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Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts

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Stories, Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends,
Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts


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Caldecott Medal and Honors Winners - Children's Books 1938-2010
Wordless Books for children 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 years old
Books and Stories for children 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 years old
Kindle Books for children ages 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 years old
Toys, Games, Activities for children 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 year olds
Stuffed Animals for children 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 year olds
Online links to stories/activities for 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 year olds
SOS - Searching Out Stories/Info for 1-3, 3-5 and 4-8 year olds
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers & Librarians

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Storytelling and Educational Resources & Information for
Teachers – Librarians – Storytellers – Homeschoolers
Environmentalists – Parents – Grandparents


For a complete list of Caldecott Medal and Honors Winners for children's books
from 1938 through 2010,
(129 choices - searchable site)
click on this link:
Caldecott Medal and Honors Winners in Children's Books 1938-2010


Flotsam (Caldecott Medal Book) by David Wiesner. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
This book finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings. At the seaside, a boy holds a magnifying glass up to a flailing hermit crab; binoculars and a microscope lie nearby. The array of lenses signals the shifting viewpoints to come, and in the following panels, the boy discovers an old-fashioned camera, film intact. A trip to the photo store produces astonishing pictures...

Frog on His Own (Boy, Dog, Frog) by Mercer Mayer. (2003 - Baby-Preschool)
here are the final three classic wordless tales in attractive, low-priced hardcover editions. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, the first book in this series, launched Mercer Mayer's distinguished career over twenty-five years ago, and also helped to create the wordless picture book genre. Full of warmhearted mischief and play, the books express the humorous trials and tribulations of friendship and the joy of summertime discovery.

Lion & the Mouse (The) by Jerry Pinkney. (2009 - Ages 4-8)
In this wordless adaptation of one of Aesop's most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he'd planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher's trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.

Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman. (2007 - Ages 4-8)
It can be lonely sometimes on a rainy day in a big house with no one else around and there’s only the quiet to keep you company. But if you find a key, a mysterious key, that leads you to an unexpected place . . . chances are your afternoon is about to get a lot more interesting.

Red Book (The) (Caldecott Honor Book) by Barbara Lehman. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
A magical red book without any words. When you turn the pages you’ll experience a new kind of adventure through the power of story. In illustrations of rare detail and surprise, this book crosses oceans and continents to deliver one girl into a new world of possibility, where a friend she’s never met is waiting. And at the conclusion of the story, the journey is not over.

Zoom (Picture Puffins) by Istvan Banyai. (1998 - ages 4-8)
Open this wordless book and zoom from a farm to a ship to a city street to a desert island. But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For nothing is as it seems in Banyai's mysterious landscapes of picture within pictures. Full color.

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For a complete list of wordless books for 3-5 and 4-8 year olds
(Over 400 choices - searchable site),
click on this link:
Wordless Books for Children 3-5 and 4-8 Years Old




Book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the books and stories.
To retell the stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always give credit to your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

500 Five Minute Games

Best Stories for Five-Year-Olds

Creating Child-Centered Classrooms

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel. (1990 - Ages 4-8)
Anansi the Spider happens upon an unusual stone that magically puts him to sleep for an hour. The master trickster decides to use the rock to get the food stores from the rest of the local residents. Each animal is taken in turn to the strange moss-covered rock, says the magic phrase, and promptly falls asleep to have its food pilfered by Anansi.But Little Bush Deer silently watches everything...

Anansi and Turtle Go to Dinner (Story Cove: a World of Stories) by Bobby and Sherry Norfolk with Baird Hoffmire (illus.) (2008 - Ages 4-7, Pre-K to 3)
Anansi knows the custom that he must share his food if he has a guest at a mealtime. So when Turtle drops by before dinner, Anansi must be polite and invite Turtle to join him. Anansi, however, figures out a way to trick Turtle and keep all the food for himself.

Banza, The: A Haitian Story by Diane Wolkstein. (1981 - Ages 4-8)
When Tegora, a little tiger, and Cabree, a little goat, find shelter together during a fierce storm, they become fast friends. As they part, Teegra gives to Cabree his family banza, a little banjo, and tells her, "It will protect you. The banza belongs to the heart, and there is no stronger protection than the heart." Before long, Cabree finds herself in grave danger and discovers that her banza does indeed have very special powers.

Barking Mouse (The) by Antonio Sacre. (2003 - Ages 4-8)
Mamá, Papá, Sister, and Brother Ratón go for a picnic on a beautiful day. After a delicious lunch of medianoches and lemonade, Mamá and Papá smooch—eeewww!—and Brother and Sister must find something to do. And what could be more fun than teasing the cat behind the fence? But the fence isn't as high as they think! Faster than they can say, "Adios, Gato!" Brother and Sister are racing back to Mamá and Papá with the cat in pursuit.

Billy Brown and the Belly Button Beastie (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Billy Brown doesn't believe in monsters. That is, he doesn't until one night when his belly button is stolen by the Belly Button Beastie! Now Billy Brown must figure out a way to get his belly button back!

Celebrate the World: Twenty Tellable Folktales for Multicultural Festivals by Margaret Read MacDonald. (1994)
20 tellable folktales for culticultural celebrations.

Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe. (Preschool-K)
All the ways for people on the go to get where they're going. Mayo includes race cars, trains, buses, planes, and even hot-air balloons. Each bright spread features a new vehicle and four lines about the sounds it makes and the way it moves.

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis. (Baby-Preschool)
"Sun's up! / Morning's here. / Up and at 'em, / engineer," cheerfully begins this rhyming picture book. As the simple large-lettered text chugs along, a child's playroom and train set come to life with bold, bright illustrations. The toys bustle about to make sure the steam engine is loaded up with freight and finds its way to its destination--the city.

Clickety Clack by Rob and Amy Spence. Audio Cassette. (1999)
A little black train goes down the track. Clickety clack, clickety clack. There are chatting yaks, seven tumbling acrobats, a troupe of ducks going quack quack quack, and even some elephants on the little black train going down the track. With each new stop, the train gets more and more crowded, and noisier and noisier. Unfortunately for Driver Zach, two little mice give him a headache attack!

Crazy Gibberish: And Other Story Hour Stretches by Naomi Baltuck.
(1993 - Ages 4-8)
Easy-to-use sourcebook of chants, songs, action stories, riddles, jokes, tongue twisters, and participation games, including The Snow Queen With The Cold Cold Heart. These "two-minute miracles" are just some of the tricks the author uses to successfully engage her young audiences.

Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand. (2002 - Ages 4-8)
"Down by the station, early in the morning," before any visitors arrive, who exactly is riding that zoo train? Hop aboard and find out! The train chugs merrily along, picking up baby animal passengers. But beware! There's danger in the pond beside the tracks.

Easy-To-Tell Stories for Young Children by Annette Harrison. (1992)
This collection of 12 lively tales was created especially for teachers, librarian, parents and others who tell stories to young children. Adapted from traditional folktales and fables from around the world, these stories combine learning and fun.

Faulkner (Keith)

Big Bugs! by Faulkner & Holmes. (2003)
Do You Have My Quack? A Book Of Animal Sounds by Faulkner & Hefferan.
Giraffe Who Cock-A-Doodle-Doo'd (The) by Faulkner & Lambert (illus). (2002)
Hiccuping Hippo (The) by Faulkner. (2004)
Mouse Who Ate Bananas (The) by Faulkner & Tyger (illus). (2001)
Santa's Surprise
by K. Faulkner & J. Lambert. (2003)
Wide-Mouthed Frog (The): A POP-UP BOOK by Faulkner & Lambert. (1996)

Fat Cat, The: A Danish Folktale by Jack Kent. (1987 - Baby-Preschool)
A cat grows fatter and fatter as he eats everyone he meets.

Fisherman And His Wife, The by Brothers Grimm. (1992 - Ages 4-8)
The four traditional tales are The Fisherman and His Wife, Jorinda and Joringel, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Peter and the Wolf.

Freight Train/Tren de carga
A bilingual edition of the classic Caldecott Honor Book for the youngest child. Choo choo! A train is passing by! Can you count the cars? Can you name the colors? Where is the train going? There's only one way to find out—all aboard the freight train!

Freight Train Board Book (Caldecott Collection) by Donald Crews. (Preschool-Grade 2)
A multicolored freight train comes down the track. Each car is named from the back forward, with its appropriate color: red caboose, orange tank car, yellow hopper car, etc., until the black engine is reached. As strong in the bilingual edition as it is in its English-only original, this is ideal for introducing trains, colors, and the concept of fast and slow to preschool and early elementary students, and perfect for ELL programs.

Galdone, Paul. Books. (plus many more)

Cat Goes Fiddle-i-Fee
Gingerbread Boy Book (The) & CD (Read Along Book & CD)
Henny Penny
Little Red Hen (The)
Three Bears (The)
Three Billy Goats Gruff (The) Big Book

Three Little Kittens
Three Little Pigs (The) (Kindle edition)
Teeny-Tiny Woman (The)
Turtle and the Monkey (The) (Philippine Tale)

Goodnight Train (The) by June Sobel wilth Laura Huliska-Beith (illus).
(2006 - Ages 4-8)
All aboard for Dreamland! Hold on to your pillow because the Goodnight Train is taking off. Roll that corner, rock that curve, and soar past mermaids, leaping sheep, and even ice-cream clouds. You won't want to miss a thing, so whatever you do, don't . . . close . . . your . . . eyes!

