Project Description

Session Description

People around the world love listening to and telling stories.  Most original fairy tales were told and retold by word of mouth before there were written books.  Some stories are quite similar to each other, even though the stories originated in different places.

Key questions answered:

  • Where do stories come from?
  • What are some of the essential elements of a story?

Based on the traditional fairy tale ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’, this vibrantly illustrated story is sure to become a favourite in every home. Find out what happens when a magic pot won’t stop cooking porridge! Part of the Ladybird ‘First Favourite Tales’ series – a perfect introduction to fairy tales for preschoolers – this book contains lots of funny rhythm and rhyme to delight young children.

Join Rose on her adventures with the pot of porridge that never runs out!   Not only does this magic pot give Rose and her mother something to eat, but also something to share with their neighbors and friends.  Sharing is an understatement in this story as everyone in town gets more than they expected.  So what do they do with all that porridge?  Well, you must read the story to find out.

The Magic Porridge Pot

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 Goldilocks 
Coloring Sheet Three Bears 
Coloring Sheet Jack and Beanstalk 

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 – Triangle

A real boomerang is a curved throwing stick used chiefly by the Aboriginals of Australia for hunting and warfare.  In this session you will create an illusion with two boomerang “like” pieces of cardboard.  Have fun!

Building Activity – Boomerang

Download these learning sheets and see if you can diagram the story called The Blue Bandanna.  Does this story have the essential elements that make up a good story?

Essential Elements of a Story
Essential Elements Worksheet
The Blue Bandanna

Learn a Trick – Magic Tricks You Can Do

Directions:  Watch the video tutorial for the magic trick called the Spoon to Fork.  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.

Spoon to Fork Magic Fun Sheet

Spoon to Fork Solution

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.

Other Online Resources

Have you ever heard different versions of the same or similar story?  Sure, most of us have had this experience.  The main reason is because many stories were shared aloud before they were ever printed in a book.  One example of a story that has been retold in many different ways and times is Jack and the Beanstalk.  The earliest printed version of Jack and the Beanstalk was published in England in the 1730s as The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean, in a satirical collection of folktales.

Many variations of the tale’s themes exist in different countries. The English version, Jack and the Beanstalk, is the most popular and best known variation of the tale.  The tale has appeared primarily in north-central Europe. It has been popular in Finland and Norway. It has appeared as far away as Spain and Romania, but never in Russia or further east. It has also appeared in French tellings in Canada and on to the American Indian tribes stretching from Nova Scotia to British Columbia (Thompson 1946).

Here are 16 modern examples:

A quick search on will reveal these and many more.  Let me highlight a couple of favorites from my collection:

If you think the Giant was the bad guy, terrifying poor little Jack? Think again! In this fun, quirky picture book, discover the other side of this popular fairy tale. Along with bright, bold illustrations, the bestselling OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY series gives young readers a fresh perspective on familiar tales.

Admit it―you’ve always wanted to know: WHAT was Jack thinking? Magic beans? Come on! Get into Jack’s head―and the mother’s, and the giant’s!―as You Choose your path through three new versions of the famous fairy tale, with delightful (or disastrous!) consequences.  There are 48 choices in this version and 25 possible endings.  It is a different but interactive way to read this story.