Friday, November 25, 2011

The Story Vine

I keep a bunch of baubles on a necklace which I call my story vine. Each token represents a story that I can tell--my story vine helps me remember what I know! I will continue to update this post with links as I have time...

Circle of Love Stories

Here are a few longer, quieter stories. They are mostly appreciated by adults and older children because of their subtle social commentary and philosophical themes.

”In Those Days”
A queen’s love for a flower gives rise to a law that exists for centuries. From a short story by Eleanor Farjeon.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Flower, military, law, government, time, history, geography, beauty

A Japanese Fairy Tale
Neighbors wonder why a beautiful woman is happily married to a repulsively ugly man. This bittersweet love story explores the ancient Shinto belief that the kami, gods of Japanese mythology, predestine the love affairs of people. Adapted from a book by Baruch Zimmerman and Jane Hori Ike.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Love, destiny, Japan, beauty, ugliness, marriage, life before birth, self sacrifice, Shinto, Izumo temple, O-Kuni-Nushi

Savitri’s Quest
In this tale of ancient India, a young woman undertakes a journey to rescue her husband from Death. Derived from Hindu mythology, this story is found in the Mahabharata, India’s great epic cycle of literature and legends that was written 2000 years ago.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Love, death, India, Yama (Hindu god of death), Hindu mythology, Mahabharata

Circle of Campfire Stories

My favorite spooky stories usually have a surprise ending that makes them more funny than scary. These are chilling tales for older kids that can be “lightened up” for younger listeners.

Red, Red Lips
“It was a dark and stormy night, and there was a knock at the door…”

Old Bess
A man futilely attempts to avert a fortune teller’s dire prophecy.

In a Deep, Dark Wood
Take a trip through the universe, the galaxy and our solar system on the way to a deep dark corner of a deep dark closet.

Teeny Tiny
This famous English jump tale is kinda creepy, but mostly silly.

The Ghost of the Two White Eyes
I first heard this story during recess (or maybe at a slumber party) when I was in elementary school. I was really happy to rediscover it years later in a library book.

The Body in the Barn
Based on a true(ish) story told by my great grandfather (by all accounts he was a liar.)

It Floats

Pourquoi Stories & Trickster Tales

Traditional “pourquoi”—or “how & why” stories--and trickster tales--in which clever heroes outwit their opponents--are among the oldest stories ever told and they are found all over the world. The basic structure of these tales is easy to emulate, so they make wonderful story starters in the classroom.

The Story of Io
Poor Io! Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, flirts with her and then turns her into a cow to hide her from his wife, Hera. Now Io is stuck in the body of a cow and Hera has Io in her clutches.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Io, Zeus, Argus of the hundred eyes, Hera, Hermes (trickster), Greek mythology, peacock, pourquoi (how & why), Isis (Egyptian goddess)

”The Beginning of the Armadillos”
If you have ever seen an armadillo, you know that it’s one of the strangest looking animals on earth. In his Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling pays tribute to pourquoi folklore by imitating its language and cadence. This tale tells why and how the first armadillos came to be and can be told with or without puppets.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Turtle/tortoise, jaguar, hedgehog, South America (Brazil), armadillos

Rabbit & Crocodile
Many cultures have pourquoi stories that explain how & why rabbits have short tails (or long ears!) This one is from Japan.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Japan, island, crocodiles, how & why, pourquoi, rabbit, trickster

Nine in One…Grr Grr / Save the Tiger!
A how & why story told by the Hmong people of Laos. Adapted from a book by Blia Xiong & Cathy Spagnoli.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Tiger, sky god, Laos, Hmong, Southeast Asia(?), how & why, pourquoi, endangered species, predator, prey

Coyote & Lizard
In this southwestern trickster tale, Coyote the trickster is himself outwitted by a mother lizard.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Native American, trickster, Apache (Dineh), Hopi, Ute, coyote, lizard, sunflower, desert, small vs. big, weak vs. strong, escaping

Just for Fun Stories
I learned to tell these stories just because I like them.

The Girl Who Could Think
In this tale from China, a clever young bride overcomes the challenge of a rash promise and reaffirms her devotion to family. Can be told with or without paper folding to illustrate how the riddles are solved.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
China, Korea, origami, paper folding (fan, lantern, flower), family, shrewd daughter-in-law, petulant mother-in-law, riddle

The Peddler
A poor peddler listens to a dream which leads him to a treasure. This story comes from Jewish, English and Irish traditions.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Treasure, dreams, bridge, tree, shopkeeper, Jewish, Irish, English

Marushka and the Month Brothers
An oppressed heroine overcomes obstacles through hard work and a good attitude. This is a traditional eastern European tale from Slavic folklore.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Eastern Europe (Russia, Czechoslovakia), courtesy, value of hard work, seasons, bonfire, violets, strawberries, apples, blizzard, snow, January, March, June, October