Gunniwolf (The) by Wilhelmina Harper with Barbara Upton (illus). (2003)
A classic—beloved by readers, storytellers, and teachers. Unavailable for years, it is back with fabulous new illustrations by Barbara Upton. Its vibrant, rhythmic read-aloud text-sprinkled with dialect-tells the story of Little Girl, who is forbidden to enter the jungle for fear of meeting the Gunniwolf. But when she does...

Horton Hatches the Egg (Classic Seuss) by Dr. Seuss. (1940 - Ages 4-8)
Poor Horton. Persuaded to sit on an egg while its mother, the good-for-nothing bird lazy Maysie, takes a break, Horton does not know that Maysie is setting off for a permanent vacation in Palm Springs. He waits, and waits, never leaving his precarious branch, even through a freezing winter and a spring that's punctuated by the insults of his friends—but he is rewarded in the end by the surprise birth of... an elephant-bird.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (Picture Puffins) by Alison Jackson with Judith Byron Schachner (illus). (2002 - Ages 4-8)
An old woman arrives at a home with a Thanksgiving pie, but she soon eats it and everything else in the house before she finally admits that she's full.

Inside Freight Train by Donald Crews. (2001 - Baby-Preschool)
Hop on board and see what's inside the freight train! Slide apart the sturdy pages of this unusual board book to reveal the contents of the cars. The refrigerator car keeps apples, peaches, and pears cold and fresh, while the tender carries coal that burns in the fire box, and--everyone's favorite--the caboose holds the train crew that helps deliver the freight.

I've Been Working on the Railroad: An American Classic by Nadine Bernard Westcott. (1996 - Ages 4-8)
The lyrics form the text, while the illustrations offer a mild storyline, in which a boy and his dog ride up front with the engineer as the train pulls out of a city station, travels through the countryside, and stops for a visit at Dinah's Cafe. But it's not the plot that makes this book sing; it's the spirit of the illustrations.

Jerome by Philip Ressner and Jerome Snyder. (1967)
The story of a frog who wishes he were a prince. When a witch pretends to turn him into a frog, Jerome proudly announces his new identity to the townspeople. However, they are skeptical, and ask him to prove his royalty by performing three daring and tricky deeds. Jerome succeeds through brains, not brawn, and since he does as a prince would do, the people decide he is a prince—just one who looks amphibian!

Joining In: An Anthology of Audience Participation Stories and How to Tell Them by Teresa Miller and Norma J. Livo. (1988 - Ages 4-8)
Now in its fifth printing, this anthology features stories by Heather Forest, Doug Lipman, Norma Livo, Anne Pellowski, Diane Wolkstein, Bill Harley, and 12 more tellers. The stories are from African, Indian, Native American, and other cultures; some are original. Each of the 18 stories includes notes by the contributor on how to encourage the audience to participate in the telling of the story.

Lazy Jack (2002 - Ages 4-8)
A mournful princess sits at her castle window. Meanwhile, Jack, probably the laziest person in the world, is sent out to work by his mother. On his first day he is paid a shiny coin, but he drops it on the way home. "You should have put it in your jacket pocket!" cries his mother. So the next day, having worked for a dairyman, he pours the jug of milk he is given in payment into his jacket pocket! In fact, he always follows his mother's most recent advice when bringing home his day's earnings, and it results in the most ridiculous scenarios. But carrying home the donkey makes the mournful princess laugh, and that really is a good thing!

Other Lazy Jacks:
Joseph Jacobs's "Lazy Jack", a Picture Book
Lazy Jack by Jacob, Wilkinson.
Lazy Jack by Bert Dodson.
Lazy Jack by Vivian French.

Little Engine That Could (The) by Watty Piper and Doris Hauman with George Hauman (illus). (1978 - Ages 4-8)
Beginning a whole generation of self-help books, Wally Piper's The Little Engine That Could is one of the greatest tales of motivation and the power of positive thinking ever told. In this well-loved classic, a little train carrying oodles of toys to all of the good boys and girls is confronted with a towering, seemingly impassable mountain.

Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (The) by Linda Williams with Megan Lloyd (illus). (1988 - Ages 4-8)
Kids stand up for this and act out the shoes that go clomp, clomp, etc. The humor of the little old lady's fearless attitude and her clever solution as to what to do with the lively shoes, pants, shirt, pumpkin head, etc., that are chasing her, will enchant young audiences.

Little Rooster (The) and the Diamond Button by Celia Barker Lottridge with Joanne Fitzgerald (illus) (2001 - Baby-Preschool)
One day a little rooster who is pecking on the road, finds a magic diamond button. An evil sultan desperately covets it even though his palace is filled with precious stones. He enlists three foolish henchmen to help him, but the rooster returns in triumph to the old woman who owns him.

Lizard's Song by George Shannon. (1992 - Baby-Preschool)
Bear was the kind who, when he wanted something, took it. And what he wanted was Lizard's song. Lizard was happy to share it, but somehow Bear just couldn't seem to get it right. Also available in a Spanish-language edition, La Cancion del Lagarto.

Mitten (The) by Jan Brett. (1989 - Ages 4-8)
A Ukrainian boy named Nicki wants his grandmother Baba to knit snow-white mittens for him. She warns her grandson that a white mitten will be hard to find if he loses it in the snow, but he promptly does just that! What happens next is the surprising part...

Mitten (The) by Alvin Tresselt with Yaroslova (illus). (1989 - Ages 4-8)

Mortimer (Classic Munsch) by Robert Munsch. (1985 - Baby-Preschool)
Mortimer Spanish Edition (Munsch for Kids)
It's Mortimer's bedtime, but he would much rather sing his rowdy song. Mom, Dad and even the police can't get him to quiet down, until they become so distracted by each other that Mortimer drifts off to sleep.

Mouse God (The) by Richard Kennedy. (1979)
A vain and lazy barnyard cat makes a coat of mouse skins to protect his fur while chasing mice. The mice consider him their god and trust him to send them to heaven.


Mr. Putter & Tabby Take the Train by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard.
(2000 - Ages 4-8)
Elderly Mr. Putter has mixed emotions about elderly Mrs. Teaberry's ideas, which are sometimes rather peculiar, involving "running fast or wearing feathers." But this time her suggestion of a train ride, with their respective pets in tow, seems perfect. Unfortunately, the ticket agent isn't enthusiastic: "Pets can't go on trains." Is this the end of what could be a wonderful day? Certainly not.

My Puffer Train by Mary Murphy. (1999 - Ages 4-8)
Penguin sets off for the seashore in his puffer train, and along the way he invites a variety of animals to come on board. Vibrant, childlike illustrations paired with a simple rhyming text are guaranteed to have little ones toot tooting, puffa puffing, and choo chooing long before the last page is turned.

Night Train by Carol Stutson. (2002 - Ages 4-8)
A majestic, streamlined locomotive sweeps into the pages of this striking picture book and a little boy climbs aboard for a nighttime journey. Through the countryside and on to the city, passing farms and houses and trucks on the highway, the journey is seen through the wide-open eyes of a child taking his first train trip.

Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Caldecott Honor Book) (Caldecott Honor Book) by Simms Taback. (1999 - Ages 4-8)
From cover to moral (never swallow a horse), this cleverly illustrated version of an old folk favorite will delight children. Each page is full of details and humorous asides, from the names of different types of birds, to a recipe for spider soup, to the rhyming asides from the spectating animals. As for the old lady, with her toothy grin and round bloodshot eyes, she looks wacky enough to go so far as to swallow a horse...

Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Classic Books) (Classic Board Books with Holes) Pam Adams (U.K.) (2000 - Baby-Preschool)
Board book for young children, 16 pages, holes for fun viewing.


Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly... and More Stories That Sing (Scholastic Video Collection) (DVD ~ Narrated and sung by Cyndi Lauper - Release date March 2009)
Fresher and more hilarious then ever is everyone's favorite poem about the silly old lady with the ever-expanding stomach who swallowed everything from a fly to a cat to a cow to a horse.

Old Woman And Her Pig (The) by Paul Galdone. (1960 - Baby-Preschool)
When her newly bought pig won't go over the stile, an old woman tries to enlist the aid of some reluctant helpers so that she can get home that night.

Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin (The): A Bengali Folk Tale by Betsy Bang and Molly Bank. (1975 - Ages 4-8)
A retelling of an Indic folktale in which a skinny old woman outwits the jackal, bear, and tiger who want to eat her. Kids can join in the song and growl for the animals.

Old Woman Who Lived In a Vinegar Bottle (The) by Margaret Read MacDonald. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
Oh what a pity, what a pity pity pity! With this refrain, the old woman in the vinegar bottle complains until she gets a cottage ... then a row house ... then a mansion ... How far will she move up before she's satisfied?

Peace Tales, as retold by Margaret Read MacDonald. (2005 - Ages 9-12)
Maybe it's the king who spills honey, and then says it is not his problem until it causes a war. Or maybe it's some sandpipers and whales who get into a foolish fight that almost destroys their homes. Perhaps it's the man who thinks that a gun makes him strong, or the monkeys who follow their leader into water that's too deep.

Polar Express (The) by Chris Van Allsburg. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
The tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole. A 1986 Caldecott Medal winner.

Ready-To-Tell Tales (American Storytelling) by David Holt. (1995)
Anyone who has watched a master storyteller mesmerize an audience without benefit of set, props, or musical score, has wondered: How do they do that? The trick, this anthology tells us, is in the material. And the 40 contributors should know. They are some of America's most popular storytellers, each of them sharing a story guaranteed to work in front of the most demanding audience.

Rooster Brother by Nonny Hogrogian. (1974 - Baby-Preschool)
A clever boy continually frustrates three bandits who stole his rooster.

