Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Good things

Hooray!!! Now you can subscribe to my Blog. See below for what to do. What a pleasure this facility has now been sorted – all thanks to the ever-helpful Tim Howe. Comment, Warwick, Poems, Subscription – it’s been a week of good things.


Little Bear crop 2A comment from a reader always feels good to get. Jo had been enjoying my recent series on Getting Participation. She loves creating stories with children. She describes sitting with a piece of material and allowing the children to choose any object around the room. ‘We decide where we are, the material for example could be blue and shiny, maybe we are at the bottom of the deep dark blue sea. Each child takes a turn describing what their object may be: a cotton reel becomes a pirate ship, the pencil is the mast, the ship has sunk, the button becomes the treasure …’ And so, as Jo points out, they end up with their own story.


On Wednesday evening, a hearteningly warm and engaged response came from the students on Hilary Minns’ excellent Storytelling Module at Warwick University. I’ve been going as guest storyteller to Hilary’s course for about ten years now. The students are all studying child development for a Foundation Degree. One of the stories I did with them was Little Bear on the Long Road. (The prop I always use for this story is on the right in a painting I made of him when I was in hospital four years ago.) On this visit, it was brilliant to meet the person responsible for setting up a similar course at Telford who had come along for the session.  I believe, and have always said so, that such courses should be available nation-wide.


Two boxes full of poetry books arrived in our house this week. Old ones, recent ones, Paul had been given them by a now-elderly family friend. What a word-hoard to add to our stock. Among the volumes was one that quite took my breath away. It’s a book of poems translated into English by Rumer Godden. Beautifully designed and illustrated,  it was published in 1966. The poems were written by a French woman with a Spanish name, Carmen Bernos De Gasztold,  who’d evidently had much hardship in her life until she was taken into the care of a nunnery where the nuns encouraged her to write.

Poems from the Ark is a set of prayers to God from a range of animals in Noah’s Ark. The poems so beautifully celebrate individuality and difference and create such a sense of the wonder of life that, specifically religious or not, I think all children would love them. Each of the poems ends with Amen. I am including two here.

Duckcompress The Prayer of the Little Ducks

Dear God,
   give us a flood of water.
   Let it rain tomorrow and always.
   Give us plenty of little slugs
   and other luscious things to eat.
   Protect all folk who quack
   and everyone who knows how to swim.

CatcompressThe Prayer of the Cat

             I am the cat.
             It is not, exactly, that I have something to ask of You!
             No –
             I ask nothing of anyone –
             if you have by some chance, in some celestial barn,
             a little white mouse,
             or a saucer of milk,
             I know someone who would relish them.
             Wouldn’t you like someday
             to put a curse on the whole race of dogs?
             If so I should say,

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Looking forward to seeing you again next week.

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4 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ Good things”

  1. Liz Richards Says:

    Love this weeks blog especially the poetry ones .I am back writing now and have a childhood memories story coming out next year in the Annual for Yours magazine.
    Many of your entries Mary encourage me so mush and put a different slant on to ideas I have that are going round my head. See you soon x

  2. admin Says:

    Liz, you’re brilliant. It’s so lovely to have a regular reader like you.

  3. Hilary Minns Says:

    Hello Mary,
    It was so good to have you back at Warwick University last week. Your tenth year of travelling up to Coventry, and each time your input is fresh and new and thoroughly inspirational, both for myself, for the students on the course, and of course for the children they teach, who now have the chance to listen to a wide variety of spoken stories. Nothing could be better.
    Thank you so much.
    Hilary Minns
    Course Tutor

  4. admin Says:

    Thanks so much, Hilary. As always, it felt like an honour to be there.

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