If issue 66 of Storytime has a theme running through it, it is that actions have consequences! This is perhaps the most important lesson we must learn in life.
Storytime Issue 66 – Cause and Effect!
Of course, all stories are about consequences – when you get right down to it, what is a story but a sequence of actions and their results, happening one after the other? Some stories are particularly focused on teaching lessons on dealing with the repercussions of one’s actions (that’s what fables are all about!), but any story can serve as a springboard for a discussion. When discussing a story, why not ask your child about what might have happened if a character had taken a different course of action?
Our first story, Annie McMarvellous, written by the talented Josette Reeves, with fun art by Rayanne Vieira, is about a young magician-in-training who disobeys instructions when practicing a new spell. This leads to the literal disappearance of her mother’s favourite rabbit, and Annie puts considerable effort into making things better again. She serves as a realistic role-model – she makes a mistake (as we all do!) but makes sure to put things right, albeit with unexpected consequences.
Vain Victor, a poem by Clifton Bingham, with art by Inês da Fonseca, is a more conventional fable-type tale: the titular character spends so much time preening in the mirror that he transforms into a peacock! This story could serve as a starting point for a discussion about focusing too much on appearances instead of accomplishments.
The Norwegian folk tale The Interrupted Wedding with brilliant art by Uliana Babenko, ties into this idea as well. When a young maiden receives a marriage proposal from her beau and a beautiful wedding is suddenly prepared, she feels something is wrong – and learns that she has been hoodwinked by the faerie folk called the huldrefolk. Needless to say, not everything is as it appears!
Barracuda Boy, masterfully illustrated by Guille Rancel, is Storytime’s first tale from the island nation of Vanuatu. When two brothers make a friend while swimming in the ocean, they invite him home – but after they feel jealousy about his skill with a bow and arrow, their resentment drives him away, where he transforms into a barracuda. Why not talk about how the brothers acted, and how they wish they would have acted differently at the end of the story?
Rumble-Mumble Goose Egg, brought to life by Louis Wiyono, is an epic story of action and adventure starring a tremendously strong hero with an appetite to match! In some ways this story asks us questions about what it would be like if a mighty hero actually existed – and how much trouble he would make for anyone he worked for! At first the king is pleased to have him at his beck and call – until the hero’s meal bill comes in, and the king is forced to try to get rid of him! Why not read this story and discuss what it might be like if superhuman heroes REALLY existed?.
The Elephants and the Moon is an animal fable set in Africa, beautifully illustrated by Yvonne Campedel. There’s a drought on the Savannah, and the Elephants are hogging the only water-hole! Though this is an old story, it is perhaps more relevant than ever in this time where resources are becoming scarce. Why not have a talk about the consequences of the big and powerful claiming things for themselves, and where this leaves those who are less fortunate (and might not have a cunning hare to help out)?
Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the most powerful love stories of classical mythology, brought to life with stunning artwork courtesy of Valeria Abatzoglu. Orpheus journeys to the underworld to bring back his beloved, but when he disobeys the instructions of Hades, there are heart-breaking consequences. Why not discuss the points at which this tragic tale might have taken another turn?
Our latest Storyland instalment, Gretel and the Secret Cave, illustrated, as always, by the redoubtable Giorgia Broseghini, involves a hunt for a terrifying-sounding monster. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and when the ‘monster’ is found, it is an unexpected hero who saves the day, and the heroic princes are left looking a little foolish. Why not talk with your child about the assumptions the princes made, and how this affected their actions? What is the best way to avoid getting into this kind of situation?
That’s it for this month! I hope you and your little ones enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it! Be sure to share with us on social media – we’d love to hear your thoughts on our latest issue!