Shake-It-Up Tales! by Margaret Read MacDonald. (2000)
As any good storyteller knows, audience participation often makes the difference between a so-so story and a terrific tale. Here are multicultural riddle stories, improvisational stories, singing tales, tandem tales, and much more.

Sody Sallyratus by Terry Sloat. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
The gist of the story is that an old woman can't make biscuits because she's out of sody sallyratus (baking soda), and one by one, each character goes to fetch it and is swallowed by a bear. When even the old woman fails to return, the squirrel sets off, tricks the bear, who disgorges the family and they all return home for breakfast.

Squeaky Door (The)-Glb -- a book by Laura Simms and Sylvie Wickstrom.
Kids do all the sound effects in this cumulative story where a little boy overcomes his fear of the squeaky noise his door makes when his grandmother closes it each night before he goes to sleep.

Stories To Play With by Hiroko Fujita. (1999)
For storytellers just starting out, it seems appropriate to begin telling to young children. Yet young children present the most difficult audience a storyteller can face. So where does one begin? Children will be enthralled at the action of the young hero as you fold and tear and create mountains, hats, fans, and boats right before their very eyes. Includes Mr. Wiggle & Mr. Waggle.

Storytimes for Two-Year-Olds by Judy Nichols. (2007)
Fifty progams are organized by themes such as "Babies" and "Circus." For each program, there is a choice of 16 books, in addition to finger plays, rhymes, Spanish books, crafts, and follow-up ideas for parents. Useful for public librarians, nursery-school teachers, and homeschoolers.

Talking Eggs (The) by Robert D. San Souci and Jerry Pinkney (illus).
(1989 - Ages 4-8)
Long ago, two sisters lived down Louisiana way: Rose, unpleasant and mean and her younger sister, Blanche, sweet, kind and sharp as "forty crickets." Guess who has to do all the work for Rose and their mother? Blanche's kind and obedient nature finally pays off when she helps an old woman who has magical powers...

This Train by Paul Collicutt. (2001 - Baby-Preschool)
This is one train book you don't want to miss. Using a refreshingly simple approach, the author has crafted the perfect book for young railroad enthusiasts. Each page features a vividly colored and detailed painting of a train, and the spreads show how they are different -- long and short, fast and slow, old and new.

Thomas the Tank Engine's Hidden Surprises (Let's Go Lift-and-Peek) by W. Rev Awdry. (1999 - Baby-Preschool)
Thomas is going on a special trip to the circus, and there are lots of wonderful things to discover along the way—a beautiful hot air balloon, a playful dolphin, and a barrel of monkeys, just to name a few! Lift and peek behind the many flaps and see the hidden surprises.

Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection (Railway Series) by W. Rev Awdry.
(2005 - Ages 4-8)
This collection contains 14 of the best-loved titles of the Reverend W. Awdry’s classic Railway Series and includes the most famous adventures of Thomas and his Really Useful Engine friends. These exciting and funny tales, over 55 of them, are enhanced by the original artwork in this stunning new gift edition.

Too Much Noise [Paperback] by Ann McGovern with Simms Taback (illus). (1992 - Ages 4--8)
Peter thinks his house is noisy until the village wise man teaches him a lesson in perspective.

Train Goes Clickety-Clack (A) by Jonathan London and Denis Roche.
(2007 - Ages 4-8)
Trains are fast. Trains are sleek. Trains make wonderful sounds as the wheels clatter, boilers hiss, and couplings clang. This playful picture book captures the excitement of trains through evocative language and vibrant illustrations. A little boy and his family are on a special train ride that can’t be missed!

Train Song by Harriet Ziefert. (2000 - Ages 4-8)
A little boy stands on a hill as a freight train travels through the valley below. Waving at the engineer, the boy watches each car as it goes by, carrying logs, pigs, ducks, cows, and the like. As the train pulls out of sight, the child reflects that "Tomorrow when it's almost ten, / Freight train will be back again." The same steady rhythm chugs through the book, telling the story in rhymed couplets.

Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire (Dragonfly Paperback) by Vera Aardema. (1993 - Ages 4-8)
Bowane, the cat, has asked for the hand of a beautiful feline and is returning to his future wife's village with a basket of copper and trinkets. On the way, he invites one friend after another to accompany him. But delays stall the wedding party--for years--and when the entourage finally reaches Tondo, they are not welcome...

True Story of the Three Little Pigs (The) as told to Jon Scieszka by Alexander T. Wolf. (1996 - Ages 4-8)
As Alexander T. Wolf explains it, the whole Big Bad Wolf thing was just a big misunderstanding. Al Wolf was minding his own business, making his granny a cake, when he realized he was out of a key ingredient. He innocently went from house to house to house asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Could he help it if he had a bad cold, causing him to sneeze gigantic, gale-force sneezes?

Twenty-Two Splendid Tales to Tell from Around the World (American Storytelling), Volume One, by Pleasant DeSpain. (reprinted 2006)
First published in 1979, this revised anthology features 22 short traditional tales from almost as many cultures and countries. Retold with simplicity and directness by an accomplished storyteller and emphasizing the triumph of the weak over the strong, these stories will be especially useful to the beginning yarn spinner.

Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales by Juius Lester. (1999 - Ages 4-8)
It's been more than a hundred years since the publication of the first Uncle Remus book, and it was in 1955 that all of the delightful and inimitable tales of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear, and Brer Wolf were gathered together in one volume. All of the animal tales from eight books are here, along with the illustrations which originally accompanied them.

Waiting-For-Spring stories by Bethany Roberts. (1984 - Ages 4-8)
As the family passes the winter in their cozy home, Papa Rabbit tells them stories about other rabbits.

Wave Hello to Thomas! (Lift-and-Peek-a-Brd Books(TM)) by W. Rev Awdry.
(1993 - Baby-Preschool)
Kids can tour with Thomas the Tank Engine as he travels through the countryside. They'll open the station door and wave to Sir Topham Hatt, swing open the barn door and visit the animals, lift the drawbridge and say "ahoy" to the bargeman, and more, in this lift-the-flaps rail adventure.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. (2000 - Ages 9-12)
The story of Max's adventures when he sails away to the land where the wild things are has become an acknowledged classic of children's books. This book is the winner of the Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, 1964.

Why Bear Has a Stumpy Tail and Other Creation Stories, as retold by Ann Pilling and Michael Foreman. (2000 - Ages 9-12)
Why do bears have stumpy tails? Why are rabbits shy? Why do elephants live in the jungle? What part did the Kookaburra bird play in creation? This collection contains animal creation stories from Norway, Ghana and Kenya; from the Australian Aboriginals, the Inuit people and the North American Indian Hopi tribe.

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For a complete list of books for 3-5 year olds
(many choices - Searchable site),
click on this link:
Books for Children from 3-5 Years Old

For a complete list of books for 4-8 year olds
(many choices - Searchable site),
click on this link:
Books for Children from 4-8 Years Old




Book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the books and stories.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. (Kindle edition 2008)
From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other -- just as best friends should be.

Junie B., First Grader: BOO...and I MEAN It! by Barbara Park.
(Kindle edition 2008)
Halloween with Junie B. has got to be a scream! Get ready for a "Halloweenie" adventure with the world's funniest first grader!

Kissing Hand (The) by Audrey Penn. (1993 - Ages 4-8)
When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.

Milton's Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman with Frank Riccio (illus). (Kindle edition 2008)
Because he is being picked on, Milton no longer enjoys going to school. In fact, he dreads each morning because of his fear of Carter.
By discovering the difference between Then, When, and the Now, Milton is able to shed his fear of being bullied. Living in the Now, he no longer dreads encountering Carter—and this changes everything.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary. (Kindle edition 2008)
From the first day of third grade, when Ramona Quimby meets her eventual nemesis Yard Ape, life moves on at its usual wild pace--usual for the boisterous Ramona, that is. Soon she is accidentally squashing a raw egg into her hair at the school cafeteria, being forced to play Uncle Rat with her annoying young neighbor, and, worst of all, throwing up in her classroom.

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For a complete list of Kindle books for Baby-Preschool and 4-8 year olds
(Thousands of choices - Searchable site),
click on this link:
Kindle Books for Children Ages Baby-Preschool
Kindle books for Children Ages 4-8



For a complete list of Stuffed Animals for
Baby-Preschool (1-3) through 4-8 year olds

(Thousands of choices - Searchable site),
click on this link:


Product names are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the products.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

October 2010 — Here's a brand new link to
Toys and Games for children Baby-Preschool and 4-8.
Click on it to discover a treasure trove of toys
you may not be able to find anywhere else!

Toys for Ages 2-4 (Baby to Preschool)
Toys for Ages 4-8

Here are some examples:

Barbie Junior Skate Combo in Vinyl Bag (Ages 3-5)
Includes roller skates that adjust from girls shoe sizes 6-12. Quad wheel design provides maximum stability and left/right side brakes make for quick and easy stops. Also includes knee and elbow protective pads which attach with loop straps for easy adjustment.

Comfy Easy PC Ages 1-3 Pack
Bring a smile to your child's face with this fantastic offer, by purchasing the interactive Easy PC (a toddler's first PC learning system) together with six selected software titles, First Steps, World of Colors, Joy of Music, Animal world, Time Travel and My Neighborhood. This exclusive package, ideal for 3-5 years of age, is aimed at introducing toddlers to basic shapes sounds recognition, colors, animals, time and neighborhoods through a fun & interactive experience.

