Yes, I’m a crazy mad storyteller, but underneath the wigs and comedy glasses I’m also a hard-nosed businesswoman (!) so I’ve been looking through my business glasses at the field of early years theatre. I have observed that the shows with the most commercial success in this field are adaptations of a book.
So I’ve written a book!
Or more accurately, I’ve taken everything I’ve learned in 6 years of storytelling, researching early years literacy development, delivering against the EYFS, and engaging both adults & kids in the same story – and poured it into a book. A picture book. A Story Storks picture book. Wanna see a picture….?
I haven’t done the pictures, you’ll be pleased to hear. The very talented Hannah Hines has been working away bringing to the page the crazy characters that you get to meet when I tell the story at Story Storks. Though we only met to work on this book, turns out our husbands know one another of old and she lives on the other side of the park, 2 mins from my house. It feels like destiny!
I bang on about it time and time again, but the main aim of reading to your child should be to encourage them to become a reader for pleasure, so I’ve made this story as hilarious as I can. I’ve used crazy words. I’ve used the word ludicrously! I’ve used the word bottom! The characters are engaging, funny and fabulous. The end is awesome!!
But what really sets this book apart from other pictures books is the typography. Rather than simply using it to tell the story, we’ve worked hard to ensure that the typography aids the reader in the art of storytelling. If you like doing the voices, you’ll know exactly whose voice you should be doing (I am always doing the wrong voice and it drives me mad!). We’ve pulled words out, emphasised bits, and made it large and clear on a white background.
Once your little ones start to read for themselves, they can read parts of the story too. It’s segmented so that you can read bits, and the kids can read bits, and everybody knows what they should be reading. When I read it with my two, aged 8 and 4, we were virtually doing a play! And because we’ve used clear print, on plain backgrounds, early readers can join in.
I’ve tested it on lots of kids this week, and their early years’ teachers. It has gone down a storm! The kids loved it. One child loved it so much she tried to get in the book. The little ones listened and interacted beautifully, the bigger kids could answer all the questions and the reception kids were even starting to try to read some of the bits for themselves.
And the wolf – they found him both scary and funny. No-one cried. No-one!
The teachers loved it too. They are writing their own assessments of how the book is not only hilarious but how it also helps to develop children’s literacy by delivering against the EYFS, raising print awareness, improving vocabulary and helping to develop phonological awareness but to name a few points.
I couldn’t be more proud of the work that Hannah and I have achieved with this book. I’ve also had the time of my life putting it together so there will be more!
The book will be available on Amazon from the 23rd November, with hard copies available to buy at the show!
There are still tickets available for the show. To book, contact the Rose Theatre Box Office on 020 81740900 or click HERE to book online.
The show runs from the 5th to 9th December with performances at 10:30am and 1:30pm.
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown-ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. She is also passionate about helping and supporting parents through the early years and lobbying for a better understanding of them and the issues they present. Occasionally she also speaks up for the kids too!