Sunday, September 21, 2008

Story and Song: three blurbs

*This past week, I received emails from two different performers who are doing good work on the local level: "Miss Maggie" of Miss Maggie Sings! in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and Mr. Seley in Birmingham, Michigan. Both of their sites have videos that showcase a little of what they do.

*On September 23, Eric Wolf of The Art of Storytelling With Children hosts Thomas Reese speaking on the topic Why Tell Children Scary Stories? I for one will be listening in. I rarely tell scary stories more nail-biting than Betty Lehrman's "The Graveyard Voice" (which you can hear her tell on her CD called Tales for the Telling. You can get it here. In fact, whenever I've succumbed to the pleas to tell another scary story, I've gotten into trouble: the story ended up being too scary for my audience. Obviously, I need to find a happy medium between tingly and creepy.

*You may have read already about the death of storyteller Colleen Salley. I got to meet her once, when my library supervisor invited my husband and me over for dinner shortly before my daughter was born. Queen Colleen signed a copy of Epossumandus to the "Peppercorn" (my daughter's nickname before she was born). Like so many of these meetings, I don't remember what Colleen Salley said specifically, but I do remember how lively and warm she was.


Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

re blurb number two, I'm curious if you got any good tips, particularly about easing kids into the pleasure of being (mildly) scared. My kids do not like the scary story (and it suprises me sometimes what they find scary)!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Anamaria: Here is a link from last year's The Art of Storytelling about telling scary stories:

"The Gunniwolf" (which you can find in Margaret Read MacDonald's Twenty Tellable Tales) is an old chestnut that can help young children ease in: the storyteller teachers the audience the "pittapat" sounds of the little girl running, the Gunniwolf's "Hunker-cha" running, and the little girl's song, which can all help them participate in a slightly scary story while feeling like their in a safe spot. (Disclaimer: it's a story I have used on older kids who are snickering and rude-- they think it's a "baby" story, and then I scare the pants off of them when the Gunniwolf jumps up. I even made a friend of mine spill her tea once. Hee hee.)

Generally, though, I like not-so-scary stories like The Bed Just So, by Jeanne Hardendorf (out of print, and the author is deceased) and Betty Lehrman's The Graveyard Voice, which is slightly scary with a humorous ending. In fact, with the latter, I've watched children's faces get a little anxious, and then break into laughter once the punchline is revealed.

For another story that can be potentially scary with a silly ending, do a search for "coffin" and "cough drops" to see all the variations thereof.

Really, for the most cautious ones, I stick with The Little Orange House:

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Thank you so much! I'm going to try telling Milly The Little Orange House as soon as she gets home from school (must remember to keep fold on the bottom!). Now I'm off to look up your other suggestions, too. Thanks again!