"There is a unique kind of magic that comes from hearing a story told. With only the power of a voice, an entire world can be created." -- Evan Turk, author's note to The StorytellerIn his enthralling new picture book The Storyteller, Evan Turk celebrates the way stories bring hope and inspiration to people young and old. Read aloud this wonderful picture book with children ready for a longer, more complex story. Our 3rd graders loved it and we had a fascinating conversation about the author's motifs, artwork and messages.
The StorytellerA thirsty young Moroccan boy searches through a busy, chaotic city for a drink, but no one has any water to share. As he walks home, an old storyteller calls out to him, assuring him that his thirst will be quenched if he listens to a story.
by Evan Turk
Atheneum / Simon & Schuster, 2016
Your local library
*best new book*
|“At that same moment, in the hot, dry south of the kingdom, a thirsty young boy made his way through the clamor and smoke of the Great Square to look for a drink, but no one had any water to give.”|
The boy returns each day to hear another installment of the storyteller's tale. At first, my students were a little confused how the storyteller told a story about an old woman telling a story about another woman stealing a bird--but as we talked about it, they started nodding and whispering to each other about things they noticed. Look below and notice the old storyteller on the left telling the young boy the story -- it almost spins out of his hands. And notice how the border encircles the the old woman on the right carrying the bundle of cloth--for she is the center of the new story.
|“The next morning, the boy awoke at dawn and ran to meet the storyteller at the fountain again. ‘Would you like to hear the story of the Glorious Blue Water Bird?’ he asked.”|
This is a book that will benefit from many repeated readings, just like traditional stories benefit from being passed on from storyteller to storyteller. Readers will notice new details each time they share the story, whether it's the way the bird symbolizes hope (echoing the story of the phoenix), or the way the blue of the water slowly fills the patterns as the stories take hold. Other readers notice that the boy starts out quite alone with the storyteller, but that he's surrounded by community by the end of the story -- because stories bring people together.
|"'...And that,' said the storyteller, 'is the story of how, not long ago, a young boy saved Morocco from the desert.'"|
If you are interested in learning more, you'll definitely want to check out these resources:
- The Art of "The Storyteller"
- Inspiration & Resources for "The Storyteller"
- Interview with Evan Turk at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
- Evan Turk's "The Storyteller" in Photos, at Publishers Weekly
- Interview with Evan Turk at All the Wonders Podcast
©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books