Month: October 2011

Room on the Broom, served with a twist ;)

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Dedicated to all the children and parents who came for the storytelling @ BSC Kuala Lumpur held recently, and to those who will be celebrating the spooktacular horror-ween later. This is still very roughly written; just want to get this out on time haha 😛

I tweaked it from the original Room on the Broom and made it more sinister (just for Halloween ;))

Wanda the Witch had a tall, shiny hat,
It had stars so bright it’d blind a bat!
She also had a ribbon that’s yellow,
Which she tied in a bow,
And a magic wand with a star that glowed.

One bright Sunday morning,
With magic, she made a new broomstick that was striking,
Painted with colours of the rainbow,
It’d be a waste not to ride it and see it glow!

“We’ve got no time to waste!” said she,
“Let’s ride into the sky so everyone see!”
“Meow, can I come too?” asked her cat,
“Of course not, you filthy little scrat*!” (a cat and a rat – Wanda’s creation)

“Let’s go broom! Into the sky!”
Off they went, way, way up high,
Above the ground and all the trees,
The broom and Wanda flew with ease…

Then suddenly, the wind went “Fwhooo! Fwhooo!”     
Stronger and stronger it blew,
“Oh no!! My starry hat!” It spun round and round,
And fell lower and lower to the ground.

Wanda commanded, “Down, broom, down!”
And they flew lower and lower to the ground.
Wanda searched high and low for the hat,
She couldn’t find it, and wasn’t glad.

Then she heard “Woof! Woof!” from behind,
There it was, a dog on its hind,
In his mouth was a familiar-looking hat,
And my, was Wanda glad!

“That’s my hat! Let it go, you dirty dog! Come here!”  
She took it from him and then made him disappear.

Wanda hopped on to her broom,
And once again, away they zoom,
Above the ground and all the trees,
The broom and Wanda flew with ease…

Then suddenly, the wind went “Fwhooo! Fwhooo!”
Stronger and stronger it blew,
“Oh no!! My yellow bow!” It spun round and round,
And fell lower and lower to the ground.

Wanda commanded, “Down, broom, down!”
And they flew lower and lower to the ground.
Wanda searched high and low for her bow,
She couldn’t find it, and was about to go.

Then she heard from above, “Tweet! Tweet!”
There it was, a bird flapping its wings to greet,
A yellow bow, in her beak!
Wanda was so happy she could hardly speak.

All she said was, “You ugly bird, come here!”
She took the bow and then made the bird disappear.

Wanda hopped on to her broom,
And once again, away they zoom,
Above the ground and all the trees,
The broom and Wanda flew with ease…

Then again, the wind went “Fwhooo! Fwhooo!”
Stronger and stronger it blew,
“Oh no!! My magic wand!” It spun round and round,
And fell lower and lower to the ground.

Wanda commanded, “Down, broom, down!”
And they flew lower and lower to the ground.
Wanda searched high and low for her wand,
She couldn’t find it, even by the pond.

Then she heard, “Wibbit! Wibbit!”
There it was, a frog jumping up n down to greet,
Waving a wand in his hand,
Wanda was so happy she danced like a crazy hen.

Then she said, “Give me back my wand! Come here!”
She took it from the frog and then made him disappear.

Once more, Wanda hopped on to her broom,
And away they zoom,
Above the ground and all the trees,
The broom and Wanda flew with ease…

This time, the wind blew stronger than before,
“Oh, blimey! A heavy downpour!”
Suddenly, her broom snapped in two!
Wanda the Witch didn’t know what to do.

Down she fell from her broom,
“Oh no! Someone save me from my doom!”
Then she heard a ROAAARRR,

She had fallen into the arms of a monster!
It looked mean, red, and uglier than her!
“It’s…it’s…a…dragonnnn…! Get away from me!”
He said, “No way! I’m going to have you for tea!”

Wanda replied, “I know magic! I can turn you into a chest!”
“Oh, really? Be my guest!”
Then Wanda realised she had lost her wand!
She cried to herself, “Just let me be gone!”

She closed her eyes, ready to be chowed down,
Then “Tweet! Tweet!” came a sound.
Then a “Woof! Woof!” somewhere from the ground,
And a “Wibbit! Wibbit” all around.

Wanda asked, “You three were the dragon?”
“Yes. We know magic too. And we wanted to teach you a lesson.”
“I know I was mean to you… I’m so, so sorry…
Please forgive me…”

They smiled and said, “Next time, be kind.”
Wanda replied, “Thank you so much, new friends of mine.”

Hope you enjoyed the story 🙂 And have a horrofying Halloween!