Fisher-Price Fun-2-Learn Computer Cool School
This kid-safe, kinder-friendly laptop builds confidence in young ones by teaching important school skills. It plugs into your computer via an easy-to-use keyboard (QWERTY) to provide learning fun throughout five learning centers and one field trip activity. The centers are: Reading, Writing, Math, Art, Music and Science. Activities in each center can be accessed by the simple push of a button.

Fisher-Price® Fun 2 Learn™ Laughtop™
The, phonics Laptop helps preschoolers build key academic skills like phonics, upper and lowercase letters, letter recognition and letter order. It comes with a pong game that adds to the fun. The Green backlit LCD display makes the screen interesting. It’s a laptop just for kids—full of learning along with laughter!

Fisher-Price Imaginext Lost Creature Playset
Humans have landed on the Island of Lost Creatures! The playset is the home for the humans to protect themselves against all of the Lost Creatures! A T-Rex skeleton protects the island and the two figures included with its moveable head, a tail that throws a boulder, and you can even roll the boulder through it's skeleton!

Golf Set, Intech Lancer Junior, (Right-Handed, Age 3 to 7, 17.5 degree Driver, 4/5 Hybrid Iron, Wide Sole 7 and 9 irons, Junior Putter, Deluxe Stand Bag)
Get your youngster into the swing of golf with the Intech Lancer junior golf set for boys, available in two sizes--for ages 3 to 7 (36 to 48 inches tall) and for ages 8 to 12 (48 to 58 inches tall). This affordable beginner's set is designed to provide an easy entry into the game, pointing toward a lifetime of fun on the golf course.

Gymnic Hop Ball - Yellow - 45cm for Age 3-5
The Hop Ball is not only incredibly fun, but it's a great exercise toy both indoors and on smooth outdoor surfaces. Balance, coordination and large muscles are used to enjoy this active toy. Made from super-strong, soft latex-free vinyl, the Hop Ball is incredibly durable with a maximum recommended sustainable weight of about 100lbs.

Hooked on Math- Learn to Count ages 3-5
Guides kids aged 3 to 5 through the fundamentals of number recognition and counting. The program's systematic approach incorporates a colorful workbook, interactive CD-ROM, flash cards, and audio CD that will have kids excited about learning all about numbers.

Live Butterfly Garden
Witness one of nature's most spectacular transformations up close with this reusable, collapsible habitat. Fine, transparent mesh lets you see butterfly metamorphosis up close. Product includes easy-to-use feeder and complete instructions for habitat. Butterfly larvae with food shipped directly to your home. The habitat collapses for storage when not in use.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel Companion Set
This convenient Easel Companion Set comes with 4 bottles of poster paint, 4 spill-proof paint cups, 1 roll of easel paper, 10 jumbo triangular chalk sticks, 1 felt eraser, 1 dry-erase marker, and 4 paint brushes.

Melissa and Doug Deluxe Standing Easel
This easel will fuel your child's imaginative side and gives them the freedom to create with an extra-large chalkboard, dry-erase board, and easy-load paper roller. This work station is generously sized so that children can complete projects both big and small. Its durable wood construction ensures that it won't tip and it folds up easily for convenient storage.

Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle
Piece together tons of fun with this puzzle that features an undersea adventure. This colorful, detailed Underwater-themed floor puzzle is made of heavy-duty cardboard with an easy-clean surface that helps keep the puzzle looking new. 48 pieces.

Mini Kick Scooter - PINK, for kids age 2-5, the quality 3-wheel scooter
The Mini is the quality scooter for young children. Its unique 'lean-and-steer' design allows children to use their body weight to control the steering, giving kids the feeling of 'surfing' the sidewalk, as they curve from right to left, almost like a skateboard, adding an element of fun and control that young children love. The Mini scooter is designed with 3 wheels for greater stability and control.

USA Map Floor Puzzle, 50 pieces
Brightly-colored, imaginatively-illustrated puzzles for learning and play. Rugged pieces that are easy for little fingers to put together. The handy storage case lets kids take the puzzle wherever they go. Finished floor puzzle is 20" by 30".

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Online links and book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them for more stories/information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.

Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

The Hat-Shaking Dance and Other Tales from the Gold Coast
"The Hat-Shaking Dance (Why Spider Has a Bald Head)" - Anansi is much more interested in stealing some lunch than in working with the other animals. He finds himself having to pretend that his hat isn't full of hot beans, and that he's only hopping up and down and shaking his head because he's just invented a new dance. Eventually he has to spill the beans and reveals his newly bald head. His hair is all burned off! In embarrassment, he scuttles off into the corner, where you can find Spider to this day.,,572023,00.html
"Bear Hunt" - Camping Activities using song "We're Going on a Bear Hunt!"
"Blue and the Bone Tree" - created during a performance with preschool age children from Pacific Paradise State Preschool Centre and Mudjimba Community Preschool and Kindergarten on 10/24/1997.
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997
"Cheese, Peas and Chocolate Pudding" by Caroline Feller Bauer. Full text.
Children's Stories and Free Resources
Free child-safe educational resources, classroom worksheets, children's games and stories,
activity ideas for children, teachers and parents.
Chinese stories - Extensive list for children 8 years and under, go to SOS, #45 of Chinese Stories:
"The Farm Animals"
A story by Rolando Merino for his son Rollie about animals on a farm.
"The Foolish Frog"
Rev. Alexander MacPherson
This article is adapted from the "Young People's Magazine."

• "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night"
a) Words to the poem
b) Words with guitar chords
c) Words - another version
"Freddie the Teddy Meets the Monster"
Another story about the wonderful Teddy that leaps out of my props bag.
This one was created at Our Lady of the Rosary Preschool, Kenmore, Brisbane.
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997.
Games, stories, songs from Up to
"The Giant Who Was More Than a Match" by Sandy Farley.
"The Ghost with the One Black Eye" by Priscilla Howe, in audio form.
"The Gingerbread Man" (Paul Galdone, illus.)
Here's the full text story with wonderful pictures.

• "Going on a Bear Hunt"
a) Words to the chant and instructions for body movements
b) Words and instructions - long version
c) This site has lyrics to many of these kinds of songs

• "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
a) Modern version and cartoons
b) Kids supply endings to traditional tale
c) Lively telling of traditional tale with full text
d) Annotated fairy tale
e) A short version

• "The Hokey Pokey"
a) Words with the music
b) Fun Hokey Pokey recipe for peanut brittle
c) Learn different shapes by using this music
"The Little Drop of Rain"
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997

• "The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle"
" Mr. Stripey of Swaggeyville" and many other stories
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997

• "My Aunt Came Back" -- an echo song with body movements.
a) Lyrics - YMCA Camp Loowit Campfire Songs
b) Lyrics with instructions for body movements
Nick, Jr. - Animation, music, sound effects, stories
Great site! Very colorful and fun to listen to.
"Noisy House"

• "Not Our Problem" (#7)

• "Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly"
a) Words and synthesized music - excellent source
b) Great site with cartoons and an audio retelling
c) Fun site with many verses and lots of animated graphics.

Puppet clothes - 28" Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly
Puppet may be purchased at:
Participation storytelling games and activities listed at:
Preschool and Primary stories
Preschool Rhymes for Transportation Themes plus much more
Counting and Numbers
Insects and Bugs
Special Occasions
Community Helpers
Self and Family
"Ring a Ring O Roses," compiled by the Flint Michigan Librarians over 150 years.
This book is full of fingerplays and simple songs and stories for tiny children.
Flint Public Library
1026 E. Kearsley Street
Flint MI 48502-1994
"Robert finds a light bulb" - created at Ironside Preschool, Brisbane
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997
"Saving the Zebra" - created at Buderim Preschool on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane.
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997
"Ticki-Picki Boom-Boom" as retold by Marilyn Kinsella.

• Train Stories
a) A participation story from "The Little Engine That Could"
b) "How the Train Got Its Whistle"
c) "The Train With No Name"
d) Another "The Train With No Name"
e) "The Little Blue Choo-Choo" poem
"Tweety and the Old Lady"
Here's a wonderful story by Rebecca Tunny, a year 2 student in Deniliquin.
It's a story about how it is really, really important to be strong and powerful.
© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997
Crafts for Kids. Posted by Top Mommy Blogs.
"There are craft ideas available for children of all ages. Whether your child is a toddler or older, you can find craft ideas to make together or independently. Many crafts can enhance children's learning. There are crafts related to topics, including the holidays, seasons, cultures, the environment, and animals. Crafts may be made for display or play. The following resource list offers an endless variety of crafty ideas for both adults and kids alike." Includes Paper Crafts; Pipe Cleaner Crafts; Boredom Busters; and Outside Crafts. Quite extensive list of options.

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(excerpts from Storytell plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to find get more information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Posts are listed chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.
No attributions or entry dates are incuded for posts received prior to 2005.

1) Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Board Book)
This is a new one on me.


There are a LOT of versions of the "Five Little Monkeys." Kids love 'em all. Any children's librarian can direct you to books with fingerplays, etc. My first introduction to this was "Five Little Sausages Frying in a Pan." The kids and I got a lot more than our fingers into that one.

2) "Great Big Enormous Turnip (The)" (Tolstoy)
Suggestions? Games? YES!!!! Tell them Story-Games. <<SMILES>> Almost any Formula Tale can be converted into a story-game. I know some of the other tellers here could share one or two. This is a thread that promises to be fun. I'll do two of my favorites.

