In folk tales, as in cartoons, the laws of physics and biology often are violated without a second thought. Things get blown up, and then are fine; coyotes run off the edge of a cliff and hover in mid-air a moment before plunging; and mice have their tails cut off and then restored. As in the British story "The Cat and the Mouse", which is based on the cumulative list motif, similar to the nursery rhyme "The House That Jack Built". The best-known version of the story is itself told in rhyme by folklorist Joseph Jacobs, who included it in a volume of English stories published in 1890. And it was this version that was familiar to our winner in the Be A Character Contest, a young man from Indiana named Aiden. He requested this story, so we made him the mouse (Ouch! Sorry about that.) But of course we weren't content to copy someone else's version of the tale (tail) despite its appealing rhyming rhythmic lines. We devised, as usual, our own madcap, quasi-improvised retelling.
We bring this podcast to you from Quincy, IL and Hannibal, MO, where we return to perform at libraries in both cities. And the libraries, we're happy to say, were not damaged by the recent flooding of the Mississippi River, though some parts of both cities definitely were soaked. So far, all systems are go for the annual Tom Sawyer Days held during the Independence Day weekend in Hannibal. And we're back to participate for the first time in several years.
We also tell you all about our recent encounter in Hawaii with Wally Amos, the famous cookie guru who now is heavily involved with promoting reading, particularly reading aloud to children. Not only does he read to kids himself, he is chair of the Read It Loud Foundation, which has a goal of enticing at least 5 million parents to read to their kids each day for at least 10 minutes. He donates 10 percent of the profits from his cookie stores in Kailua and Honolulu to this endeavor, and makes promotional appearances across the country to promote it -- including Savannah, GA., where Read It Loud! Savannah already has enjoyed considerable success. One of the activities of the program in Savannah is to donate a book to the parents of each child born in the community. It's never too early to start!
We salute Wally Amos and Read It Loud for the admirable work they do -- which, after all, is very much in line with the work we do ourselves.
Happy Listening (whatever your age),
Dennis (Narrator, Cow, Farmer's Wife, Butcher, Painter), Kimberly (Cat, Farmer, Baker), and Zephyr (Mouse)
Link: Folktales to Read Out Loud