My First Halloween Scare

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Oh yes..It was a real Halloween for me, all right. Why? Because I wasn’t prepared at all to ‘perform’ a story in front of a crowd in a mall, as I was expecting a much smaller ‘gathering’ doing my typical way of narrating a story i.e. sitting down. But I was caught by surprise when my hubby and I reached the destination, to find many families and children gathered on the 4th floor of Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC). It was buzzing with activities! There was noise, people, music blaring in the background, and an emcee announcing the Halloween activities for the day. Totally not what I had in mind.

Then I was told there’ll be a ‘Trick and Treat Walk’ organised by the mall which will run concurrently with the storytelling session. Oh, so most of them will be going for the trick or treat walk. Phew…! Relieved, I then quickly try to visualise how I was going to conduct the session coz I’ve never been here before. I thought, okay, maybe I sit somewhere in the middle and have the children sit facing me.

When the crowd for the ‘Trick & Treat Walk’ left the vicinity for the activity, the non-participants stayed back. The emcee then announced the storytelling session. During his announcement, I had a quick discussion with Times bookstore liaison, Yuki, about how we should conduct the session – sitting in the middle using one of the stools/low tables or standing in front of the crowd. She quickly suggested in front of the crowd since most of them were comfortably seated already. That’s when I realised…I can’t escape from this. No excuses. That’s when the emcee handed me the mic. Honestly, I had no idea how I wanted to begin, but did it anyway. I think then, if I were to see myself, I’d dig a hole 6 feet under and hide myself from the world HAHA

‘Room on the Broom’ is a pretty long story as compared to ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’. It’s about a witch who went on a ride with her cat, flying happily over rivers and mountains on her broomstick, until the strong wind blew away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. They had to fly back down to search for these things; each time meeting a new friend – a dog, a bird and a frog, who then also joined them on their ride. Their adventure brought them face to face with a red, mean, hungry dragon who wanted to eat the witch.

This was a Halloween scare for me, as it was my first time telling my story standing in front of a ‘crowd’, and not knowing what to expect from them. I had to think on my feet on what I want to do/say next and how as the story progresses. I kinda improvised the story a little bit as I told it, to suit the crowd and their response.

These are some of the pix my hubby took. Hope you like them! And here’s wishing you a HAPPY, HORROR-FYING HALLOWEEN! 😀

Thank you all for coming & joining us on this horrorfying day! 😀

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I forget to note: I was very touched when one of the children came to me, three times, just to say thank you. I have never felt such sincere appreciation before in my xx years of life. He looked me in the eye, with a smile on his face, palms facing each other, and said, “Thank you for everything.” Thank you Faris, for making my day. Thank you very much 🙂 *hugs*

Of witches and princesses!

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For Halloween week, I’ve been asked to do a storytelling session at Times Bookstore in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. And so, I’ve chosen the story, ‘Room on the Broom’, once again from one of my favourite children’s authors, Julia Donaldson. I decided to tell without pictures this time and replaced them with props – a witch’s hat (bought), a magic wand (handmade) and a ribbon (handmade).

I wasn’t sure if I made the right decision by going “picture-free” or not, because in this session, I got a very different audience. All of them conversed more comfortably in Chinese than in English and they were all girls who were pretty shy (though one came out of her shell during our activities session 😉 She is such a sweetie!).

So I had to make sure that they understood me every step of the way by using facial expressions, hand gestures and constant eye contact, plus lots of encouragement to try to get them to participate. To my amazement, they understood the story and could answer the questions later, though it took them some time… 🙂

Why did I decide to go ‘picture-free’? Well, very simply because I find children these days are being bombarded with too many pictures and graphics, telling them what certain things should look like, what and how to think, etc so much so that they aren’t given room to imagine and wonder; something that shouldn’t be taken away from a child. That’s what make them so beautiful and unique. Why stop their sense of wonder by throwing pictures and graphics and limit them from imagining that world and let them take ownership of it?

During our art & craft session, when we were to make our magic wands, I told them the magic wand that I have looks very boring and not very magical. So I asked them to make theirs as colourful and magical as they can, and they came up with their own versions 🙂

When it came to colouring, I told them the same thing. I asked one of them, if you had a magic frog, what colour would it be? She answered me purple, and she coloured her frog purple with a yellow head 🙂 We also had a very colourful witch who had a very colourful cauldron (a rainbow theme) 😉 As for one of them, who didn’t like colouring, I gave her a blank piece of paper to draw and she drew a magic tree which had little houses hanging from its branches 🙂 I encouraged her to show it off to her parents who were sitting nearby.  

Before the end of the session, I told the girls to remember to use their magic wands whenever they need to by saying the magic words they just learnt 😉

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Young, Little Storytellers

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This boy is the youngest, most talented storyteller I’ve ever seen. He’s only 2 years old (At the time of recording) and he told…Jack & The Beanstalk! I saw this on John’s website and thought of sharing with you too 🙂

What do you think? Isn’t he amazing??? 😀 What a joy to watch, huh 😉

Thanks John for sharing!

