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Storyteller videos - from the Oxford Owl
Watch these professional storytellers read a selection of the Oxford Reading Tree Traditional Tales books. Click on the picture of the Oxford Owl below. Then click on the storyteller notes for hints on how to recreate their simple storytelling techniques.
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Art Malik narrates this adaptation of the traditional tale 'Gulliver's Travels'. We meet a Lilliputian girl called Fig who is scared of many things little girls are frightened of. One day, while she is walking her dog on the beach, she finds a giant. She runs to the town, rings the bell and summons the army. The army tie the giant up, shoot arrows at him and drug him. The giant then falls into a deep sleep. As he sleeps, the Lilliputians take him back to their town, where many people came to see the spectacle. Fig only visits to play, and her and the giant become good friends. Eventually, Fig and the giant cross the sea to escape. 'Fig's Giant' was written by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by Jago.
Jo Brand reads a comic version of the tale of Rapunzel. Dan Druff the barber is very happy and sings in his shop, but his girlfriend Tam O'Tei hides herself away because she has terrible hair. The Bad Hair Witch, who lives in the nearby tower, makes hair potions from herbs in her garden. Dan goes to take some herbs from her garden but she catches him, and says that he will pay her with his first child. The herbs cure the problem with Tam's hair, and she and Dan are soon married. They have a daughter, Shampoozel, but the Bad Hair Witch seizes the baby and takes her back to the tower to test hair potions on her. Shampoozel grows up with very long and beautiful hair, and the witch uses it to climb in and out of the tower. A prince, Gary Baldy, hears about the hair potions made by the witch and travels to the tower. He watches the witch climb down Shampoozel's hair, and uses it to climb up. He and Shampoozel fall in love, and she escapes from the castle by cutting off her hair and climbing down it. She and Prince Gary go to work in her father Dan's shop. 'Shampoozel' was written by Laurence Anholt and illustrated by Arthur Robins.
Little Red Riding Hood
A classic fairytale with a bit of a twist! Little Red Riding Hood meets a wolf in the forest and they have a friendly little dance. Red points to where she’s going, giving the wolf the idea to race off to get there first. When Red arrives at her grandmother’s house, she soon realises that something isn’t right. Red stares at her big eyes, big ears and even bigger teeth - and it's at that point she knows that it’s actually the wolf! After a pillow fight, Red finds her grandmother in the wardrobe and together they drive the wolf from the house.
The Princess and the Pea
The Princess and The Pea is told using physical theatre and interpretive dance. In this modern slant on the classic tale, five princesses are queuing up to audition to be the prince’s new wife, in the style of a TV talent show. He's unimpressed with the surreal performances of the first four, but falls in love with the last one who sings him a sweet love song. His mother the queen isn't convinced she's a real princess and makes her sleep on a pile of mattresses with a tiny pea right at the bottom. When she sleeps badly, the queen takes it as a sign that she is truly royal and they live happily ever after.
The Snow Dragon
Adrian Lester narrates a story about a world divided into two halves, the north and the south. The southern half is ruled by evil fire dragons and the north is ruled by peace-loving snow dragons. In between the two halves live the two-legs. A special book known as 'book' is a set of instructions of how the world works. The fire dragons get hold of the book and cause the happening, which destroys the land and forces the two-legs to live underground to protect themselves from the fire dragons. However, a little boy called Tuft is a two-leg who joins forces with a snow dragon to save the world from the fire dragons. 'The Snow Dragon' was written by Vivian French and illustrated by Chris Fisher.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Twelve princesses line up in their dormitory to be inspected by their father at bedtime. He conducts them into their beds and says goodnight. As soon as he’s left the room, the princesses' silver slippers start to twitch. They leave through a magic wardrobe only to return just before dawn their shoes scuffed and soiled. The king sets a prince to watch the princesses and solve the mystery of their ruined shoes. They drug him with sleeping powder in milk and slip out again. The next night the king leaves a soldier to watch over them – he only pretends to drink the milk and follows them out through the wardrobe, to join them dancing. When he tells the king what he’s seen, the princesses think their dancing days are numbered, but then the king returns in dancing shoes and wants to go with them!
Goldilocks goes into a house in the forest. What will she find there? Watch and find out!
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack has some magic beans! What will happen when they start to grow in his garden? Watch and find out!
What is fiction? These are stories where the content is about imaginary events and characters that have been invented by the author.
Click on the link underneath the picture to hear the story read.
What is non-fiction? Examples of non-fiction writing are essays, blogs, journals, textbooks, biographies, diaries, documentaries, historical facts, scientific information, photographs, travel books, user guides, diagrams and some types of journalism. The content of non-fiction writing is mostly factual information.