Someone asked for the source for The Giant Turnip (World tales series). That tale is so often told, you can find it in just about every library. There are many picture book versions, it is in many telling collections, many Jewish collection, and most Russian Folk Collections.I do a Story-Game version called:
Giant Vegetable (The)
Teller: What kind of vegetable do you like?
It doesn't matter what they say.
Listener: Beans!
Teller: I'm going to need a lot of help with this one. I'll take folks up here as I need them. If I don't pick you first or second or third, I'll pick you fourth or fifth or... You know what I mean. Be patient. Everyone who wants a turn will get one. Okay! I need a farmer. Select a Farmer. Bring her/him up front.
Teller: Now a Bean! Select a bean.
Teller: Once there was a farmer. Hold farmer's hand up.
Teller: Let's hear it for the Farmer!
Everyone: Yaaaaaaaa Farmer!
Teller: She/he grew Beans! Let's hear it for the Beans! Hold up Bean's hand.
Everyone: Yaaaaaaaa Beans!
Teller: Every year the farmer picked their beans, loaded them into baskets, took them to market, and sold them for money. Good idea?
Everyone: Yes! (or what ever)
Teller: This year, the farmer had picked all but one bean. It was a Giant Bean. He pulled and he pulled, but it wouldn't come loose. Show farmer how to act out pulling. Keep control of the motions your actors make. It is important to keep everyone safe.
Teller: So the farmer got their partner. Have the farmer pick the next person.
Teller: The farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer... Signal to the others to help say the next line
All: They pulled and they pulled, but it wouldn't come loose.
Teller: So the partner got a friend.
Have the friend pick the next person.
Teller: The farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer, the friend pulled on the partner...
All: They pulled and they pulled, but it wouldn't come loose. From then on, keep adding another person to the line. Remember to keep control. Sometimes with very energetic groups, I will position myself at the end of the line blocking them from yanking the poor bean across the stage/floor/street/whatever. You can pick things for them to be or let them chose what they want. If you have a large group and don't think you can remember all the characters. Have a Rabbit with her bunnies (or a dog with puppies or what ever) and every time a new child comes up, tell them to pick another bunny.
Teller: Remember we're just pretending to pull. One person left.
Teller: Along came a little bumble bee with a broken wing. Everyone laughed. How could a little bumble bee with a broken wing help. But the bumble bee tried anyway.
Teller: The Farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer...the bunny pulled on the bunny on the bunny on the bunny on the bunny...and the bumble bee with the broken wing - pulled on the end.
All: They pulled and they pulled... I cut them off here
Teller: And it POPPED off the bush. Everyone fell down. You might have to remind them to be careful of little ones. Keep everyone down, but have them sit up.
Teller: The farmer looked at the bean. It wouldn't fit in a basket so they couldn't take it to market and sell it for money. Instead...Get the Farmer and the Partner
Teller: The Farmer and the partner chopped it up into Bean salad...Have them chop up the bean. Remind them it's just pretend.
Teller: And share it with their friends...Have the two pass out pretend bowls of bean salad.
Teller: Of course the bumble bee with the broken wing got a second helping.

3) "Rabbit and the Moon (The)"
If you go out into the fields, in the still, grey hour before the dawn, you will find that the grass is wet.
One day, at the beginning of time, in that still, grey hour, Rabbit stepped out into the field, and he, too, found the grass was wet. As he stood there, wondering where the water had come from, he heard someone crying - and he looked up and found it was the Moon, his tears running down his round, yellow face and falling to the earth and making the grass wet.
"Moon, Moon, why are you crying?"
"I am crying because I want to be like man."
"But why should you want that?"
"I want to be like man because man never dies."
"But man dies, come, I'll show you. Come with me."
And the Moon stepped down, out of the sky, and Rabbit took the Moon to a hut. There, through the window, Rabbit showed the Moon an old man lying on his bed, the last breath rattling in his throat.
"See, man dies."
"Oh, no. Look there."
And the Moon pointed through another window, he showed Rabbit another bed; and on that bed lay a woman, her newborn baby in her arms, by her side a man.
"See, they are together, so there will always be birth. But I am alone, when I die there will be no more moon. That is why I cry."
And the Moon climbed back into the sky. And there he is crying still; as you can see in that still, grey hour before the dawn, when the grass is still wet with his tears ...
Richard Martin

4) "Wide Mouthed Frog (The)"
Here's one shortened example of this famous story, so you'll know what it's about:

a) The wide mouthed frog lived in North America. He decided one day to leave his pond and see the world.
He met a large, four-legged black and white animal with two horns, and said "Hello, what are you, and what do you eat?"
"I'm a cow, and I eat grass"
The wide-mouthed frog then came to a huge bird with sharp talons and a curved beak. "Hello, what are you etc."
"I'm an eagle, and I eat little birds and mice" Next another large four-legged creature, standing on his hind legs, with sharp claws. "Hello, what are you etc."
"I'm a bear, and I eat honey"
The wide-mouthed frog reached a river, and here was a long green slimy thing with huge jaws. "Hello, what are you etc."
"I'm an alligator and I eat wide-mouthed frogs. Have you seen any?" The wide mouthed frog's mouth suddenly became very small, and he hurried back to his pond as fast as he could go.The moral of this story is that there are times when it pays to keep your - big - mouth - shut.

[This story is from North America, and I first heard and saw it told by Dan Keding, who added greatly to the telling by imitating the frog's mouth with his very supple fingers.]

b) "Wide Mouthed Frog (The)"
Another version:

The Wide Mouth Frog a Tale Retold by Joanne Branyon-Ward, John R. Ward.
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A POP-UP BOOK by Keith Faulkner, Jonathan Lambert.

5) Mary Jo Huff, author. Storytelling with Puppets, Props and Playful Tales was awarded the coveted "PEGASUS" award from the National Storytelling Network..  The book and Storytelling Time, a training video,  have received the "PARENTS CHOICE" approval.  This publication along with the highly acclaimed training VIDEO - Storytelling Time and the first CD - Stories for Kids received the Parent's Choice approval.
Fall Frolic: Rhythm, Rhyme
Winter Whimsy
Spring Fling
Summer Surprise: Rhythm, Rhyme, & Storytime

6) The Magic Pot (Story Cove: a World of Stories) - a tale from China Also many other stories, delightfully told with illustrations.
"Choo and His Melons"
"The Golden AppleDamak and the Black Hat"
"The Tortoise and His Flute"
"The Crocodiles' Revenge"

7) Here are some of my tips for telling in this age group. Young children know you're kid friendly if you dress in colorful or fun clothing. Schedule storytelling as the first activity at the party before they eat candy or cake. I usually request parents to join us. With everyone focussed for storytelling there are fewer distratctions. (Ask the hostess to provide blankets if you are at a park.) Usually there are about 8-10 children at a four year old's birthday party.

Ask the hostess to suggest a theme for stories that her daughter would enjoy. Choose stories with chants or movements for participation. Find stories that you really like, then you'll have fun telling to the little ones. I use facial expressions and body movements to engage the children's attention and convey emotional shifts. Prepare for 20-30 minutes though it is possible to have them in rapt attention for 40 minutes, but it depends on the group. If you''re overprepared then you can shorten or lengthen the program. I'd choose 5 and 10 minute stories instead of telling one long story. Find some songs or fingerplays to suit your theme.

Diana C.

8) I've had a lot of experience with birthday parties at this age (I seldom perform for anyone younger than 4) and outside with its distractions is NOT the place to do it! It has been a disaster whenever parents set it up like that. Maybe once on a backyard patio with the adults sitting among the kids and their backs to the yard worked, but that is an exception, in my opinion.

My favorites places are the living room, or family room (e.g. finished basement). Kids are on the carpet or on an old bedspread on the floor with a few feet between us so I have some room to mime, etc. Make sure the doorway is at the back not next to you, because folks will think it's okay to move in and out during your performance.

Also, ban balloons, toys, and favors from the area during your performance. They become a big distraction at that age. Make sure you have some parents among the kids, and that adults aren't talking in the back. A further distraction can be video cameras and even still ones during your performance. I have had parents, and grandparents come up to the front and stand beside me to get those perfect shots. Let them know you'll pose afterwards as though you are telling.
Even with 20 minutes to a half hour find a spot about half way through to get them standing up if possible for "Bear Hunt", or a similar piece.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Good luck to you!

Sandra P.

9) Let me add a couple more. You don't have the luxury of going into a quiet room. You are outside. If at all possibleget yourself a sound system. It will surprise you how many outside noises there are. Make sure the kids are not facing the playground or any other big distraction. If they have a clown ask them to have him appear after you are gone. No balloons! If this is a crowd of 4 year olds, tell the hostess you reserve the right to do between 20-30 minutes. Sometimes these little tykes can't take too much. Participation is key (KEY!) Put it in whenever and wherever you can. Have several story stretchers up your sleeve.Keep the parents sitting with their child. Have this arranged ahead of time with the hostess.

I tell the story "Bracelets" that Carol Birch used to tell. They join in on the "More!" part. I personalize the story to the BD child and at the end tell them it is true because as I arrived at the park I saw bracelets on the trees, bushes and sidewalks. I picked them up. Then I give each girl a bracelet (gel bracelets - tres cheap). Does anyone have a source for this story? I've told it my way for so long, I don't have the original. Most of all—be fexible and have fun.

Marilyn K.