And while watching that video, I saw this related video – Star Wars according to a 3 year old. It’s soooo cute and funny! And she is sooooo adorable!

Aren’t children great storytellers? 😀

The Joys of Storytelling

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Our friends showing off their fantastic work 🙂 They drew, coloured and spotted!

This week’s story is ‘The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson’. To my surprise 3 boys from last week’s storytelling session, returned 🙂 I was extremely delighted to see all of them again! One of them even called out my name from afar while running towards the stage. I didn’t know it was him at first, because when I turned around looking for the person calling my name, he was no longer there. He startled me by appearing right in front of me. I was elated when I saw that it was him 🙂 After the session he told me, “You know, I was so afraid I’ll be late!” No wonder he ran so fast! Haha

When we were waiting for his mom to come get him, I asked him which story was smarter, ‘The Gruffalo or ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’. He said ‘The Gruffalo’. He said, “I told the story again to my mom and brother. They laughed and liked it too!” I was thrilled hearing that he retold the story, so I asked, “Do you think you can retell ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’?” He thought for a while and said, “If you give me enough time, I can!” with a big grin on his face 🙂

Have no idea which part of the story I was telling here haha

Two new friends joined us this round. The girl was 4 and her brother 6 and am so glad they didn’t leave half way through! 😀 This time round, the boys helped me with the storytelling too. And what wonderful storytellers they were 🙂 Thank you, champs!

Am really looking forward to HALLOWEEN!

These are the recreations of The Big Bad Mouse by Jia Liang & Jia Ler 🙂 Brilliant pieces boys. Well done!

Jia Le's Big Bad Mouse. Looks like the fleas didn't like the BBM! Haha
Jia Liang’s version of The Big Bad Mouse! Arrrr! Check out those muscles!

The Gruffalo-Inspired Artwork & Stories

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The storytelling sessions in SStwo Mall, Petaling Jaya

My very first storytelling session outside of a bookshop. The set up was definitely different, hence I was faced with different challenges. There weren’t many willing participants to come on stage to listen to a story, so we ended up having to beg some children to come onto the stage haha

I was very drawn to a young boy who was reading a book at the book sales nearby. So I approached him (the boy in the Angry Birds t-shirt). The conversation went like this:

Before storytelling session:
Me: Would you like to join us for a storytelling session?
J: No thanks (His exact words. Not impolitely, but with a cute smile on his face :))
Me: Why not?
J: ‘cuz I think it’s gonna be boring.
Me: Don’t worry, it’d be fun!
Boy still looked doubtful.
Me: Ok, why don’t we make a deal. If in anytime you find it boring, you can leave the session. Deal?
J: Ok! Deal!

After storytelling session.
J: Mom, can I come for the storytelling session again next week?
Mom: Did you enjoy it?
J: Yeah! I thought it’d be boring at first. But I enjoyed it! So can we come again?
Mom: Sure. As long as you remind me again next week.

Really hope he’d come again next week 😀

After the storytelling session, we had some activities, one of them was colouring. I told them they could recreate The Gruffalo if they want to. The two below were some of the creative ones. Thanks to their mommy, I can post them here 🙂

Jia Le's very own Gruffalo
This picture on the left is Jia Le’s recreation of the Gruffalo. He decided to make The Gruffalo as colourful as the rainbow 🙂 And those little speech bubbles there, were inspired by his brother (as you can see from the other artwork below). Jia Le’s Gruffalo is 20 years old. He loves tarts and poisonous mushrooms. His Gruffalo is constantly bothered by the fleas on his head (also inpsired by his older brother). Warning to those who haven’t met Jia Le’s Grufflo: He’s an angry and poisonous one! 
Jia Liang, his brother, drew his Gruffalo (the one below) because he doesn’t really like colouring. And he’s one very talented artist. When I first saw what he drew, I was drawn to the little bubbles he drew on top of the gruffalo’s head. When I read it, I realised they were indeed speech bubbles. He created a ‘mini story’ using his own drawing 🙂  
Jia Liang's very own Gruffalo

One of the fleas on the head: Living in the gruffalo’s fur isn’t that bad.
The other flea: I agree!

Horns: He always uses us when he charges at something. Aren’t you tired of that?
The other horn: Of course! What do you think I am?

Gruffalo’s brain: Get that berry! I’m famished!
The Gruffalo: As you can see, I’m just a figure to scare away predators!

The Gruffalo’s tongue: It’s a poisonous tongue, which is why it has those white spots.

The fingers: Isn’t it strange that this big-headed gruffalo have us – small hands and fingers?

The legs: Never! I’m sleeping. No, wait! I’m hibernating!

Tail: I always get sit on!

Aren’t they all creative? :)) Looking forward to posting more. They keep me inspired! 🙂

Children have such amazing minds and spirit. They keep me going, no matter how tired I am. They make my days meaningful 🙂

Group picture taken after the storytelling session