Folktellers, The: Storytelling / Pennies, Pets & Peanut Butter / Stories for the Road / Tales to Grow-On
Storytelling: Tales and Techniques (video cassette) ,1994. $55
Pennies, Pets & Peanut Butter (video cassette) 1994. $15
Stories for the Road (audio cassette) l992. $10 + $2 S&H
Tales to Grow-On (audio cassette) n.d. $10 + $25
I still remember the cover of that Library Journal back in the 1970's. It showed Barbara Freeman and Connie Regan and no one could see their faces without wanting to read about this duo known as The Folktellers. Imagine people who thought they could make a living as storytellers! No one could read about them without wanting to hear them, and so, when the Folktellers came to Ontario, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The workshop they gave back then was very similar to the workshop recorded live on their one hour video cassette
Storytelling: Tales and Techniques.
By using excerpts from a number of their tried and true stories, The Folktellers demonstrate how to tell, how to use props and music, and how tandem 'telling can be used to its best advantage, The joy of watching the Folktellers is seeing their obvious enjoyment of what they do. They seem to want to share the fun they have by encouraging others to try, and by reassuring beginners that they, too, can tell stories. The necessity of giving credit fur sources, and obtaining permission to change parts of stories is addressed, as are concerns about forgetting the story. From how to find stories, to how to tell, this gentle and entertaining video workshop will lead beginners through their first steps into storytelling.
Some of the stories excerpted for the workshop turn up again on the video cassette Pennies, Pets, and Peanut Butter Stories for Children. Here the viewer has the fun of enjoying the stories as they are told to an. audience of children. The Judge, A Penny A Look, Peanut Butter, Crictor, and The Jazzy Three Bears, are joined by a sign-language version of I Know an Old Lady.
The kids in the audience respond with obvious delight to Barbara and Connie's warmth and their deceptively simple-appearing polished performances. Kids at home will respond equally as well, and so this tape is recommended for home and library purchase for children 5 -10 years of age.
My nine year old and her friends heard Stories for the Road before I had a chance to. It went to a slumber party and passed the acid test of being listened to by junk food filld giggling girls late at night. The girls knew I had received the cassette for reviews; they under took to review it themselves. They agreed that Peanut Butter was gross (but meant thatin an approving way) and I was pleased to hear that the story worked just as well on the audio tape as it did on the video-tape where facial expression was such a large part of my enjoyment of it. Comments (Sneakout Mountain Diary, The Yellow Ribbon, and The Jazzy Three Bears were "Funny, Cool, Great Voices, Silly." My daughter, Julia, said of The Dancing Man "Good descriptions. Makes me feel like I'm there." Only Come Again in the Spring failed to meet with their approval, and I suspect that was just because it was not the right time for that. group to hear that story. A touch of fiddling provided by Dona Cavanagh warms up the break between stories
Like Stories for the Road, Tales to Grow On was named an ALA Notable Recording, and justly so. Most of these stories were recorded live, and the participation of the children adds to the fun of listening, and encourages listeners to join in. Dark Dark Night must not have been recorded live because no one could hear it and not respond to the haunting voices without at least a squeak! There is variety in these tales, from ghostly to humorous. The use of an autoharp to provide sound effects in Sody Sallyratus demonstrates one of the techniques described in the workshop videotape
Family storytelling tapes, such as these, are often listened to in family settings, often in confitred family settings such as the car, and The Folktellers' tapes are ones adults, as well as children, will listen to with enjoyment.
All these recordings except Pennies, Pets & Peanut Butter available from The Folktellers website
Pennies, Pets & Peanut Butter (video cassette) available from
The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 2, Sep 1996