10) "Freedom Bird" by David Holt
In 1971 I was on a music tour of the Far East for the U.S. State Department. We spent several days in Chiang Mai, Thailand performing and meeting the people. At this time the Thai people were afraid the Vietnamese were going to overrun their country and everyone was on edge. I heard this simple yet powerful story from a young boy who was our unofficial guide around Chiang Mai. He said, "The story gives us courage." The song in this tale is a melody the children in Thailand use to taunt one another. Since that time this story has found a life of its own in the storytelling community. I am glad to see it is being told. David Holt © 1979

11) Query:

Closing down a toddler's storytime.
Does anyone have a short, cute, poem or song to close out a toddlertime?

Suzette H. 8/16/05


a) I always close my toddlertime programs with the More We Get Together song.
The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together, the happier we'll be
For your friends are my friends & my friends are your friends The more we get together, the happier we'll be
It sort of cellabrates our time together.
Beverly C. 8/17/05

b) I have closed my storytimes for many years with Skinnamarink. It can be sweet or lively, and it has good motions for kids. Sharon, Lois, and Bram used to close their TV show with it when my kids were young. I like it because it's a little love song. Skinnamarinky dinky dink

Skinnamarinky doo.
I love you.
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky doo.
I love you.I love you in the morning
And in the afternoon.I love you in the evening,
Underneath the moon.
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky doo.
I love you.

Sweet and simple.

Susan B. 8/17/05

12) Query:
I received a call for a performance in February for Hebrew school kids ages 2 to 5. I'm to do 30 minutes for the 2-3 yr. olds., then 45 minutes for the 4-5 yr. olds. The contact asked me if I could do multi-cultural stuff. What in the world can I do with 2-3 yr. olds. They probably won't know about different cultures yet, so it's more for the grown-ups in the room, I think. Any songs or stories you can suggest? For the 4-5 yr. olds I'll do my version in rhyme of It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale, Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Other suggestions?


a) I use the following multicultural participation tales with 3 year olds:
The Squeaky Door from Puerto Rico - retold by Laura Simms
The Giant Turnip
from Russia - retold by Henriette Barkow
Lion and the Rabbit (Alaka Shankar) from India (in Joining In: An Anthology of Audience Participation Stories and How to Tell Them) - Theresa Miller
The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Book & CD) from Germany - retold by Paul Galdone
My Aunt Came Back (First Steps in Music series) -- mentions various countries - John M. Feierabend

b) Annette Harrison's Easy-To-Tell Stories for Young Children has many participatory stories from other countries.

c) For younger story-listeners, I usually open with something they can sing, and close with a lullaby from somewhere in the world--while they sing the lullaby, they rest their cheeks on their folded hands, as if they were taking a nap. It's a simple way to calm little ones down after an exciting time with stories. Look for CDs of lullabies from around the world for ideas. As for stories, always remember that "diversity' also includes the parts of Europe that are well-known, and the well-known stories that originated in that part of the world. . .
The Three Bears (Little Golden Book)
or Three Little Pigs (Little Golden Book), shared with some song, rhyme, and/or interaction, come to mind.

There are also spider tales from all over the world--and what little one doesn't like to sing Eensy Weensy Spider (Traditional Nursery Rhymes) as an opening for such stories? But you might want to talk with the program planners, in order to give yourself some leeway. Sometimes, depending on the time of day (just before a snack, just after or instead of an active play period, etc.), even thirty minutes of stories is just too much "sit-and-stay" time for 2s and 3 -I usually suggest 20 to 30 minutes rather than specifically 30 minutes to the program planner, or two 15 minute sessions with smaller groups rather than one 30-minute session for all of the little ones, and no one has objected yet.

d) There's a Wee Sing Around the World (Wee Sing) book and cassette (2006 - Ages 4-8). Can often get them both for about $5 or something reasonable. Are you sleeping, Frere Jacques, Fri Filipe.....explaining people sing it differently in different countries. Sing a line and then they sing it with you. There's a song, hello to all of the children of the world in Wee Sing. Sing it at the beginning. And every story, tell where it comes from and how they say hello in that country. Count in different languages....with objects. Sing Kookaburra. It's from Australia....tell an Australia tale or a tale about birds from a country. Show pictures of the bird.

Do you speak another language...? Make a story bilingual and tell it. My hat it has 3 corners song done with motion. Sing it several times throughout the show. Only use a different language word for hat each time. Spanish before a Spanish story, etc. Last time sing My Hat, leave out a word and do the motion for my and hat. Next time do motion and no word for my and hat.

13) "The Ghost with One Black Eye" - by Priscilla Howe


Baby’s favorite drink is apple juice.
No apple juice on table.
Baby: I want my apple juice, and I want it NOW!
Father: I’ll go to cellar for your apple juice.
Went down in cellar; it was dark.
Opened cellar door; it was darker.
Ran upstairs: I don’t want to go down there any more!
Baby: I want my apple juice and I want it NOW!
Mother - same
Big brother - same
Big sister - same
Baby goes down - it is dark.
Opens cellar door - is darker.
Baby: Well, I’ll give you two black eyes if you stop me getting my apple juice!
Ghost was never heard from again.

You can hear it recorded by Priscilla Howe by going to this web page:

14) I have ideas for rain activities for preschoolers.
Raindrop - cut large raindrop from white paper. Paint with watercolors or crayons
Raindrop painting - make colored water with food coloring or tempera powder in water. (can use styrofoam egg cartons for the dilution or cups) Let the children use eye-droppers to "rain" on paper towels, construction paper or or filter paper.
Rain picture- children can create a rainy day picture and use seeds as the rain drops.
Rainbows - draw rainbow pictures

Finger play:
During spring it often showers, (flutter fingers)
Or the sun shines for many hours, (form circle in the air)
Both are good for the flowers ( (extend arms above head)

Talk about Rain:
- What does rain feel like? What does it sound like?
- How does the rain make you feel. Why?
- Sometines during a thunderstorm there are bright flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder. How do these make you feel?
- What do you wear if you have to go out in the rain. Why
- How is the rain helpful?
- Where does the water go after it rains?

Pretending - Pretend you gor for a walk. Look at the big gray clouds in the sky. Drip, drop, drip, drop - the rain starts to fall. You better run quickly to get home. Lightning flashes (clap your hands) Thunder starts (stomp your feet). Run fast to get home. got home to a nice fire in the fireplace that Grandpa had made. Warm your hands. Change your clothes. Read stories by the fire.

Beverly C. 9/13/05

I'm preparing for some workshops that I am presenting next year. I'd like your input and ideas. My first request is for those storytellers who tell mostly to Pre-school ages 3-5. If you have any comments or additions concerning the following, please reply. I will gather all our thoughts and send them to interested parties via an attachment when they are completed. There are 3 parts to this request. Please add your additions/comments below each section in your reply.

I. Earmarks of a good story for ages 3-5
Stories are short - usually around 5-8 minutes
Action in the story is more desirable than lots of descriptive passages
Simple vocabulary
Simple linear plot with repetition
Talking animals, rhymes, lap puppets, props

II. Telling to pre-schoolers (this probably flys in the face of how Waldorf Schools tell to students)
Be animated, use gestures, funny voices
Avoid scary voices and being too loud
Tell to small groups (about 25 max) - no need for microphone
Teller should sit in a chair with students on the floor. Try to keep them fairly close.
If a word is used in the story that is unfamiliar to the class talk about it ahead of time or incorporate it's defination into the story.
Have a familiar gesture that allows the students to join in on the participation
Do not ask questions of the group durng the story unless you are prepared to answer all the questions and be ready for inappropriate and long answers.
What do you say when the child can't remember what he/she was about to say?
Keep the participation the same. Once you've set it up - don't change the words or rhythm.
Keep the participation simple - make sure they can do it.

III. Good stories to tell to Pre-Schoolers:
1. Any of the standard nursery tales which includes - Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and Three Bears, The Gingerbread Man, and The Little Red Hen.
2. Anansi and the Moss-covered Rock (African - one version by Eric Kimmel)
3. Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
4. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams)
5. The Horrible Gorrible with Hole in Its Head (Cricket Magazine, Oct., 1986)
6. Waiting-For-Spring Stories (Bethany Roberts)

16) I would add "Talk" in The Cow-Tail Switch: And Other West African Stories by Harold Courlander and George Herzog (reprinted in Jane Yolen's Favorite Folktales from Around the World (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library). I've also just come across A Band of Joining-In Stories, collected by Pat Thomson--some look effective.

17) Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss have an entire book of pourquoi tales, How & Why Stories (World Storytelling from August House), published by August House.


a) I really like your list, very comprehensive. The only suggestion I would add is to make sure you have story stretchers in between the stories, especially something with a call and response like My Aunt Came Back (Harper Growing Tree) found in Crazy Gibberish: And Other Story Hour Stretches by Naomi Baltuck. Also, after a fun, interactive story stretch such as the one above make sure you have another to settle them back down. "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" in the same book as above works great. It is gentle and quiet, offering movement but the ending line "teddy bear teddy bear sit back down" and gets them ready for stories again. One other thought, be ready for any interruption or distraction. Make sure teachers/parents are in the room to help with crowd control. Thanks for letting us have a part in this; your list is grand.

b) I tell very often to preschoolers. This is an excellent list! I'd like to add a few things, too. Some helpful items for storytelling to preschoolers can include - flannel (felt) board, magnetic board (can use a metal cookie sheet!), storytelling apron, storytelling glove, puppets, props and plushes (stuffed animals). If you go the route of a flannel board - you can use felt characters, drawn of photocopied characters from coloring book, clip art etc. Many items can be found at thrift shops, yard sales etc. Don't forget fingerstories! The can use your fingers or the characters can be inexpensive small stuffed aniamals on a short dowel, or stickers on cardboard attached to tongue depressers etc.

