It seems impossible that another issue of Storytime magazine is out already, yet here it is – Storytime Issue 21 with a bold and fantastic Frog Prince cover by Michelle Ouellette!
This is a landmark issue for us because we’re celebrating publishing 150 stories for kids, delivered through the letterboxes of avid young story lovers in homes and schools in over 30 countries! To all the parents, grandparents, teachers and kind souls who’ve subscribed, we thank you and we salute you. Two years ago, when we were developing Storytime, the idea of celebrating 150 stories was a distant but hopeful dream. We are so delighted and appreciative to still be here, sharing stories for kids we hope you treasure, showcasing the very best illustration talent in the world, proliferating reading for pleasure, and hopefully making many happy memories. This is what it’s all about for us. Thank you.
As we’re celebrating, we thought we’d look back on the many tales and poems we’ve published so far and pick out ten of our favourite stories for kids from 21 issues of Storytime. It wasn’t easy (we’re already feeling guilty about all the wonderful stories and illustrations we haven’t squeezed in), but here they are…
10 Favourite Stories for Kids from Storytime!
1. Finn MacCool (Storytime Issue 7) – I’m a sucker for laughs and triumphant underdogs, so loved Finn MacCool and his clever wife Oonagh outsmarting the giant Benandonner. And there’s a bit of the Giant’s Causeway legend thrown in too. Tim Paul’s illustrations also captured the spirit of the story perfectly. (Me, the ed!)
2. Monkey Hats (Storytime Issue 13) – For the same reasons as above, I adore Monkey Hats, which sees a troop of monkeys surprise a young hat seller (and the reader) with their guile. Monika Filipina’s illustrations for this are a playful delight. (Me)
3. Stone Soup (Storytime Issue 11) – There are variations of this quietly powerful folk tale all over the world. One man manages to bring a whole community together in the most subtle but effective way. It should be compulsory reading. Look out for the work of Victoria Maderna too! (Me)
4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Storytime Issue 6) – This is one of my well-loved stories from childhood and it’s also very funny. The illustrations by Oscar Senonez are just incredible. (Leslie, our marketing director.)
5. The Great Gilgamesh (Storytime Issue 11) – This is by the same illustrator as Gawain, but in a different style. It felt quite audacious to take the first great work of fiction and put it in a children’s magazine. My taste in stories has always been very myth and legendy! (Leslie)
6. Brer Rabbit (Storytime Issue 19) – I really like the bonkers upside-down bear – it adds a level of craziness. Plus the story has a real fun factor. (Leslie) I love Maria Karipidou’s colour palette, the simplicity and the composition of the scenes. It’s playful and modern too. (Lu, our art director)
7. Snow White (Storytime Issue 16) – Fairy tales can be the biggest challenge in Storytime, as they are so well known, so it was exciting to see how Flavia Sorrentino gave this classic a modern edge. It feels new, yet recognisable. (Lu)
8. The Wind and the Sun (Storytime Issue 12) – Aside from the fact that Luke Flowers’ sun rocks, this fable about a boy versus the elements has always stuck with me – especially with the great British weather conditions! (Lu)
9. The Four Dragons (Storytime Issue 10) – It’s a very powerful Chinese myth. I love the idea that you can look at a map and see the story – and imagine the rivers as dragons. Lucye Rioland’s illustrations were also so beautiful and painterly. (Lu)
And last but by no means least…
10. Animal Fair (Storytime Issue 11) – We must have a poem in our top 10, and it was great fun creating two extra verses for this old skipping rhyme. One reader told us: “I’m so happy to have two more verses to sing!” But Tim Budgen’s illustrations really made this special – his sky diving flamingo and lion in hair curlers were perfectly pitched for our young readers. (We all chose this one!)
We also got some feedback from our Storytime readers on their favourite illustrations and stories for kids from our first 21 issues.
Some Storytime Reader Favourites
How Rabbit Got Long Ears (Storytime Issue 3) – “It’s just a nice story. I think the pictures are beautiful – they’re a very nice interpretation of animals. The’ve got patterns in their fur instead of being realistic.” (Millie, aged 8.)
The Wooden Bowl (Storytime Issue 6) – “Oh that’s a lovely illustration, I love that one. The kimonos look really good. They’ve done a lot of detail and it’s really pretty all the way through.” (Rebecca, aged 7.)
The Velveteen Rabbit (Storytime Issue 9) – “The illustrations for this are simply the most adorable thing we’ve ever seen.” (Rob, dad of two.)
Three Billy Goats Gruff (Storytime Issue 10) – “It brought back loads of happy childhood memories reading this.” (Alison, grandmother to five children aged seven and under.)
Hans the Rabbit Herder (Storytime Issue 12) – “He laughed out loud at the king kissing the horse. He still asks me to read that story at least once a week.” (Sarah, mum to Alfie, aged 7.)
Odin’s Quest (Storytime Issue 16) – “The kids love myths and the whole shape-changing, snakes and eagles thing was fascinating to them. I loved the colours in the illustrations, so I didn’t mind reading it over and over again.” (Rachel, mum of three.)
Bambi (Storytime Issue 18) – “She wanted the cover on her bedroom wall, but we didn’t want to rip the magazine, so we had to buy an extra copy! It’s in a frame next to her bed.” (Jacqui, mum to Flo, aged 5.)
Are you a Storytime subscriber? Do you agree with our round-up? What have we missed out? We’d love to know what your favourite story has been so far and why. Not because we’re nosy (okay, we’re a little bit nosy), but so we can give you more of what you and your children love. We want to offer stories for kids that engage, inspire and delight! You can let us know via Twitter or Facebook – we always love to hear from you.
And if you’re not a subscriber, do you realise how much story fun you’re missing out on? You should most definitely subscribe today! After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the next 150 stories, would you?
Thanks for celebrating with us and for your support. Here’s to hundreds more stories and wonderful illustrations too!
See you soon!