StoryWorld: Create-A-Story-Kit by John and Caitlín Matthews, with illustrations by Wayne Anderson, Paul Hess, David Lawrence, Nicki Palin and Tomislav Tomić is the most wonderfully amazing, creatively inspiring way to get kids thinking, talking and maybe even writing. Published by Templar Books, the UK arm of American children's book publisher, Candlewick Press, this gorgeous collection is very reasonably priced (at slightly less than a new hardcover children's book and slightly more than a paperback) at $12.95 and comes with 40 cards as well as a 20 page Storytelling Book that has an introduction to the craft of storytelling, how to use StoryWorld, How to Search for the Hidden Clues, How to Play with One Person and Games to Play with the Cards that include acting games, playing with adults, playing with a group and the Tale-That-Never-Ends-Game.
|The Well of Memory ripples with things that happened long ago. Who has come to the well and why? What waits at the bottom of the steps? What is the for?|
Each card has a caption on the front and a brief list of information about the image on the card as well as questions to ponder when creating your story. The cards have four different borders, different illustrators creating each one, and the subjects of the four groups are all slightly different but related. There are hidden clues, objects that appear on more than one card, but in various sizes. The Soldier can be seen as a small silhouette on the River card. The Door to Faeryland can be seen tucked away in a hedge on the Father card. These can be used to link the cards and create a thread for a story, or they can just be fun things to look for while examining the beautiful illustrations on the cards themselves. When you are ready to tell a story, the cards themselves also provide story prompts, which I have added as captions for some of the cards here.
|The River: A pathway between worlds. What is the eagle looking for? Who lives in the little house? What lies beyond the mountains?|
Wayne Anderson, illustrator of two of my favorite picture books, The Tin Forest and The Dragon Machine and a contributor to the magical encyclopedias by Professor Ari Berk, The Secret History of Mermaids and The Secret History of Giants, was the big name that drew me to this unique addition to the world of children's books. His work does not disappoint, but I found myself very pleasantly surprised by the impact these cards have on all who see them. I opened them first by myself and was instantly enthralled and found myself matching up cards and thinking about story threads without even realizing it. When I took the deck of cards to a family gathering, I had seven kids, between the ages of 6 - 9, gathered around me selecting cards, thinking up names for the people on the cards and waiting patiently for their turn as we went around the circle and told a story. Finding the deck a few weeks later, my six year old son was entranced all over again. He took about 20 minutes to sort the deck out and pick the cards for the story he wanted to tell. I did a little bit of reading for him and we were off, with him telling the story faster than I could type! Now, every time he sees me at the computer, he thinks that it is time to keep working on his story and I hate to tell him no. So, I thought that the best endorsement for StoryWorld: Create-A-Story-Kit is to share the story we created together with you right here. Pictured are the 13 cards that he selected. What follows is the story he told, with a little embellishment from me. Hopefully we will finish it some day...