Project Description

Session Description

Everyone has a story to tell. We are all storytellers. Stories connect us with others.  Perhaps there isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. In this session you will explore the basic elements of a story and how to retell a story using shapes.

Key questions answered:

  • Where do stories come from?
  • How do you retell a story using shapes?
  • What is an Anthology?

“Writing in a warm, welcoming voice peppered with humor, Yolen retells more than thirty myths, fairy tales, and fables…Dyer’s dainty gouache-and-pencil spot illustrations bring additional liveliness to each tale in a collection that’s ideal for bedtime or story time.” —Publishers Weekly

From beloved author Jane Yolen and acclaimed illustrator Jane Dyer a collection of thirty stories from around the world, perfect for sharing.

This collection of well-known and not-so-well known stories, fairy tales, folk tales, and fables from Russia to Africa to Korea and beyond includes magic tales, homey tales, and animal tales. As Jane Yolen says in her introduction, “These are stories that are short, full of remarkable characters, infinitely retellable, and fit for children between three and five years of age. I hope—as you read them with a child on your lap, or snuggled next to you in bed, or sitting with young friends at your feet, their eager faces falling under the story’s spell—I hope that you love the stories as well as they do.”

Once There Was a Story

Fun Activity Sheets

Directions:  Every Book Talk session has “Fun Activities” that you can download, print and share.  The activity sheets include coloring, observing, building and learning.  Some of the activities are tied to the book or topic of the session, others are not.  Either way, it is my hope that you will have FUN!

Download and print one or more of these sheets.  Then using markers or crayons, decorate the sheet.  Next, create a brief story based on the picture (or pictures) you colored.  Finally, share your picture or story with Steve at:

Coloring Sheet Castle
Coloring Sheet Hansel and Gretel 
Coloring Sheet Texas Ranger

Observation activities are designed to get you thinking outside the box.  It is my hope that you will see things in a new way, with a different perspective.  The skill of observing is helpful in reading as well as life.

Observation Sheet – Which Way Facing

Good stories have essential elements.  If they are missing a single element, you might say they are missing a piece.  And one single piece can make a story incomplete.  Using these Building Sheets see if you can find the “missing” piece.  Have fun!

Building Activity -Missing Piece 1
Building Activity -Missing Piece 2

Download these learning sheets and see if you can use shapes to retell the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Using Shapes
Using Shapes Worksheet
Little Red Riding Hood

Learn a Trick – Magic Tricks You Can Do

Directions:  Watch the video tutorial for the magic trick called the Come Back Coin.  Next, download and print the Magic Fun Sheet below.  This sheet provides written instructions for the trick in the video as well as a couple of bonus activities.  The video and the fun sheet are from my Amazing Magic Camp.  If you would like to learn more magic tricks or if you ever wanted to take magic lessons consider signing up for for this unique virtual camp.

Come Back Coin Magic Fun Sheet

Come Back Coin Solution Sheet

Disclaimer:  The following links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by or Steve Somers of any of the products, services or opinions. bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

An anthology is defined as a book that has a large collection of writings in similar form, from a similar time, or about a similar subject matter, but by various authors.  The term originates from a Greek word, anthologia, meaning a “collection of flowers.”  The purpose of an anthology is to provide a reader with easy access to a wide range of literary works on a given theme.

Here are a few examples:

Classic Fairy Tales

A lavishly illustrated, enchanting collection of 10 of the best-loved fairy tales, chosen and edited by the artist, who spent more than four years creating the seventy-five oil paintings, reproduced here in full color.

Includes: 10 FAVORITE TALES:

  • Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
  • Puss-in-Boots
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Snow White
  • Tom Thumb
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • The Frog Prince
  • Rumplestiltskin
  • Cinderella
  • The Three Little Pigs

Classic Storybook Fables

Children and adults alike will delight in reading aloud these enduring and enchantingly told stories, richly illustrated and fabulously reimagined by award-winning artist Scott Gustafson.


  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Crow and the Pitcher
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Boy who Cried Wolf
  • The Little Red Hen
  • The Mice in Council
  • The Boy who Went to the North Wind

Classic Bedtime Stories

Once upon a time, artist Scott Gustafson set out to illustrate classic fairy tales and fables. Now he gives us Classic Bedtime Stories, a lavishly illustrated, oversized collection of some of his favorite tales.


  • The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • Little Sambha and the Tigers
  • The Bremen Town Musicians
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Lion and the Mouse
  • Jack and the Beanstalk