John Lennon once told us that “”Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – and I’m sure we can all identify with that at the moment. Even six months ago, I don’t think any of us would have thought our summer would be quite like this!
Unpredictability is a big part of life – and a big part of stories! If this month has a theme, it’s that we should expect the unexpected!
Storytime Issue 71 – Expect the Unexpected!
The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is a retelling of a classic short story by the wonderful Mark Twain. Burly lumberjack Big Jim Smiley loves the unexpected because it gives him something to bet on – but his plot to win money with his trained frog goes wrong when the trickster gets tricked by a stranger! Aleksey Zhdanov captures the humorous spirit of the tale in his illustrations.
Real life can be even stranger than fiction, as The High Life, this month’s Tale from Today, shows. It’s based on the true story of a fox named Romeo who made a home for himself in London’s tallest skyscraper while it was under construction – and managed to avoid capture for quite a while! Illustrator Zhanna Bulankova adds a real sense of wonder to this quirky tale.
We all have great potential within ourselves that can surprise those who would underestimate us, and that is a theme that runs through The Story of Pan, this month’s classic myth. Who would have thought that a goat-legged being who was so ugly that his own mother ran away from him would become so beloved of the Greek gods. Pan’s adventures feature magical art by the redoubtable Miss Paty.
In The Wise Little Girl, the Tsar of Russia himself makes a mistake by underestimating the wit and wisdom of a simple peasant girl. This clever and funny story will certainly think twice about smugly thinking you are better than someone else! Emanuela di Donna’s art really brings medieval Russia to life.
The Dragon’s Tail is a story of action and adventure set in a real place – the Dragon’s Gorge in Germany. When Helmut and his friends go exploring the gorge in search of the mythical monster that is meant to lurk there, but they in out that he is not what they expected! The rollicking action (and the awe-inspiring dragon!) are captured masterfully in the art by Alejandro Mesa.
This month’s Storyland Adventure, Moon River Melody is illustrated as always by the wonderful Giorgia Broseghini. This tale takes us below the water as the Pied Piper and a new friend find something large and unexpected lurking in the depths.
When it comes to embracing the unexpected, the titular hero of Beppo Pipetta is the master! This Italian folk hero and trickster is happy to ramble through life without worrying about anything – and this is made easier by his magic knapsack, which can swallow anyone who disagrees with him. But what will happen when he loses his enchanted bag? Find out in this quirky story, with art by Francesco Zito.
Sometimes in life though, we expect the unexpected. This month’s poem, The People Upstairs (by Ogden Nash, with great art by Susanna Rumiz) is about noisy neighbours. We can expect them to be noisy – but we can never be sure what form the next commotion will take!
We hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, with all its plot twists and unexpected events. Dealing with the unexpected can be intense, but change is a part of life, and can make things better. Can you think of totally unexpected events in your life that transformed it for the better? If so, tell us in the comments below.