more quality time together. The bond they will create through stories will stay with them forever.
  • Grandparents will get to pass on the things they have learned and share the family’s history. This can help the kids feel ‘grounded’ and strengthen their identity and sense of belonging.
  • Senior citizens often feel isolated in modern times, and this is a great way to counteract that! Reading time could become special for everyone involved and something they both look forward to. It can be something they also look forward too, where they feel connected and part of their family lives.
  • It also gives a helping hand to busy parents, and they too will enjoy knowing their kids are having such a lovely time with the extended family!
  • It is a very important part of forming a healthy habit of reading. By creating a routine of sharing stories, your child will always look forward to it. A lifelong love of reading is a gift, and it’s one they will never forget!


Kids learn best from the important people around them. Storytime was created with a mission in mind – to create stories families and friends would read, love and share. To encourage everyone to spend more time reading with kids, we have created a special READ TOGETHER pack.


It is full of tips and activities that will make shared reading more fun for grandparents, parents, carers, uncles, aunts and even older siblings! It can be downloaded for free here and make sure to share it with someone you care about!


It takes a village to raise a child and we truly believe reading together is an essential part of raising healthy and happy children! Can you think of a favourite story that your grandparents shared with you? Next time you meet the real superheroes in your life, don’t forget to thank them for all the wonderful stories they share!

Storytime Issue 106 Out Now!


Our Differences Make Our World More Beautiful!

The world is truly the most diverse and wonderful place. When we find each other and open up, our lives can be transformed and become more… colourful!


We celebrate these differences every month with stories from other cultures, featuring the most varied art and the greatest mix of characters any reader could wish for.  That’s what we’re giving a shout-out to this month. Our cover story sums it up so brilliantly well… and we think it was well worth shouting about it.


Our spectacular cover art shows a colourful bird, ‘The Enchanted Canary’, which brings joy to a grey kingdom. The little bird was rendered with amazing skill by artist Begoña Corbalan. The hero of the story not only brings the canary back home, he also brings exotic fruits and plants – and in so doing, transforms his homeland into a happier place.


‘The Red-Haired Girl and the Golden Sun’ is a similarly magical story that comes all the way from the Philippines. When young Aponibolinayen (pronounced apo-ne-bo-le-nae’yen) – say that three times fast and try not to giggle! – is snatched up into the sky by a growing vine, she is thrust into an adventure with the Sun. There are some twists and turns until they learn to deal with their differences, but the warm glow of their love for each other is hard to miss in Ingrid Costantino’s art!


The legend of ‘The Golden Chain’ is a wonderful Ghanaian tale about how the world was created! It features orishas, powerful spirits from that country’s mythology. The illustrations are by the hugely talented Sarah Hochsteiner, and her textures and patterns made it extra-special.


Sometimes it’s best to be proud of being different from each other, rather than pretending to be the same! That’s what the fable of ‘The Monkey and the Dolphin’ is all about. A shipwrecked monkey is rescued by a seagoing mammal, but when he tries to ingratiate himself by lying, things go terribly wrong! If the monkey had told the truth, the two different animals could still be friends and have a great conversation instead! Beatrice Xompero gives a playful feel to the story with her work.


‘The King’s Ears’ is another story about accepting yourself, and what makes us unique. We might sometimes fear it – like the king who is ashamed of an unusual feature, but when his secret is revealed, he finds the courage to be open about his appearance. And to his surprise the whole kingdom welcomes him exactly as he is! You will love Charles de Vito’s illustrations, which combine humour and pathos perfectly.



Through our differences we also have the power to change the world for the better! That is the message of ‘The Greatest Gift of All’, a true story about a girl who moves to a new place and transforms her new adopted homeland by building the world’s first university there. A sense of belonging is a way to bridge our differences, and something we all look for in life. Rócio Denarmen’s artwork is vibrant and full of life, transporting us back to North Africa in the Middle Ages.


