Book Review: 147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell

This is an extract  from a review due to appear in Facts & Fiction Magazine, which can be bought here…

147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell by Chris Smith – review by Adam Guillain

I love this book! I have a copy at my desk, one by my bed and another in my work bag. For me, it’s always my first book of reference when looking for stories that I can learn to tell quickly and then, in turn, teach others to retell. In this wonderfully diverse collection, we not only get to raid the mighty and impressive repertoire of stories that Chris Smith has performed as a storyteller over his distinguished career, but we are handed his storyteller’s voice on a plate. I enjoy literary versions of traditional stories as much as anyone, but to be told a story in a storyteller’s  voice has a directness and power that cuts right to the core of the human condition. It’s the voice that has somehow seeped into our DNA – the one passed down through the generations – the voice we somehow know and feel an instant connection with.

That’s what makes Smith’s tellings so accessible and quick to learn, enabling us when we do so to find our own storyteller’s voice. The economy of language is tight and cutting – sometimes even brutally so –  while at the same time, the lyricism and rhythm embedded within poignant moments within the narratives have a richness that sings out to us and draws us in. The collection kicks off with the playful and hilarious Monkey and Hats from India, and then takes us on a joyful journey around the cultures of the world.

…This book is a gift to the world. A treasure filled with joy and the implicit desire of the storyteller within us all to pass on our story.

Buy the book here…

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