Every month, we carefully craft each issue so that it has something for everyone – the usual favourites and a few surprises to keep everyone engaged! We often get asked where our ideas and stories come from… so this month, we’d like to give you a peek into the creative process behind our Easter edition!
Storytime Issue 92 – The Making of our Spring Issue
Seeing as it’s Easter, we wanted to bring you a seasonal story to match! The German fairy tale The Easter Hare fits the bill perfectly – it’s a sweet story about two siblings who encounter the legendary animal who makes chocolate eggs for kids to find on Easter morning. We found this tale in a collection of stories by a lady called Margaret Arndt, but we put our own twist on it so our readers could enjoy it now! The vintage settings and atmosphere was something we wanted to keep from the original story, and Gülşah Alçın Özek did a wonderful job to the briefing! Her illustrations combine modern vividness with a lovely traditional look – be sure to check them out!
We topped up the chocolate eggs, continuing with the Easter theme in our bedtime story. The Little Red Hen’s Surprise! is about farmyard friends getting together to help the title character when she becomes ill. It’s illustrated by one of our very favourite artists, Giorgia Broseghini – who has now illustrated over 40 stories for us so far! We’re sure you will enjoy this one – she made sure to cover it in chocolate too!
Still talking about food but this time, rice cakes instead of Easter Eggs! We have wanted to tell the classic British tale of King Alfred and the Cakes for quite a while – and it really fit in with this issue! It combines a historical background with a fun lesson about how we must pay attention to the little things as well as the big things in life! Júnior Caramez was chosen to illustrate it, and he did it brilliantly, bringing out the humour in the tale.
Another story that we have been wanting to do for ages is that of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It’s a true classic – who can forget the ‘Open, sesame!’ line that opens the cave that the thieves kept their loot in? The problem was, in its original form it is really very dark in places, so we had to find our own twist on it and we hope you like it. Ali Baba and his Brother is funnier and more upbeat than the original, and the bright and cheerful art by the talented Pamela Wehrhahne complements it perfectly.
We like to travel far away to find stories so we continue all the way to an African fable! The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise is a fable set in a lush African jungle full of interesting animals, and it features distinctive (and gorgeous!) art by Rebecca Bagley. Her animals are sure to make everyone giggle – and there are many details to spot in each one of them! We were so glad to find an artist of her talent for this story!
We then went to South America, to find our myth this month! The Creation of the Moon is a traditional Aztec legend about the hero Huachinog-vaneg and his quest to light up the night. Of course, ‘Huachinog-vaneg’ is a bit of a mouthful, so we shortened it to just ‘Hua’ in the magazine so you can read along! In the story, he is assisted by a rabbit, which we thought would be a nice tie in with Easter! Though there are no chocolate eggs in this story … the rabbit is a great friend to Hua and a bit of a superhero in the quest! Rendering art for stories set in a distant culture is a challenge for any illustrator, but Mai Ngo did amazing research and brought this myth to life convincingly.
Nikola Tesla is famous as one of the most visionary inventors of the past two centuries, and he was chosen as the subject of this month’s real-life story – adding sparkles and a sense of adventure to the issue! The Electric Boy chronicles Nikola’s childhood, and the inspiration he found both at school and in the world around him. He was a pioneer in the use of electricity as a power source, so it’s no surprise that he still inspires modern inventors, particularly those working in the field of sustainable energy. The wonderful Astrid de Souris took a unique approach to the art for this story – inspired by classic Japanese animation, which is made this story truly special!
And finally, we have our cover story: Ka and the Wolf. Our original fiction about life in the Stone Age has been in production for quite some time! The theme of friendship was our choice for My Mind Matters! so we thought it would link well to this tale! Ka is a boy from a nomadic tribe in the Ice Age who must team up with an unlikely ally to survive.
We wanted to give readers a feeling of what life would have been like for our ancestors and did a lot of research to get the details right! We wanted an exceptional artist to bring this era to life, and we are delighted to have Lavanya Naidu in this issue. You may have previously seen her wonderful art in How the First Letter was Written in issue 73. She can do amazing art set in any era though, have a peek at her portfolio to see it for yourself.
Once all the stories are grouped together and commissioned, we start to plan all the fun and activities that will go with each issue. The puzzles feature colouring, games and quizzes for each and every story and our Teaching Resource pack this month will look into the Stone Age life in depth. We learn so much with every edition, and by the end of it we are ready for the next one! What will the May issue bring? You will have to stay with us to find out!
Happy Easter dear readers! May the Easter Hare be kind and generous with you all!
The Storytime team