The all-new Storytime Issue 26 is out this week and, just in time for Halloween, our cover star is Baba Yaga the witch, brought to life in great style with wonderful colours by rising illustration star, Zoe Persico.
- She flies around in a mortar, scooting along with the help of a pestle.
- She has skinny, bony legs. (We love her knobbly knees in this story.)
- She lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs.
- The chicken legs can hop and spin around.
- Her sidekicks are two black geese – and occasionally three horsemen: one white, one red and one black.
What’s not to like? We love a traditional witch, but we thought Baba Yaga, with her quirky name and character, made an interesting change, and will be new to a lot of our readers. We hope you enjoy the story and cheer on Dmitri and Irina, as they try to escape from her bony clutches!
<h3>What else is Inside Storytime 26?</h3>
Sticking with a weird and wonderful (and slightly spooky) theme in this issue, we’ve got a truly traditional folk tale from England. The Green Children of Woolpit is a supposedly true story and mystery rolled into one. It has suitably wacky and creative illustrations from Leandro Lassmar.
Plus, we have the mighty Peach Boy. Known in Japanese legend as Momotaro, he joins forces with a dog, a monkey and a pheasant to defeat some deeply unpleasant ogres. All with the help of dumplings! This story teaches a valuable lesson about how working together and friendship can help you overcome problems. Possibly even ogres! Quang Phung Nguyen skilfully illustrated Momotaro and friends.
For something quite different, we have an abridged version of Mary Hewitt’s classic cautionary poem, The Spider and the Fly. Printmaker Toby Rampton provided the illustrations and works with a limited colour palette to great effect. If you’re a school subscriber, this month’s free resource pack gives you lesson plans for this fantastic poem, plus fun activities too. (You can get more free resources here!)
This issue’s fable is a clever tale. Hidden Treasures makes a convincing case for the value of hard work. Make up your own mind on that one! It should trigger some interesting discussions anyway. John Joven‘s colours in this illustration are just gorgeous. Also check out the animals in his portfolio.
We’re also delighted to have illustrator Marine Gosselin returning to our pages with stunning illustrations for the Middle Eastern tale, Gazelle Girl. Marine previously illustrated a Nepalese story for our October 2015 issue, which featured witches with backwards feet! What I love about Gazelle Girl, aside from the gazelles, is that she uses storytelling to bring truth and justice. Hoorah to that!
Finally, we are thrilled to feature a book extract from one of the most unique characters ever created – Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, with original 1954 illustrations by Ingrid Vang Nyman. At the time, her illustration style was considered to be groundbreaking. See more of them here. We have to thank Connie at Oxford University Press for her help, and huge respect to the genius that was Astrid Lindgren.
All that excitement packed into one issue, plus puzzles, activities and recommendations for our favourite Halloween books too! If you don’t subscribe already, think of all the great stories you’re missing! (Don’t worry, you can subscribe here in a flash and be join our gang!) Have a sneak peek here if you want to see more.
We hope you enjoy Storytime 26 – as ever, a whole lot of research and love has gone into it.