There are two components to the children’s storytelling. The first part is when we sit in a corner of the room and the child dictates his story. Then there is the “performance” portion of the process when the child stands in front of his peers at Circle Time as I read the story. It doesn’t take long for some of the children to realize that silly stories generate a disproportionately huge audience response. Each of these stories had them rolling in the aisles.
Inanimate objects that walk and talk are always good for a laugh, as are made-up words with silly definitions. Katherine demonstrates mastery of both in this story:
Once there was a talking hat that walked by itself without any legs. And then some cheeks came by and walked on some silly hair and it talked, talked, talked, talked, talked. And then it ran over stuff. And then it bumped into some glasses. And then there was a dog and a little baby puppy. One more puppy and a one more talking sweater and a Boppa Gee Gee (a kind of silly dog). Some much talking teeth came and scaired away everything. –Katherine (3)
Ella’s story is silly alright, but right at the end, she decided to throw in a bit of the sublime:
My story is about Mini Kitty. She sleeped all night. And then she goes crazy loco. And then some talking clothes came by. And then some crazy loco Floam came by. And then a load of people came by. And then talking rug came by. And then some real talking baby came by. And then a talking Hulk came by. And then a talking hole came by. And then some talking paper animals came by. And then a load of mommies came by. And then a crazy loco floor came by. And then a princess came by. –Ella (3)
I often wish I could send my wallet to the store on my behalf:
There was a walkie talkie was walking on its head. Then the ghost came and fell on his head. And then a pig was squeezing his stomach. And then a bad guy punched himself in the eye. And then the silly ghost was bonking its head on the wall. And then something happened – he walked through the wall and he bonked into the wood! Somebody made his hand bonk his head. And then there was a guy who say, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be in here!” And then there was a talking wallet. And it was walking into the store. –Elliot O. (4)
Most of Elliott T's stories started with the same joke. For this particular one, he ask my permission to use me in his story. Re-reading it now, I’m wondering if granting that permission was wise:
Once upon a time. The End . . . There’s more. Once upon a time there was a DD head (that’s what people call it when it walks on its head). And then there was a What The Heck jumping on the head. And then there was Teacher Tom, and then something stinky happened in the garbage can. And then the shoes walked over. And the shoes talked to the garbage can and then the shoes got spilled by the garbage can on accident. And then there was a super stinky. And the mirror walked over. And then there was a Elliott T. And then there was another super stinky. Then there was a What The Heck. And then they got squirted in their face. --Elliott T. (5)
Ava’s stories were always told with a laughing audience in mind. In fact, she would laugh the entire time she told them:
Once there was a bear and it was walking inside someone’s tummy. And then the fire truck came. And then a pig came around and said, “Oink!” –Ava (4)
I love the way Esme insisted that I keep her extra-narrative comments in the final draft:
Once upon a time there was a love rat with a duck head and a duck beak. And then everything flew on him. But they’re only toys – that’s a joke! And then something flew on the loft and breaked it. And then something flew past the room in the school. (I like doing this a lot.) Then a talking chair came. (Hey, my jeans are . . . I forgot.) And then a talking loft came. And then nothing came. And then nothing came again and again and again. And then a talking, walking head came along, walking on his hair. –Esme (4)
Annabelle’s stories were almost always designed to make me laugh in the moment of their telling. The prospects of a future audience were only secondary:
Meow – it was a kitty too!
Fletcher tended to tell more straight-forward stories, until one day he got a huge laugh from this one:
About Setoris Squid. And he kicked a whale in his blow hole. And he sneezed all big brown boogers on him. –Fletcher (3)
This was followed-up a few days later by this one, the audience response clearly in his view:
Once upon a time there was a talking pine cone. And then a talking rabbit and a talking car came. And what happened, there was a talking monkey. Then a talking hair comed along. Talking buttons come along. Then a talking umbrella comes along. A talking shoe comed along. Then what happened there was a talking shark. And something threw over a fire truck and it broke the fire truck. And then what comed along – a shark came! And the shark ate everthing up. And then what happened is something ate the shark. And then what happened a talking car came along and said, “I got milk spilled in my head.” –Fletcher (3)
Head bonking is always good for a laugh:
Once upon a time there was a princess and he fall on his bummy. Then he bonked on his head. And then she went along and she bonked on her head again. –Malcolm (4)
At first, I thought this was going to be another of Jane’s beautiful princess/fairy/mermaid stories, but it suddenly took a very silly turn:
Once upon a time there was a fairy. Her name was Star. There was a fire in a house and her wand transformed into a fire hose. And then she digged some dirt. And she took a bath. She got a cough like mine: that I have the same cough as her. She got a strawberry berry cough drop. She hid in the back of a fire truck and the fire truck sprayed water on her. And then she blasted into a block. A fire truck ran her over. But she wasn’t flat. A ladder said, “Oink!” A pig ladder! –Jane (5)
The End. By Teacher Tom.