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SOS: Searching Out Stories/Info - Gross and

Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians


Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them for more information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Storytell posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World

My library system has decided to take the plunge(r) and do a program about the thing kids love best, "bathroom humor." We are using Reader's Theatre scripts of Pilkey's Captain Underpants: The Adventures Of Captain Underpants Collectors' Edition (Captain Underpants) and Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms. The program is for ages 6 and up.

If you want gross children's rhymes, do check out
Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood (American Storytelling) by Josepha Sherman from August House. LOTS of gross-out rhymes in there that kids love--since kids have told them from generation to generation.

3) My book suggestions: My Little Sister Ate One Hare (Dragonfly Books) [We thought she'd throw up then and there, but she didn't...] which is an add-on counting rhyme. The Emperor's New Underwear by Lawrence Anholt [There once was a country where no one wore any clothes at all...] which appeals to the Cptn. Underpants crowd.

More gross-out books:
Weird & Gross Bible Stuff by Rick Osborne, Quentin Guy, Ed Straus.
Grossest Gross Jokes (Barf-O-Rama) by Pat Polari.
My Messy Closet: A Totally Gross Flap Book by Allia Zobel Nolan, Maryn Roos.
The Chicken-Fried Rat: Tales Too Gross to Be True (Harper Trophy) by Cylin Busby, Ravenblond Studios.
The Gross Anatomy, an Off-Color Coloring Book by Christine Becker.
Tales of the Gross and Gruesome by Ellen Steiber.
Just Disgusting by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton.
That's Disgusting! by rancesco Pittau, Bernadette Gervais.
Almanac of the Gross, Disgusting, and Totally Repulsive (Kidbacks) by Eric Elfman.

5) There are plenty of fart stories at both SOS and D. L. Ashliman's site, however, I did not feel that they fit my style. I didn't see how I could make them come alive for family audiences. Plus, I needed other gross bodily functions besides farting in my set. I found these stories worked well for family audiences (ages 5 and up).

Vomit Story:
"The Tiger and the Frog." They have a vomiting contest as a test of strength.
from A.L. Shelton's Tibetan Folk Tales.

Mucus Story:
"Mucus Boy." The First Nations tribes living in British Colombia have a story of a boy born from the drippings of his mother's runny nose, who then rescues his siblings who were kidnapped by a witch/ogre/mountain lion/grizzly. I adapted the versions found in:
"Mucus Boy", Gunther, Erna, Klallam Ethnography (University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 5) U W Publications in Anthropology Vol. I, No. 4. 1925.
"The Mucus Child," Swanton, John R.,
Tlingit Myths and Texts. BAE Bulletin 39. 1909.
"The Stealing of Children by Pitch Woman and Their Rescue", Sapir, Edward, Nootka Texts. Tales and Ethnological Narratives, With Grammatical Notes and Lexical Materials (William Dwight Whitney Linguistic Series). Philadelphia: Linguistic Society of America. 1939.
Tsimshian Mythology Based on Texts Recorded by Henry W Tate, by Franz Boas, 1916.
"Story of Smutuksen", Hill-Tout, Charles, The Salish People: Volume IV: The (Salish People).Vancouver: Talonbooks. 1978.
(Note: if you are going to credit your sources on this story, be aware that the names used by anthropologists in the early part of the 20th century for these tribes are no longer current. Do some Web research and you can find the correct names).

Poop story:
"Dunglet." A childless couple so want a child that they wouldn't even mind if it was made of a pile of dung, and lo and behold, the wife gives birth to a pile of dung. The dung-child is hungry, and devours everyone up (it's a sequential story, like the Danish tale of "The Fat Cat" (Margaret Read MacDonald).
Muhawi, Ibrahim, and Sharif Kanaana. Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1989.

Fart stories:
"The Rich Man and the Poor Man."
A woman farts in front of the vizier, she asks the earth to swallow her up. It does, and in the place where she finds herself, she confronts her fart. This is a terrific inversion of the compassionate sister/greedy sister folktale where one opens her mouth and gold falls out, the other opens her mouth and snakes fall out.
Found in:
Muhawi, Ibrahim, and Sharif Kanaana. Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1989.

"The Three Goslings."
Thomas Frederick Crane, Italian Popular Tales (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1885)
Crane cites his source as: Bernoni, Dom. Giuseppe, Fiabe popolari Veneziane. Venezia, 1873.
According to storyteller Katy Rydell, the Venetian version has the wolf farting the houses down.
Tim E. 1/4/07

6) I LOVE to tell gross-out stories! Never underestimate the power of them, particularly with kids. Texas schools tend to emphasize the reading of Bluebonnet Award Books. Many schools give the kids a prize if they read a certain number of them (often an end-of-semester party), and some outright require that they read them. It can be expensive for the parents to buy all the books, and school and public libraries often have a hard time keeping up with the demand for them, so some districts allow the kids to attend readings of the book and have that count towards their total. Our library does several readings of the books each year to help the kids out.Unfortunately, not all of the books are well suited to live readings. The 2004-2005 list included Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman, a true story about a man in the 19th century who had a metal rod blown through his head and went on to lead a colorful life. It's a great book, but the sections on neurology and brain structure don't make for scintillating group reading. It is also a bit long for live readings.The librarian at a local elementary school approached me to do live readings of it for all the kids in two grades (3 or 4 performances in all). We did it in the school library so they could cycle the classes in and out without disrupting their schedules too much. I had about an hour with each group. I prefer actual storytelling to reading stories, so (given the problems with reading that book) I opted to simply improvise the story. I would read a few sentences from the beginning of each chapter and show some of the larger photographs, but ultimately I just told the story in my own words, in an over-the-top dramatic fashion (lots of jumping around and making noises). I focused on the gross-out factor, and told the story in a "but wait..." fashion to keep the suspense going. Apparently it went over well. Many of the kids talked about it when they visited our library, and a number of the parents approached me in subsequent weeks to tell me how much their kids enjoyed it. I have since incorporated it into my repertoire of stories.
Jesse E. 1/5/07

Created 2003; last update 11/16/09

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