Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Singing Tree’

Storytelling Starters ~ Proof of power

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

What makes children sit up and listen?

What makes children remember what they’re told?

What makes children respond and comment without being obliged to do so?

Well, storytelling does. The trouble is, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know the truth of that. It’s how to spread the awareness that is the problem.

All day this last Wednesday came evidence of how children can listen and be gripped. The supply of questions and comments was fulsome and never chaotic (evidence of a good school, I’d say). But the most extraordinary thing was how, all day, children were remembering stories I’d told them before. From Reception to Year 6, there was enormous keenness not just to identify what stories they’d heard but exactly what happened in them.  They also remembered my props. And it wasn’t just one or two children that were doing this, just about all of the children were bursting to say what they remembered.  Only the Nursery children didn’t – but then, they were new to the school.

The school was St Stephen’s in Shepherd’s Bush. I’d been there three times before. In the course of this week’s visit, one girl in one session put her hand up looking troubled. ‘I can’t remember these stories,’ she said. It obviously really bothered her that she didn’t, as if she was feeling really hurt that she’d missed out on something everyone else had experienced. We thought perhaps she’d been off school when I’d come before and she seemed content with that thought. But seeing her face, I realised the power of a communal event in which everybody can share and experience enjoyment. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Repertoire Refreshment 2: The Golden Water

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

P1070096OK I found the book and identified the story I’d vaguely remembered. I had to search quite hard: the book turned out to be a hardback and bigger than I’d remembered. It’s Stories from The Arabian Nights,  the stories retold by Naomi Lewis with beautiful illustrations by Anton Pieck. I was surprised to see it was published way back in 1987 (Methuen Children’s Books). Did I review it for The School Librarian? I can’t remember and I can’t check – I recently threw out my old copies.

Three images from the story sang out as I re-read The Tale of Farizad of the Rose’s Smile. How could I have forgotten them? They’re what make the story so lovely. Each is something that must be obtained to make the garden where the girl and her brothers live into the most beautiful garden that it could be.

So this week I’ve decided to concentrate on those three items. The rest of the story can come next week. But now it’s time for visualisation. Time for the unspoken words that may come to mind as each of these three special things is really looked at. Time to imagine the scene they might make when they’re finally brought together in that already lovely garden.

Item One: The Talking Bird

If it was in your garden, the story says, all the birds of the air would flock to behold it. The bird is called Bulbul al-Hazar.

Item Two: The Singing Tree

If this tree was in your garden, all the lutes and harps in your home would break their strings with envy. Its leaves make a sound so ravishing that nothing can match its sweetness. (more…)