This month we would like to give you a ‘peek behind the scenes’ and talk about how we created the latest issue of Storytime. We hope you find this blog and the magazine interesting!
Storytime Issue 83 – Ready for Action!
The first thing you’ll notice when you rip open the envelope is the cover star. He’s the title character in the tale of The Monkey King. This story is adapted from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, and to say that this story is influential is an understatement! The story of Monkey and his friends is hundreds of years old, and it has inspired a popular TV series, the Dragonball cartoon, a series of Lego sets and even a rock opera by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt. Capturing that special ‘monkey magic’ was a challenge, but illustrator Hugo Cuellar did a spectacular job of bringing action, humour and colour to this epic. He gave us a fresh but faithful take on Monkey, his friends, and the strange creatures that they encountered!
The Chariot Race was submitted to us by Amanda Brandon, and we leaped at the chance to publish it. Kids are taught about the Roman era as part of the history curriculum, and it makes a great setting for stories. Amanda did excellent research, and also gave us relatable characters and thrilling action. Artists Ernest Sala and Mado Peña provided amazing visuals of a bygone time and rendered characters that we can care about and relate to. And if your kids are inspired by the excitement of chariot racing, they should definitely try the boardgame on page 48. It’s full of Roman-style thrills and spills!
Nadia, Who Dreamed of Flying! is set in more recent times and our nod to the Summer Olympics! It is about the childhood of famed gymnast Nadia Comăneci, and we could even use her own autobiography as reference when telling her story. Illustrator Roberta Bordone was able to watch TV footage of Nadia winning gold with a legendary ‘perfect 10’ performance at the 1968 Olympics. Our team at Storytime tells a story that will hopefully grip young readers while staying true to the athlete’s legacy.
The Sister of the Sun is a classic fairy tale with many tried-and-true ingredients: a young hero on a quest, a cunning fox companion, and wicked but easily fooled giants. We decided to give it a modern twist by commissioning Kim Zavesky to illustrate it. Kim brought a modern, slightly comic-bookish feel to the story which we hope you will like!
We love fables here at Storytime, and The Elephant Who Lost her Patience is a great one! It’s about a talkative ant who decides to take up residence in an elephant’s ear and won’t shut up! I’m sure that we can all identify with how that poor elephant must feel… Artist Azbeen livens up the story with fresh, fun artwork.
There is a craze for all things Scandinavian these days, from TV programmes to interiors, so you shall not be surprised that we have included a Scandi summer story in this issue. The Sea Lord’s Gift is a sweet folk tale from Finland about an elderly couple who live in a tiny shack on a little island and receive a magnificent cow from a certain powerful being. Eleonora de Pieri did the most wonderful job mixing whimsy and wonder in the artworks!
The next story takes us Down Under, for a legend set in the mythical Dreamtime before humans came to Australia. The Great Drought stars many of our favourite Australian animals, who try to solve an ecological crisis by getting a greedy frog to laugh. Artist Dnepwu was faced with the task of drawing a dozen different animals with varied personalities, and needless to say we were ecstatic with the results. One thing you will notice is that some of the creatures use modern items like bush hats or electric fans. We discussed this artistic choice at length, and decided to go with it as it made the animals relatable and added some extra humour!
When coming up with new bedtime stories, we like to set each other creative challenges! This month, the challenge was to come up with a fun story featuring Cinderella’s siblings. The Step-Sisters imagines what life is like for the twosome after Cinderella moves out. We won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say that it has a positive message about how good it is to get exercise! Giorgia Broseghini has been providing illustrations for us for our short stories and modern fairytale, and her work on this story is up to her usual impeccable standards.
We hope you enjoyed these little insights into how we created this issue. There’s a lot of research and attention in every issue – so we would love to know which story was your favourite this month. Let us know below. And that is it from us today! Happy reading!