I. Stories with a refrain that's sung.

II. If your story includes a repetition of big actions..make the last action you have the children do the one that quiets them down. ei - hands in lap, sit back down in your space etc. - so that when you end the story they are back in a quiet mode.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (Picture Puffins) by Alison Jackson. Great for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Board Book) by Eileen Christelow
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. with Eric Carle (illus)- great with props or pictures.
I Bought Me a Cat (Children's Edition) From Old American Songs First Set - traditional Ozark nonsense story or song. Can use pictures or stuffed animals velcroed to a flannel board. Has an easy refrain.

c) I just thought of storydolls. They are dolls that turn inside out and, often, backwards, to help tell a story to preschoolers. I tought preschool for a public school system and acquired many many of these kinds of things over the years. I have dolls for telling: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Pinnochio, and some nursery rhymes. Here are some examples of storytelling dolls:

d) Great suggestions. I have a storytelling apron I use with the little ones. The items Velcro onto it. I let the children come and pick a figure and then I tell the story to go with that item. I always have more items than time so they are curious what the other stories will be and want me back to tell them.

For participation with the little ones I have made pictures using Printshop to go along with a story, (The Great Big Enormous Turnip, for instance) laminated them, used a whole punch then tied yarn through it. When the children come up to be the different characters I place the picture around their neck so they remember who they are in the story and it helps me too. Sort of an open cheat sheet for the teller.

Since my logo is the ladybug I have a hand puppet, the glove type, with little fat ladybugs clued on the tips of each finger. I begin by using it along with a counting rhyme to get them immediately interested. They are also so pleased to show me they can count to five. One song I use when the children are coming into the room is:
If you're ready for a story find your seat,
If you're ready for a story find your seat,
If you're ready for a story
Check your hands and then your feet,
If you're ready for a story find your seat.

e) You can also use this as a story stretch and add all kinds of other movement as well and let the above be the last stanza. Example: clap your hands, stomp your feet, take a bow, turn around, etc. Be ready for anything! Once when I was telling at the opening of a Head Start library I was in the middle of a story. The children kept pointing behind me. The room was actually underground and the window behind me was level with the playground outside. A little boy had his faced pressed up tight against the window trying to see what was going on inside. I stopped the story, asked all the children to wave to him, which they did, I waved as well, he smiled, left and I finished the story. You just gotta love those kids!

Oh, and on that Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear story stretch, make sure when you get to the end, just before the last line that says "sit back down" remind the children to watch out for their neighbor. Once, as they were sitting down a child stepped on another child's fingers which had just "touched the ground" and I had to end the session with a crying child in my lap since Mom was no where to be found.

f) TITLES: More stories that would work with your 3-5 year-olds would be:
The Big-Mouth Frog (There's a good version in Margaret Read MacDonald's book, A Parent's Guide to Storytelling: How to Make Up New Stories and Retell Old Favorites. There's another version with directions for making a frog puppet in the book, Stories To Play With by Hiroko Fujita, adapted and edited by Fran Stallings.)

The Lion and the Mouse (by Aesop. Most of Aesop's fables are too sophisticated for pre-school, but this one works, especially if you tell it from the mouse's point of view -- maybe because the littlest wins.)

Who's in Rabbit's House? (Picture Puffins) by Aardema
The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Fives enjoy acting it out. There's a good version illus. by Janet Stevens. Don't make the troll too scary for 3's.)

"Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle" (This is a finger story about friendship. This and other finger plays are useful if some kids come early and need a distraction while waiting for the others to arrive.)
The youngest three year-olds will want to touch everything you bring with you. If you plan to use a flannel board or other prop later in the program, hide it or they will be constantly distracted by it. And when you bring it out, make sure they can all see it.

g) Let's not forget paper stories for telling to very young listerners. You cut and tell at the same time. Sometimes characters are shown as you cut & tell. Sometimes at the end of the story....voila....something very special to see. My favorite paper story book is Jean Stangl's Paper Stories.

h) I have used My Aunt Came Back with Pre-K and K. As long as you go slow they can follow along and have great fun doing it. Actually, the sillier I look, the more they love it.


Here's another fun story that works with little ones:

I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor,
I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor,
I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor,
And I don't like it very much.
Oh no, he swallowed my toe.
Oh gee, he's up to my knee.
Oh fiddle, he's up to my middle,
Oh heck, he's up to my neck.
Oh dread, he swallowed my head... (slurp-swallow)

Kids can repeat the Oh no, oh gee, oh fiddle, oh heck . Or, they can echo the "swallowed my toe, etc. You can do this with a big bath towel or sewn together material where you are "being swallowed" up. There are lot's of ways to do it.

i) I sang that song once at a Christian school, and you'd think I'd said a really bad word when I said "heck" in the song! Guess it's like saying "stupid" in a public school these days.

j) Some books/stories I've used:
Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan
Ten Little Rabbits by Virginia Grossman (rabbits in Native American costums act out traditional customs - children can act out too.)

k) An occasional stickler for accuracy, the poem is by Shel Silverstein, (of whom I am a great fan) and I think it should be read or recited as written. You can find it in Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings.
Oh, I'm being eaten
By a boa constrictor
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don't like it -- one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It's nibblin' my toe.
Oh, gee,
It's up to my knee.
Oh my,
It's up to my thigh.
Oh fiddle,
It's up to my middle.
Oh heck,
It's up to my neck.
Oh dread,
It's upmmmmmmmmmmfffffffffff.

This works to great effect as a choral chant. We did it once with a bunch of grade school kids and a REALLY big boa constrictor puppet.....

l) Stories to use with "SWALLOWING PROPS". This requires making/creating the props and characters. But, the kids love them - if YOU like to make these kinds of things. These can be made from boxes, socks, puppets, stuffed, paper bags, card board, animals,.characters:
"Sody Sallyratus" (American southern folktale) - the bear swallows the old man, old woman, little girl, little boy. When he tries to eat the squirrel he somehow expells them from the prop.

The Clay Pot Boy by Cynthia Jameson
The Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale (Danish folktale) by Jack Kent
The Singing Snake (Australian folktale) by Stefan Czernecki and Timothy Rhodes
The Eye of the Needle: Based on a Yupik Tale (Alaskan story) by Teri Sloat

m) At last--a topic that this lurker can contribute to! I once did a weekly series of stories for preschoolers for our local Art Institute. That's right, three new stories each week! Props, flannel boards, puppets are all good for this age group. Participation stories are essential. I know I did "The Lion and the Mouse." The children liked that one. I think "My Aunt Came Back" is a little over the head of this age group. I don't even use it with my kindergartners, who get a story told to them every Friday. "Teddy Bear" is a good stretcher, and can be changed to fit the theme of the stories. "Going On a Lion Hunt" is another good one. My k's love "Hermie the Wormie," but I'm not sure about the three's and four's.

n) Add Why Alligators Don't Like Dogs. It's a Cajun folktale. You can find J. J. Reneaux's Why Alligator Hates Dogs in the book: From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs, compiled by Amy L. Cohn. The children that age love this story.

Nature Stories for Preschoolers
The Snake Who Was Afraid of People (Rainbow Morning Music Picture Books) by Barry Louis Polisar
Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell
The Barn Owl (Animal Lives) by Sally Tagholm
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri
Box Turtle at Long Pond by William T. George

18) "The Wide-Mouthed Frog" sources
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A POP-UP BOOK by Keith Faulkner, Jonathan Lambert
One Gaping Wide-Mouthed Hopping Frog by Leslie Tryon
In this sprightly counting rhyme--derived from an 18th-century verse--imagination and creativity spring from Tryon's detail-packed pages as nimbly as her eponymous amphibian. Kindergarteners will appreciate the humor and story line going on within the pictures, but Merle Peek's Roll Over! (Clarion, 1981), Lois Ehlert's Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (HBJ, 1990), or Jose Aruego's One Duck, Another Duck (Greenwillow, 1984) are all better choices for teaching preschoolers to count.

19) I put this together to close preschool storytimes when I was a children's librarian:

This is my book (Hold hands up at chest level, palms together, prayer-style)
I'll open it wide (Open palms and lower them to look like an open book)
To see the words and pictures inside (Move eyes across open palms as if reading)
All the stories I love to hear (Look at audience)
I'll fold inside ( Close palms again, with fingertips near chin)
And carry them near. (With palms still together, place back of one palm against your chest as if you are carrying a closed book)
Irene D. 8/21/05

20) If you work with the young ones - whether singing or telling stories - this article would be useful.
Value of Music for Learning and Living
By Phyllis S. Weikart

Mary K.C. 4/18/09

21) Go to
Stories for Children Ages 3-5 and 4-8
and check out the many books that appear for these age groups. Children love to have them read and quickly learn to read them alone. You can probably check them out at the local library if you want to see them or you can buy them directly through this link.

22) Recommended picture books for ages 4-6 from Storytell-ers (storytellers, teachers and librarians).

All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes.
All the Colors of the Earth (Mulberry Books) by Sheila Hamanaka.
Amazing Grace (Reading Rainbow Book) by Mary Hoffman.
Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco.
Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco.
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki.
Bear (The) That Heard Crying (Picture Puffins) by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock.
Bear's All-Night Party by Bill Harley.

Boo Baby Girl (The) Meets the Ghost of Mable's Gable by Jim May.
Bye Bye, Baby: A Sad Story With a Happy Ending by Janet Ahlberg, Allan Ahlberg.
Catkin by Antonia Barber.
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco.
Dogger Storybook and CD by Shirley Hughes.

Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale by Margaret Read MacDonald
Girl (The) in the Golden Bower by Jane Yolen.
Grandad's Prayers of the Earth by Douglas Wood.
Grouchy Ladybug (The) by Eric Caryl.
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson.
Legend of Old Befana (The): An Italian Christmas Story by Tomie De Paola.
Lion (The) and the Little Red Bird (Picture Puffins) by Kleven.
Little Red Ant (The) and the Great Big Crumb by Shirley Climo.
Little Mouse (The), the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child's Play Library) by Don and Audrey Wood.
Mitten (The) 20th Anniversary Edition: A Ukrainian Folktale by Jan Brett.
Momma, Where Are You From? by Marie Bradby.
Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie De Paola.
Prince Cinders by Babette Cole.
Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole.
Quiltmaker's Gift (The) by Jeff Brumbeau.
Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott.
Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest by Gerald McDermott.
Ring of Truth (The) by Teresa Bateman.
Small Brown Dog's Bad Remembering Day (Reading Railroad) by Mike Gibbie.
Snail House (The) by Allan Ahlberg.
Table (The) Where Rich People Sit (Aladdin Picture Books) by Byrd Baylor.
Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight.
Talking Walls: The Stories Continue by Margy Burns Knight.
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar.
Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett.
Way Meat Loves Salt (The): A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition by Nina Jaffe.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books) by Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury.
White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman.
Who Belongs Here?: An American Story by Margy Burns Knight.
Who is the World For? by Tom Pow.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Public Television Storytime Books) by Mem Fox.
Worry Stone (The) by Marianna Dengler.
You Be Good and I'll Be Night: Jump-On-The-Bed Poems by Eve Merriam.

23) Query: Do you know of any suitable book versions of the following stories:

"The Awongalema Tree" - the African folktale about the animals in a drought who forget the name of the magic tree. Various animals go aup the mountain to ask the mountain sprit, but they all torget except the little tortoise who saves the day. If this isn't a pictre book yet it should be.

"The Story of Coyote and the Bird." My story is developed out of bare bones given to me by Richard Martin for which I will be forever grateful as it has been such a useful story for teaching storytelling. Basically, a bird hurts its wing and starts to cry. Coyote hears threwtenbs buird until she treaches him "songs." Coyote keeps making her teach him as he forgets song. Eventually bird gets her revenge.

Oh, yes, I also need to know which of Shel Silverstein's books "Boa Constrictor" is in. I learned it too long ago to remember.


a) "The Awongalema Tree" is in a collection of stories published by/for UN (UNICEF) when Danny Kaye was their ambasador (early 60's). He also did a redording of the story. I know there's a single-title children's picture book--same story, different title, as I've seen it on the shelves of my library. Can't recall the title for the life of me. I do know ther have been sevral tree threads that have probably ended up on Jackie's site. That might be another source for the title and publisher info.

b) The poem "Boa Constrictor" is in Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein.

c) There is a picture book of the Awongellema tree story: The Name of the Tree: A Bantu Tale Retold by Celia Barker Lottridge, 1989.

d) The coyote and bird story is in Margaret Read McDonald's Twenty Tellable Tales: Audience Participation Folktales for the Beginning Storyteller under the title "Coyote's Crying Song." Hers is not a picture book, but it's a marvelous collection for telling or reading aloud and might be something the book store would like to stock.

24) Query: How do you create stories with the little ones?
I am working with a teacher who is interested in learning different ways to have children, in a group (facilitated by the teacher) create group stories.

One way I have used successfully is to have an object and/or several objects in a container of some kind and begin to weave a story (although objects and props are not necessary). At an appropriate point I ask a question about characters, setting, problems etc., and then take one of the responses.

I ask the questions in such a way that the children feel they are guessing who the character(s) will be, what will happen next, etc. And then I choose of the answers and continue on. In essence the children are basically creating the story. Where possible I will include some action or chant that can be repeated. I have sometimes loosely based (at least at the beginning) the story on another tale but of course it takes on a life of its own.

This technique can seem like "magic" to a teacher who is looking on. But it isn't magic as you know. I was sharing the technique with a teacher one time and she shared her utter surprise, as she had been wondering how the children knew what was going to happen. It was a nice opportunity to share more about how to create stories with children.

One of the teachers key concerns is focus and keeping the pace of the story as her group, she feels, can be easily distracted.

Sometimes kindergarteners will raise their hand, but not really have an answer and the story can stall for quite a while . . . meanwhile other children decide to amuse themselves in other ways . . .

Any thoughts/techniques to pass on and/or to work with her on would be appreciated.

What techniques have you used with Kindeergarteners (or similar) to help them create their own story in a group?
Mary K.C. 11/17/10


a) You might take nursery stories or rhymes and turn them into modern day tales.
James F. 11//17/10

b) I once saw Andrew Wright use this way of eliciting a story from a class. His way was very high energy, taking all the ideas which, even when completely contradictory.
He continually did a rapid-fire review of the elements of the story as they were added, starting from the beginning, and really rejoicing in the absurdity of the contradictions.
Perhaps that might help with this age-group, too.
It is certainly great with secondary students.

An example is here:
Richard M. Germany 11/17/10

c) A variant on this technique is to start the story, go around the circle of children and allow each to give one word; "Goldilocks came into the house and the first thing she saw was a ______!" And the story goes on from there, with judicious pauses at exciting points for each child to add something. Each child gets a turn to put something in, it's pretty safe for the shy ones; and it keeps the talky ones from going on and on and on and on and on....

Could do the same thing with adjectives instead of nouns....say Goldilocks saw a Bear...could ask several children in turn...what did it look like? How big was it? What was it wearing? Then add elements into story.

Also, if everyone knows they are going to get a turn it helps to keep them focused.
Kimberley K. 11/17/10

d) Not a story but a wiggle break (adapted from one Dr. Randy Hitz) which requests PHYSICAL input from the small fry:

Have them stand up (while holding their breath, if possible--this wonderfully cuts down on chatter and holds focus)

Sing: Clap your hands, everybody, clap your hands (you clap gently, they will join in)
Clap your hands, everybody, clap your hands
Clap your hands and TURN AROUND (you turn around once; they will turn)
Fill the air with a happy sound,
Clap your hands, everybody, clap your hands.

Then you do it again a couple times--substituting words and action for "clap your hands," for instance:
Pat your head
Walk in place
Bend your knees
Flap your arms -- actions from the stories they've just heard are good.

Now ask kids to suggest an action we can all do to this song. Actions we mimed together in the stories are a good review! Swim like turtle; Climb a tree; whatever. As someone noted earlier, some kids will eagerly raise their hands without any idea at all; when called on, they may fold in embarassement. But this is our chance to affirm their gesture with "Do like this, everybody, do like this."

When you feel that all the wiggles have been jiggled out, close the activity with:
Sit right down, everybody, sit right down
Sit right down, everybody, sit right down
Sit right down and LOOK AROUND
Fill the air with a QUIET sound.
Sit right down, everybody, sit right down.
I learned this, and Randy's simple tune, from a workshop he gave ages ago. It's in his book Sing a Song of Sunshine: Original Songs & Games For Young Children and might be on his CD which I spotted on Amazon. He is currently a Dean of Education!
Fran S. 11/17/10

e) I have used this technique to create a story with the kids. I will decide where I'm going to start the story, and every little bit I stop and they tell me what I see or do. Then I continue the story using that as the story line. An example might be that I am at the front door to the castle and open the door and see...... Whatever they see will be the next part of the story. It does keep you on your toes. Of course sometimes the kids want to take it in a different direction but because I am telling I can bring it back anywhere I want. So if you feel brave enough you could try this technique with any story including ones you're making up on-the-fly.
Bob S. 11/17/10

f) At the Tumbleweed Storytelling Festival in Abilene last month, Sherry Norfolk gave an excellent workshop on a different kind of story creating. It dealt with finding the patterns, which is important in education these days, and using the pattern to create a new story.

She told a cumulative repetitive folktale about a mole family, Mama Mole, Papa Mole, Brother, Sister, Baby. Baby Mole wanted to dance, and each of the others told him he couldn't. He went out and found someone else dancing (school children), learned to dance, and came back and taught them.

Step 2 was to have us (the nearest thing to kids present at the time) tell the story. She assigned people to be each character, then she narrated the story with each of the characters speaking their part as she came to it. Of course, all "leftover" characters were the schoolchildren who taught baby mole to dance.

Step 3: We drew the story on a piece of newsprint. Asking questions and getting responses, she drew a mole hole, 5 moles of various sizes, arrows when the baby mole came out and saw the children, arrow where the baby mole went back home and taught his family to dance.

Step 4: Create a new story together: Using the pattern, we created a new story with a different animal. (I think it was a fish who wanted to fly or a bird who wanted to swim.) We took the story through all the drawings and arrows, substituting the new animals and tasks, and improvising conversations.

Step 5: Older children would have written the story as a final task; younger children would recite it for someone else to write down, then draw pictures to go with the story.

Of course, I haven't done justice to the 75-minute workshop of someone who's great at what she does, but I was fascinated by this new way to work with children on story creation. It is creative, but not so "out of the blue." I have found that when kids have to fill in the next word, they sometimes get into competitive weirdness, and the story itself goes by the wayside.
Mary Grace K. 11/18/10

g) Another fun easy way to create a 'new' story is to take that familiar story and put it in a different biome. Who is Cinderella if the story takes place in the...ocean? Who would the wicked stepmother be? Who would the stepsisters be? The prince? Try the desert...or the rainforest...or.....

Linda P. 11/19/10

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