This week my storytime was about pigs, and I knew I wanted to tell the folktale “The Old Woman and Her Pig”. Specifically, I was following the picture book adaptation from Margaret Read MacDonald which I like because it has two short songs that are repeated a few times, and it involves less animals than other versions.
In the story, a woman goes to buy a pig with a penny that was found. When she’s trying to return home with the pig, they get to a bridge and the pig refuses to cross. A dog comes and the woman asks him to bark at the pig so he’ll cross the bridge. The dog refuses. A rat comes and she asks him to nip at dog so dog will bark at pig so pig will cross the bridge. Rat says no. The cat comes along and agrees to set off a chain of events that leads to the pig crossing the bridge, and they return home. In other versions, there are more animals or other elements before someone decides to help, setting off a longer list of chain of events.
I knew I wanted to tell this story, but I didn’t feel like making a whole new set of flannel pieces. Therefore, if you look through my other flannel stories, you’ll notice most of these pieces are borrowed from other sets.
For more flannel stories, check out the Flannel Friday roundup this week, hosted by Anna from Future Librarian Superhero.
I don’t think this flannel story needs any explanation… It’s the Three Little Pigs! I currently have a really young group in my Evening Family Storytime, and I think they’ll enjoy this classic, repetitive story.
This flannel story goes with the Iranian folktale “The Singing Pumpkin” that I discovered in Judy Sierra’s Silly and Sillier: Read-Aloud Tales from Around the World. In this tale, a woman goes to visit her granddaughter, but happens upon a ogre on her way! She convinces the ogre to not eat her until her way back because she will be much fatter then. When the woman gets to the granddaughter’s house, the granddaughter gives her a huge pumpkin to hide in and roll past the ogre. However, the woman sings while inside the pumpkin and the ogre knows something is weird about this. The ogre tells the woman to come out but she says she cannot until he says the magic words, “Come here my big white dog.” When the ogre says this the woman’s dog comes running and chases the ogre away.
I tell the folktale “Too Much Noise” using these finger puppets:
I bought these at IKEA. The story is usually told using barnyard animals and a farmer, but I adjusted it so it would work with the puppets I have. So in my version, this man is the zookeeper. And he takes these animals from his zoo. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense still with that bunch of animals and this man who is supposed to be a groom? pilgrim? I’m not sure. But I have told this story to around 6 different groups of kids ranging from ages 2-6 and no one has ever questioned me. In the story, the zookeeper wants to go to sleep but he can hear the leaves outside and his bed and the door and he says there is too much noise. So day after day he goes to the wise old woman and asks for advice. Each day she tells him to bring a different animal into his room. The children always join in with making the different animals noises. Eventually, the wise old woman tells him to bring all the animals back in the zoo and then he’s able to fall asleep.
This week I made a flannel story to go along with the tale “Bear Squash-You-All-Flat,” a Russian folktale I found in Judy Sierra’s Silly & Sillier: Read Aloud Tales from Around the World. The story starts with Whiskery Mouse who finds a mitten and decides to make it his home. One by one, along come Croaker the Frog, Hoppity Hare, Frisky Fox, and Sneaky Wolf who all join Whiskery Mouse and live in the mitten. But then Bear Squash-You-All-Flat shows up. When he tries to get in the mitten, he destroys the little house! All the other animals run away. The end. My group really enjoyed The Enormous Turnip flannel story I told last week, so I think they’ll really enjoy this one too as they are both cumulative tales with repeated phrases.
Next week, my storytime theme is going to be “In the Kitchen” and everything is going to be about food! I’ll post about the entire storytime after it happens, but to give you a sneak peak, here’s the flannel story I’ll be doing…. The Enormous Turnip! It’s a Russian folktale about a grandpa who tries to pull his enormous turnip out of the ground, but needs help. One by one grandma, granddaughter, dog, and cat try to help. It is not until little mouse joins them that they are finally able to pull it out! I made the pieces myself, but they are largely based off others that I found pictures of online.
Starting in the fall, I will be leading a weekly evening family storytime which I’m really excited about! It will be aimed at ages 2-6 and their families so I’m expecting a wide range of ages. I haven’t completely planned out anything yet, but I’ve started gathering ideas. I’m not sure what my themes will be yet, but I do know some stories I want to use so I’ll make sure they fit in somewhere!
One story I know I want to tell is “The Greatest of All.” It is a Japanese folktale that I first learned in undergrad when I took a Children’s Lit class and had to do a storytelling project. I based my telling off the version in the picture book, The Greatest of All by Eric A. Kimmel. When I used it for my class project I just told the story, but it always stayed in my mind in a box labeled “great for flannel.”
The story is about a young girl mouse who wishes to marry the humble field mouse. However, she lives with Papa mouse in the Emperor’s palace so Papa thinks she deserves to marry the greatest of all. Papa proceeds to ask Emperor to marry his daughter. Emperor explains that he is honored but he is not the greatest. Sun is greater than him because when Sun beats down even an emperor must hide from it. Papa goes on to ask Sun to marry his daughter, but Sun leads Papa to Cloud. Cloud sends him to Wind, and Wind sends him to Wall. Wall explains that he is not the greatest either. The greatest is a field mouse who can tunnel through him. Papa finds the humble field mouse and says he can marry the daughter.
Field Mouse, Daughter Mouse, Papa Mouse.
Top: Cloud, Wind. Bottom: Emperor, Wall, Sun.