In good times and in less-good times, we humans need other people. It can be for help and support – or to share joyful events! This month’s Storytime is full of stories about the ways in which we connect with others.
Storytime Issue 93 – Things That Bring Us Together
Egbert is the star of our modern-day tale, A Troll’s Day Out. As one might expect, he is cranky and grumpy and lives under a bridge like most trolls do. But when he is driven out by his mum’s spring cleaning, he finds his way to the park, and makes some friends! Playing with them changes his mood for the better, and it turns out to be a special day he will never forget. As Egbert discovers, connecting with others can expand our horizons and make us happy.
A Troll’s Day Out features the winning picture from our Happiness Is… competition. It was created by the very talented Romeesa Adil (aged 6), from the Arab Unity School in Dubai. Congratulations to Romeesa, and a big thank you to everybody who entered the contest! Andres Hertsens created the fun art for this tale, and his design for Egbert is quirky and cool!
Holidays become really special when we get to spend them with friends, and that is the theme of Holidays with Heidi (inspired by the classic novel Heidi by Johanna Spyri). Klara goes to the countryside and the girls go on an alpine adventure. What makes this bedtime story especially lovely are the illustrations by Giorgia Broseghini. She lives near the Alps herself, and her love for the landscape really shines through.
Another holiday-centric story is The Mooncake. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in that country, and little Hao loves to share it with his granny. She enjoys his company and gives him a tasty mooncake as a treat but his brother has his sight on it. Anastasia Zababashkina uses her incredible skills to create art for this story that is just as sweet and light as a mooncake!
But while enjoying a cake by yourself can be nice, it can be even more pleasant to share it with someone. That is the idea behind The First Strawberry, a legend from the Sioux people. The first man and the first woman argue, and the woman leaves their home – but the sun creates berries in her path to try and stop her! When the woman tastes the fruit, she hopes to share it with the one she loves. Why not take a leaf from their book and share a treat with someone you like today too? Alisa Kosareva’s art for this tale is positively luminous – you could swear that you could reach out and taste the strawberries!
Welcome to Lazy Town! is a story with a moral about how life is better when we work together. That’s a lesson that the people of Lazy Town must learn the hard way, as they can’t be bothered to pick up their litter or even cut up a tree that falls on the main road. Hanna Harris provided the bright, fun artwork, which shows us how the determined mayor manages to motivate the inhabitants. Great leaders can bring us all together – and be inspiring!
A similar theme can be found in the Greek myth of The Contest of the Gods. The snake-tailed hero Cecrops becomes the king of a group of warlike tribes and convinces them to unite and build a mighty city. It is so grand that two gods compete to be its guardian, in fact! Special credit must go to Gabriel San Martin, who brings the mythical age to life with his illustrations.
Creativity and wonder are in our real life tale this month! A Head Full of Colours tells the true story of famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Though he had talent from a young age, the New York native discovered graffiti by teaming up with schoolfriends and making his own mark on the city. His vibrant murals bridged the gap between fine art and street art and is still inspirational today. To illustrate this story, we chose to work with Leandro Lassmar, whose own wonderful creations are partly inspired by Basquiat. We hope you find them as amazing as we do!
And lastly, we have the cover story of The Curly-Tailed Lion. Though it is set hundreds of years ago, this tale of a lion who becomes a celebrity in the Netherlands is still relevant in this age of social media! The lion becomes very popular, but soon finds himself stressed as people make more and more demands of him. It is only when his looks fade and ‘lion-mania’ dies down that he finds happiness with a lioness and friends who love him for who he is. There is a lesson there for all of us – being popular is OK, but it’s no substitute for real friendships!
The art for this story is by the phenomenally talented Ukrainian artist Julia Cherednichenko. We will have an exclusive interview with her in this month’s second blog – look out for it! She will give us a great insight into her stories, her inspiration and how art is important to us all in the most difficult times!
The Storytime team