Monday, 10 January 2011

Childhood, Revisited

Monday, 10 January 2011
My Grandma and I always had a very special relationship.  First grandchild and all that.  Growing up in Canada while she was thousands of miles away in England seemed, if anything, to strengthen the special bond we shared.  She was exceedingly thoughtful and generous, and it is partly to her I give credit for instilling in me a love of literature and storytelling. 

And here is why:

Does anyone else remember a serial magazine that came out in the early 80’s in the UK, called Story Teller? 

It was produced by Marshall Cavendish, and was a fortnightly publication of magazines with cassette tapes, filled with some of the best stories and poems... some classics, some contemporary, but narrated by an assortment of the UK’s finest stars of the stage and screen.  Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, Hayley Mills, Bernard Cribbins, Tom Baker, Tim Curry... I could go on and on.

My lovely Grandma used to buy these for us from the newsagent, and send them to Canada for me.  I used to listen to the stories for hours and hours; magazines covering more space on my bed than the duvet, cassette tapes strewn here, there and everywhere, headphones on.  These stories were just magical, and those tales are so tightly woven into the memories of my childhood that even now, I can recall them to astonishing levels of detail.

Today, I stumbled upon a website dedicated to the Story Teller books and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you:

If you have kids, run – don’t walk – to the ‘Videos’ section, where you will find an amazing collection of You Tube links; someone has taken the trouble to scan the stories and turn them into videos.

I have spent most of the night listening to these; what an incredible treat. 

Here are a few of my very favourites:

Rapunzel – beautifully narrated by the enchanting Hayley Mills – this was always my favourite favourite.

Timbertwig and the Caravan of Surprises – the voices in this one are amazing! I dare you not to laugh at the sound of Granny Knot blowing her enormous nose...

Scarlet Braces – hypnotised by the Irish accent in this one!

Abdullah and the Genie – a peasant outwits the might of a genie in a bottle

The Great Big Hairy Boggart – about a farmer named “Jude” (!!)

Jester Minute – a court jester who lives in a toy castle

If you have kids, grab your laptop, snug up on the sofa and make your way through these stories.

Thanks so much to the makers of this website – just magical.  I can’t wait to make my way through them all with my kids!


1 people had something to say about this...:

Jun said...

Thank you for blogging about the site. I created the site as a tribute to Story Teller and also to reach out to fellow fans like me whose childhood was made very magical by this very special publication. Ant.