Storytime Issue 118 Out Now!

Pixel Power

Making New Friends!

Characters in stories often find valuable treasures, from magic rings to chests of gold and priceless family heirlooms. But the best stories are usually about something more valuable than any of these: friendship!

This is because true friends stay with us through the good times and the not-so-good times. They are a gift that never stops giving!

It just so happens that this issue is about friends of all kinds… here are the ones you will meet along the way…


Pixel PowerOur cover star is Pixel, a virtual character created by a girl named Gabbi. She loves coding and drawing, but has trouble making friends in her class. That’s why she decided to make one as a special project! ‘Pixel Power’ is about how she makes and gets to know her new friend.

This tale admits that it can be difficult to make human friends, especially if we have interests that are thought of as being a bit ‘weird’… but it is best to be true to ourselves while also being open to others. We’re sure you’ll love the beautifully vibrant art created by Vanessa Morales, who really brings little Pixel to life!


Alan Turing

‘Alan Cracks the Code’ is a tale with a similar theme! It’s a story about the childhood of Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician and computing pioneer who helped to crack vital German codes during World War II. As a young boy, he preferred maths and doing chemistry experiments to football, which meant that he stood out among his classmates.

But in the end, Alan did make a friend who was almost as brilliant as him! Any kid who feels a bit lonely sometimes can take inspiration from his story – and the sweet illustrations by the talented John Joven, of course!


The Barefoot Princess

One of the best things about having friends is that they can open us up to new experiences. That’s what happens in ‘The Barefoot Princess’… Meribel (the main character in the Hans Christian Anderson story ‘The Princess and the Pea’) gets invited to go on a hike with her friends Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Her sensitive feet get sore in her hiking boots… so the other princesses encourage her to go without! The painterly art by Ayla Valiyeva gives a fun and fresh take to these classic characters that you are sure to love…


Samba the Coward

True friends have our back, even if we’re not perfect! ‘Samba the Coward’ is an African tale about a prince who lacks courage, even when bandits threaten the kingdom! He befriends a princess, and when she discovers that he lacks courage, she doesn’t abandon him.

She accepts this part of him and helps him to overcome it, as a true friend should. The illustrations for this story are absolutely spectacular – Kandice Johnson took inspiration from the historic African kingdom of Benin, and they are full of colour and life!


Inanna goes to the underworldFriends also help us out when we’re in trouble! Inanna was the ancient Sumerian goddess of love and fertility, and she makes a serious mistake when she goes to visit her sister in ‘Inanna Goes to the Underworld’.

It turns out that goddesses of the underworld don’t like to let visitors leave their kingdom. Fortunately, her faithful maid Ninsubur is able to save her, with help from some kindly spirits. Elena Iarussi is responsible for the gorgeous and appropriately dreamy art…


These five stories are about how wonderful friendships can be… but there are also three stories in this issue about what can happen when we take our friends for granted and don’t treat them well!


The basket of eels‘The Basket of Eels’ is a Maori tale set in New Zealand. The inhabitants of a fortified village are lucky enough to have a giant spiky lizard as a guardian, and they give it delicious grilled eels every day as a thank-you.

But when the chief’s grandkids get greedy and gobble up these treats, their scaly friend gets most upset! We were lucky enough to get Julia Hegetusch to illustrate this story – she comes from New Zealand and captured the beauty of the New Zealand landscapes and Maori culture perfectly.


Another story on the theme of treating friends with respect is ‘The Giant of Lake Batur’, which takes place on the island of Bali in Indonesia. The title character is Kibo Iwa, or ‘Brother Buffalo’ – he is a huge fellow with a huge appetite!

He can do an enormous amount of work, but throws terrible tantrums when he isn’t fed enormous meals. How do the people of Bali cope with such bad behaviour? You’ll have to read the story to find out! Artist Wastana Haikal is from Indonesia, and his portrayal of the vibrant colour and beauty of Bali is a sight to behold. (He also helped by giving us the correct name of the title, too!)


The cuttlefish and the squidThe third story with a message about upsetting people through bad behaviour is ‘The Cuttlefish and the Squid’, an undersea fable from the Philippines. The king of the ocean holds a meeting to give honours to his most favoured subjects… unfortunately, the molluscs of the title arrive late, push to the front and then squirt ink all over everyone.

Being rude is no way to make friends, as they learn! Yogesh Mahajan rendered dozens of wonderful undersea lifeforms for this story. Can you spot them all?


We hope you enjoy all these stories. Perhaps they will encourage you and your little ones to think more deeply about their own friendships and why we should cherish them? Please let us know who is the favourite friend you met while reading this issue!