Sunday, June 30, 2013

Storytelling and The Storyteller

When my husband and I went back to school to work on our Master's degrees we were fortunate enough to be able to take a few classes together. One of my favorite was a storytelling class. I had been a teacher for about two years and loved reading to my students, but I don't think I ever told them a story until I had this class.

Not only we were responsible for reading a lot of folk and fairy tales, but we were also tasked with telling stories to our fellow classmates. This was the scariest part for me. Growing up I loved to sing. I sang for a number of recitals, solos, competitions and performed at some events for different organizations. However, getting up in front of my peers to tell a story really terrified me. So, I did found stories I could sing. It was the easiest way for me to tell my stories in a manner that not only suited my personality, but also my cultural heritage.

My favorite story that I told (sang) was The Massacre of Glencoe. During the early morning hours of February 13, 1692, in the Highlands of Scotland, specifically Achnacon, Invercoe, and Inverrigan, thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Glencoe Clan of MacDonald were killed in their homes by their own house guests. The reason for the massacre, they had not been prompt in pledging their allegiance to William and Mary. In addition to the thirty-eight slaughtered in their homes, forty women and children died from exposure to the freezing temperatures after their homes were destroyed by fire.

The Old Banjo
by Dennis Haseley
My husband, a very talented musician, chose to tell the story The Old Banjo by Dennis Haseley. It is a wonderful story where a banjo in an old farm house attic reminisces about all of the instruments  and the beautiful music they made together. It is a very moving story that reminds me of the poem by Myra Brooks Welch, "The Touch of the Masters Hand". He masterfully paired the story with beautiful banjo music to enhance the telling of the story and I am mesmerized to this day by his re-telling of this amazing story.

Another assignment given to us during this spring semester class was to attend the Tejas Storytelling Festival in Denton. I don't think we had ever heard of the festival, let alone attended. If I'm not mistaken the festival had only been going on for eight years. We had a wonderful time! I think we would both agree, our favorite storytellers at the event were Donald Davis and Barbara McBride-Smith. They were phenomenal! Every time I see a CD of their storytelling I have to get it. I just love their accents and their way of telling.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller

Well, this all started when I received an eBook edition of Jim Henson's The Storyteller, a graphic novel which was originally released in December of 2011. For those who loved the television series back in the late 1980s you will love the the interaction between the Storyteller and his faithful companion, Dog, at the start of each of the stories. In this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, there are nine stories. They include the following:

  • "Old Nick and the Peddler", a Scandinavian folk tale, adapted and illustrated by Roger Langridge
  • "The Milkmaid and her Pail", an Aesop's Fable, adapted and illustrated by Colleen Coover
  • "An Agreement Between Friends" a Romanian folk tale, adapted and illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos
  • "Old Fire Dragaman" an Appalachian Jack Tale, adapted by Jeff Parker, and illustrated by Tom Fowler
  • "Puss in Boots" a French fairy tale, adapted by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer
  • "The Frog Who Became an Emperor" a Chinese folk tale, adapted by Paul Tobin and illustrated by Evan Shaner
  • "Crane Wife" a Japanese folk tale, adapted and illustrated by Katie Cook
  • "Momotaro the Peach Boy" a Japanese fairy tale, adapted by Ron Marz and illustrated by Craig Rousseau
  • "The Witch Baby" a Russian folk tale, adapted from a screenplay by Anthony Minghella, script by Nate Cosboy, and illustrated by Ronan Cliquet
This graphic novel eBook would make an excellent addition to any library's digital collection, especially because of the variety of tales provided within. I was only familiar with two of the tales ("The Milkmaid and Her Pail" and "Puss in Boots") but I enjoyed reading all of the stories. I believe readers of all ages will not only find the stories entertaining and engaging, but the illustrations by the different artists diverse and intriguing.

*To comply with new guidelines introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Archaia Entertainment, LLC has provided a complimentary electronic copy of this book through

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