Friday, October 22, 2010

This Week's Story Time: Pumpkins

Next week is Halloween, & the week before I like to focus on pumpkins.
This year not only did I have pumpkin stories to tell, I had 2 small pumpkins I'd grown my garden to show. Plus, I had a pumpkin blossom with a tiny baby pumpkin on it that I'd scrounged when we went pumpkin picking last weekend.
The main story I told isn't from a book, at least not from a book aimed at the kids. It's a story from this book , that I picked up long ago at the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival and probably need to replace since my copy seems to be missing.  In there it is called "The Story of A Pumpkin", but I just call it "Feegbah". A number of storytellers have recorded it and you can hear a bit of the teller credited it with it in the book, Fran Stallings, here. Needless to say, my version is far rowdier, though without the kids, it sounds a lot tamer:


The podcast is about 12 minutes long-- it's a long story to tell, and takes even longer when you're working with a bunch of toddlers/preschoolers.  So I didn't need a lot more stuff to fill out a 30-40 minute program.


I always use this book, because it repeats the same "how a pumpkin grows" story, and the pictures are wonderful. When we got to the pages where it shows the flower drying up and the tiny baby pumpkin ball remaining, that's when I pulled out my REAL flower and pumpkin to show the kids.


We sang "Five Little Pumpkins" to get ready for the Halloween events next week. And we sang the song I've been singing all month long with my Mother Goose toddlers: "The Pumpkin Song":

 
A pumpkin is a pumpkin, a pumpkin is a pumpkin
A pumpkin is a pumpkin, and pumpkins are......
       1) Round    
  2) Big   
   3) Small 
     4)Orange
5)Fun!

I have a lovely velour stuffed pumpkin, about the size of a child's ball, and we passed that around the room as we sang it. With the toddlers, generally one or another of them grabs it, and we try to help them "share" it. But that's difficult with toddlers, of course!

For my oldest kids, the new wrinkle I've added this year is starting the program by passing an object and having them say their names. I KNOW most of them by name, but I've got twins and occasional newcomers, so it helps, and they find it fun. Last week it was a fake apple, this week it was the toy pumpkin.

I did an additional story for them, a Bengali tale I know as "The Old Woman and the Pumpkin".
Years ago, we did it as a puppet show as part of a special outdoor evening program, and I still tell it with puppets. I don't think there's an in print version, but here are two out of print editions, and I may podcast this one too.

Next week's theme is--what else?--HALLOWEEN!



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