Yesterday I shared some of the stories that children told during our first storytelling session of the year. I wanted to take advantage of that momentum by following up with a second session as soon as possible. These stories came from last Wednesday, just before our Halloween party.
Several of our friends were clearly in the Halloween spirit, telling us stories full of bats, monsters, ghosts, and spiders:
It’s about a story in a dark, dark place. A bat tried to go in the house, but the door was so locked. And then him rolled, rolled, rolled. And then him hitted into a tree. –Lachlan (3)
A kitty got lost in the forest. And then the ghost found the kitty and thought it was his kitty and got it in his house. And then a monkey came. And then it knocked on the door with its tail. And then the ghost ran to the door. And then the monkey said, “What are you doing with the kitty?” Then a dog came and knocked at the door and the ghost ran to the door again. –Luna (4)
It’s about a scary ghost. Along came a scary ghost. And it frightened Katherine away. And then I fighted him away. And then the ghost came back again and I needed to do it again. And then along came a funny spider. It’s not a scary spider. It’s a very toasty spider. And it scared the ghost away. And then Lachlan came around and then we scared the ghost away again. Because we wanted to do it because it was fun. And we still scared the ghost away every time. –Katherine (5)
A dark, dark night and a monster came and another. And then a bat came down and rolled over himself. And then the bat flied into the tree. Then a big monster came. And then a monster truck came! –Finn V. (3)
Finn clearly surprised and delighted himself when he came up with the “monster truck” punch line to his story. He went away grinning at his own joke.
Three of our youngest friends told their first stories last week:
A ghost then he went rolling down a hill. And then a bon bon bon bon. Then he went, “Eyow, yow, yow.” –Charlie B. (3)
My about a little cat that it was nighttime and it want food. And mommy put food out for the cat. And the cat ate the food. –Orlando (3)
I’m gonna tell a tractor story. I hear something eat a tractor. I got a tractor. Watched it all the time. I saw . . . Hey, who’s up there? --Peter (3)
This storytelling session was taking place under the loft and Peter had been distracted by the sound of feet overhead. His curiosity got the better of him, so that was where his story ended.
Some children like to tell the same story over and over again. We’ve had some kids tell essentially the same story for nine full months, with only slight variations. I’ve learned, however, that those variations can be packed with a significance and sometimes tell a deeper story about the storyteller that only reveals itself after all the stories are told.
Isak has told two stories so far. His first was:
The squirrel eats flowers, plants, and mushrooms.
On Wednesday he told it like this:
Once there was a squirrel and it eats flowers, plants, and mushrooms.
I’ll be interested to follow his stories’ progress. Only time will tell if the variations are merely evidence that he’s learning some storytelling conventions, or if they tell the story of a deeper change taking place in his soul.
Last year, Jack rarely wanted to take time out of his free play to tell a story. At the same time he was often deeply disappointed when Circle Time rolled around and he wasn’t included in the parade of friends coming to the front of the room to have their stories read. His solution so far this year has been to pause just long enough to toss a little word salad my way as quickly as possible then getting back to free play. This story came in a rapid fire staccato while keeping his eyes on his friends to make sure he wasn’t missing anything:
Once there was two friends. And then it just found a deer and take pictures. And then they found a bear. Then the bear gobbled them both up. And then the bear bited his own tummy and he falled down.
But Jack wasn’t the only one planning ahead. Finn returned with another story, this one clearly inspired by his own wit from earlier. He came back to pull out all the stops. This story clearly had an audience in mind:
Kitty cat and then another kitty cat. Then the kitty cat ran on a board. And the kitty went in a trash can. And then a kitty monster truck came. And then a monster truck ran over the kitty. And then another monster truck came and then the other monster truck ran over another kitty cat. And then another kitty cat got ran over by a board and a kitty cat. Then a truck came and ran over another kitty cat. And then another monster truck ran over another kitty cat. And then another monster truck ran over another kitty cat.
When I read it at Circle Time I tried to portray it as a sad story, but the children were having nothing of it and laughed from beginning to end. By the look on Finn’s face, it went exactly as he’d anticipated.