Appearances can be deceptive – both in the real world and in this month’s stories! If our latest issue teaches us anything, it’s that you can’t always judge things by first impressions… and that’s part of the fun of reading a good story, isn’t it? There’s nothing quite as thrilling as something unexpected. If you are willing to join us in a quest for adventures, from the Scottish moors to galaxies far, far away and even to Ancient Greece, please fasten your seatbelts and read on!
Storytime Issue 99 – Take a Second Look!
We take off with a classic fairy tale, a Scottish one called The Elfin Knight. It’s about a curious and brave girl named Janet who is determined to meet the mysterious warrior of the title. She must deal with shape-changing fairy magic – and the story takes an unexpected turn that we won’t spoil here! What we can tell you is that Spring Nguyen casts an enchantment of her own with artwork, and it sparkles out of the pages into the real world.
We shall also always be kind and be wary of judging by appearances in the real world, too! The true-life tale this month is about a boy called Stephen who didn’t like doing homework but liked taking things apart. Some of his schoolfriends thought he would never amount to anything, but you will be amazed by what he achieved.
This story has a lesson that we can learn forever – let’s never judge the ones around you too quickly, because there is always a lot of promise in each one of us! Marie-Pierre Oddoux’s beautiful and characterful illustrations for Working Out the World help us to see reality from Stephen’s point of view.
As you might have noticed, we in the Storytime team are big fans of a good board game. Everything can change with the roll of a dice! That’s literally what happens in The Quest for Home!, illustrated by the incredibly talented Bi Aguiar. Joe and Dylan try out an old game when the WiFi goes out – only to find themselves transported into the game world by enchantment. They must take on unexpected roles, and you will never guess who ends up becoming the Mighty Knight.
We take playing games very seriously and in this issue we also have a playtime’s favourite: Savoury Dreams is about hide and seek, where the whole idea is to appear that you are not there! Hansel and Gretel are masters in the art of hiding but perhaps Hansel’s appetite will spoil the game for him! Margherita Grasso’s highly detailed images light up this fun little tale with a foodie twist.
The Lion with Red Eyes is a Somali story about a cub who is kicked out of his home because he is judged by the way he looks. Not many lions have eyes that glow like flames in the dark… But did he deserve it? You will get to decide in this thrilling tale, featuring the striking illustrations of Dominque Ramsey.
A farmer’s wagon is stuck in a ditch – and then the strongest hero in the world comes wandering down the road. What do you think will happen? Let’s just say that the lazy farmer learns an unexpected lesson in the fable of Hercules and the Waggoner. The only thing we know for sure is that the art of Chiara Vestrucci is incredibly lively and fun!
You will need big lungs to read this story out loud! The Boy with the Long Name, stars a lad called (take a deep breath!) Tala Bini Bendo Toko Miki Sembu Chima Chimena Kit Kit Kuki Mizi Pizi Hala. He is very proud of his name because it is very long and impressive – but as this funny tale makes clear, having a long name has some unexpected down sides. Reading this story out loud could be a really fun challenge! Sahitya Rani really enjoyed coming up with the colourful and cartoonish art, and we love the results of her classic techniques!
Finally, a heart-warming tale of a blanket that is a lot more than it looks like. The old blanket-weaver spent all of his time weaving or gathering dyes and materials for his creations, but nobody realised he was creating the most beautiful gift of all! Be enchanted by this Native American legend, Old Qanah’s Gift. Chau Phan faced the challenge of creating illustrations that would live up to the gorgeousness of Qanah’s creation, and did a phenomenal job!
We hope you found joy, surprise and enchantment in every story in this issue, and perhaps in the end we have all changed a little bit as well through the stories we read and share. When you go out into the world, try to look beyond your first impressions and appearances. You never know what wonders you might discover! Happy stories, and happy discoveries folks!
The Storytime team