And if you have not been to enough far and away places in this issue, we also take you to a Pacific Island where a very special and unique girl meets ‘The World Turtle’ and goes on a wonderful adventure!  The differences and wonders she sees inspire her to chance and protect our planet. This story is made even more inspirational by Èlia Meraki’s colourful illustrations.




Are all differences good? It depends! Sometimes the food and flavours you know are just fine! Henny Penny is happy with the good old corn, but her feathered friends are tempted by the exotic offer of a mysterious stranger. Will they fall for the new Wonderfood? You will have to read out bedtime story to find out! One thing is for certain though, you’ll love the lively and funny illustrations by Tania Ávila!


We are so lucky to live in a world in which we are all unique and have so much to share with one another! In Storytime the things that make us special will always be celebrated in stories – and a world of infinite different stories is an extraordinary place to be!

Heroes and Heroines


We all have our favourite fictional characters – you can probably name a dozen from myths, legends and popular culture! These characters can be iconic for years or even decades…. and some have had their stories told for a hundred years or more!


But what is their appeal? What makes some heroes and heroines stand the test of time? Studies say we like underdogs, the ordinary people who win against all odds. But other characters are popular because they are so amazing that they couldn’t possibly exist in the real world. Younger characters are appealing to kids because they can immediately identify with them – they are aspirational role models!


But there is one thing that all evergreen heroes have in common – they are fearless and funny and always find a way to win and go on another adventure! We have featured many of these eternal heroes in Storytime through the years, and they have entertained and inspired readers both big and small.


In honour of this month’s cover star, Robin Hood, we have decided to revisit some of our favourite heroes and heroines from past issues of Storytime. Have you read them all? If not, you can pick up any magazines you may have missed from our shop!


1. Robin Hood
Tales about the English outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor date back to the Middle Ages. He has been popular ever since – probably because a clever rebel who fights back against greedy rulers never goes out of fashion! Robin’s story has been retold in dozens of books, movies, TV series and comics, and there are certainly many more to come. We have had some fabulous and fun tales in four issues already …but we are not done with Robin yet. You can read his tales in Storytime 9, 38, 57 and 105!


2. Finn MacCool

Mighty warriors make great heroes – and they don’t get much mightier than Finn MacCool. When it comes to battling giants, he’s your man! He is an iconic character in Irish culture, and pops up in modern novels, plays and even songs… In our magazines, you will find out about his clever wife, the giant he defeated and the fish he cooked to gain wisdom! Find out more about Finn in Storytime 7, 29, 87!


3. Anansi
The spider god is a ‘trickster hero’ from West African myths, and his popularity has spread to the Caribbean as well. Tricksters often triumph over stronger foes using wit and cunning – and when we are facing trouble, we would all like to have the wit and cleverness of Anansi! Perhaps that is why he remains popular to this day? Stories about his deeds have been passed down for centuries, but he also appears in modern books, comics, TV series and music. Anansi has made us laugh many times and we reckon there are many more hilarious tales to uncover!
If you do not know about Anansi, read about him in Storytime 4, 51 and 107 (not out yet!)


4. Ariadne
Myths are full of evergreen heroes and heroines, and this Cretan princess appeared in a couple of Ancient Greek myths already – it was she who gave Theseus the tools he needed to defeat the Minotaur and escape from the maze he was trapped in! Ariadne was associated with intelligence and spinning, so she has inspired clever and creative women for thousands of years… Read some of her magnificent myths in Storytime 12 and 104!


5. Alice in Wonderland
Young Alice tumbles into a dreamlike world where even the strangest things appear to be real! The character was created by mathematician Charles Dodson (writing as Lewis Carroll) in the novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871). Her story has been popular ever since, and has been turned into movies, comics and even video games. What is the secret to her lasting appeal? It could be that we can all identify with a child who is caught up in a world that makes no sense – or perhaps we all like to visit a dream-world once in a while! Wonderland is so amazing that it has inspired several spin-off adventures in Storytime! You can follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Storytime 1, 21, and 78!