The Story Bag
Not only is it selfish to keep a story all to yourself, it can be downright dangerous. In this Korean tale, a young man learns a lesson about respecting the story spirits.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Korea, Cambodia, storytelling, tradition, story spirits

The Soup Stone
When selfish townspeople refuse to share their food with a hungry traveler, the traveler gets his revenge—or does he? (Told straight up or with a twist…ie. A rock collector has a station wagon full of rocks and a town of busy families that eat out too much need some good, home-cooked food.)
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Variants of this story are found in the folklore of Sweden, Yugoslavia, England and other European countries. Hans Christian Anderson even wrote his version. Aesop?

The audience stands up to act out the hunt of the Jabberwock and we discover together that the nonsense of Lewis Carroll makes the best sense of all. This poem first appeared during a conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Creative movement, pantomime, group participation, nonsense, language

Yay! Boo!
An original nonsense yarn adapted from American folklore. The audience helps keep things moving with a “Yay!” and a “Boo!” Great fun for all ages.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Audience participation, pilot, airplane, haystacks, pitchforks, humor

The Mosquito & the Story Weaver
For thousands of years, storytellers from many cultures illustrated their tales with string figures (think “Cat’s Cradle”). Here, a storyweaver loses the thread of her narrative when a story turns into a pesky mosquito.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Africa, Pacific region, Europe, Papua New Guines, Inuit, string, mosquito, storytelling

The Squeaky Door
Sleeping over at Grandma’s for the first time becomes a slightly alarming (and very silly) adventure for a small child. Noisy kids in motion help bring this story to life!
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Grandmother, sleepover, family, cat, dog, cow, audience participation, carpentry, sound effects

The Tailor
Bit by bit the tailor cuts down his worn out clothes until he has nothing left but a story. Derived from a traditional Jewish folktale, most recently retold in the picture books Bit by Bit, by Steve Sanfield(?) and Joseph had a Little Overcoat, for which Simms Taback won the 2000 Caldecott Medal.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Thrift, making the best of things, something from nothing, Jewish

Naughty Marysia
Russian nesting dolls act out the story of a mischievous little girl and her family. Preschoolers love helping everyone in the family find their way home. Adapted from a story by Anne Pellowski.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Nesting dolls (matryoshka/matrioska), Russia, size, memory game, group participation, sequencing(?)

Circle of Story Songs
Sometimes a story is a song—and everyone can join in!

Little Rabbit Foo Foo

Willy the Whistling Giraffe
From an old LP recording that I listened to as a child.

Circle of Moon Stories & Songs

A great supplement to a school unit on the moon, this cycle of stories & songs lasts about one-half hour when told all together. Good for a group of mixed ages.

A story-making experience in which the audience helps figure out a way to convince the foolish characters in the story that the moon has not fallen into a pool.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Ceylon, England, Turkey, Poland

The Rabbit in the Moon
Have you ever seen the Man in the Moon? People from various cultures around the world, including Native American and Asian peoples, tell stories to explain why they see a Rabbit in the Moon. This story is a Jataka tale, one of the 500(?) teaching tales from the Buddhist tradition which is based on the mythology of ancient India.
Genres, characters, cultures and themes:
Visualization, India, Shakra the sky god, rabbit, monkey, otter, figs, fish, self sacrifice, generosity, friendship, fire, , Buddha, charity

“Wynken, Blynken and Nod”
Audiences of all ages remember and love this rhythmic lullaby written by children’s poet Eugene Field in 1894.

I See the Moon
“I see the moon and the moon sees me and the moon sees the one that I long to see. So I wave to the moon and the moon waves to me and she waves to the one that I long to see.” --Adaptation of an old song

Hey Diddle Diddle
The cow still jumps over the moon in this slightly rap version of the famous nursery rhyme.

Circle of Old Favorites
These familiar stories are just right for little ones, and everyone is welcome to join right in! Many of these “fairytales” can be “fractured” for older audiences.

The Three Little Pigs
“Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!”
“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!”

Jack and the Beanstalk
“Fee Fi Fo Fum”

The House That Jack Built
A cumulative story that the audience can pantomime, with or without flannelboard characters derived from Arthur Rackham illustrations.

Henny Penny
Told with or without a flannelboard.
“Where are you going Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey?”
“We are going to tell the queen that the sky is falling!”

The Three Little Kittens
Lots of drama here—mewing, crying, purring, etc.

Going on a Bear Hunt
Together, we take a lively journey through grass, mud and water to a big, dark cave.

1 comment:

Jeff Wignall said...

I can't believe you typed all of these out, I'm so glad that you did. The library should put your story vine on display in a showcase on the main floor. me