6. Aladdin
Aladdin is another child hero, this time from Arabian folklore (but he became famous in Europe after his stories were included in the book One Thousand and One Nights). He is a poor boy who makes his fortune after finding a lamp containing a genie! The dream of getting what you want through a combination of cleverness, luck and magic is very appealing, so it’s no wonder his story has been retold so often in books, movies and theatre! The exotic setting of this story inspired some fantastic illustrations featured in Storytime, and he even featured in our first-ever issue! Read how this beloved boy found his fortune in Storytime 1, 40 and 91!


7. Maui
Heroes and heroines come from all over, and we could not leave Maui off this list! Maui is a creator-god from Polynesian myths – it was he who tamed the sun and created New Zealand by hooking a great fish. He is a brave and creative hero who made life better for humans – no wonder he has been beloved among Pacific cultures for many hundreds of years! He has recently become more widely known in Western culture after he appeared in animated films. But he has always been popular in Storytime… and you can find why by reading his tales! Find out more about Maui in Storytime 20 and 48!


Who are your favourite evergreen heroes and heroines, and which ones do you tell stories about to your children? Who else should we have included on this list?


Tell us in the comments – we’d love to know who you would like to see featured in future issues of Storytime!

Storytime Issue 105 Out Now!


Travelling Tales!

Do you already have plans for the summer? Where are you planning to go? To the beach, the park, or perhaps a new town or even a new country? Or maybe you had no plans yet and if so… worry you not! You can certainly take a trip through the adventurous tales you will find in the latest issue of Storytime!


Our cover star is the famous outlaw of Sherwood Forest – and in ‘Robin Hood and his Merry Men’, he decides to help young Alan-a-Dale marry the lady he is in love with. Come to the forest trails with us and join his band! Many artists and filmmakers have depicted the roguish hero over the years, but we think Alberto Orso’s pictures are particularly special!


Would you like to travel by air instead? Then ‘High Fliers!’ is the tale for you! Talented author Amanda Brandon was inspired by the real-life animals that were sent aloft in a balloon built by the Montgolfier Brothers in September 1783 – but this story takes a different turn. Lu Maluje’s art lends a wonderful air (pun not intended!) of whimsy to the story of a sheep, a rooster and a duck that go up in a balloon made from bloomers!


Why not take a trek to Argentina, the setting of ‘The Girl and the Puma’? This classic South American story is about a Spanish girl who runs away from a besieged town and takes refuge with a wild feline in the Pampa landscape. Evelyne Duverne is the brilliant artist who brought these characters to life.


In ‘The Magic Book’, we follow the travels of Hans, a lazy boy who discovers some spells that can turn him into any animal. ArtSoluki are an illustration team, two talented brothers who brought their magic to these pages. Are you not mesmerized by their vivid artwork?





When it comes to real-life travelling tales, you can’t beat the adventures of pioneering tourist Marco Polo! When he was just a teenager, he went from Venice to China and the famous court of the Emperor Kublai Khan… and you can follow in his footsteps by reading ‘Marco’s Epic Journey’. The art by Alessandra Vitelli will make you feel as if you are actually visiting the exotic places he went to.



Still visiting exotic lands, our fable for this month is set in Africa, and Frida Leyva took inspiration from the ancient cultures of that continent when crafting the lovely artwork for it. ‘The Man Who Told the Truth’ is about a king who tries to trick an honest man – who do you think will come out on top?


How about a journey to the Netherlands and some tasty dairy? ‘The Cheese Thieves’ takes readers to the low countries, where they will meet a baby-stealing goblin and a clever granny. Yana Kozak illustrated this folk tale of mischief and melted cheese, and we are sure you can smell the fun!





Lastly, we will keep our readers feeling hungry for more! In our bedtime story you get the chance to venture into the woods with Saint George in ‘The Dragon’s Diet’. Otávio Valões’ bright and lively art perfectly complements this story about a monster who decides to go vegetarian – be sure to check it out!


We are sure this issue feels like many holidays in one! That’s the power of stories – every month you can go far and away without even leaving your armchair. We also hope these tales made you curious for exploring many more places with us. Read away, travellers and explorers of the story lands! Until our next adventure…