Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bully Billy Goat

DVD Review

Reviewed by Linda Goodman

By Priscilla Howe. Available at (click on Listen to My Stories and from that page click on the CDBaby link to buy this DVD) Email: $12.00. Suggested ages: 3 - 10 years

I first saw Priscilla Howe in April 1989 at the Connecticut Storytelling Festival. She was telling a story about a dragon who loved peanut butter, and everyone listening to her was enchanted. More than twenty years later, Accompanied by her puppet Trixie, she is as enchanting as ever.

The Bully Billy Goat is a collection of five stories, one song, and a movement activity. There is also a bonus story.

The stories come from around the world. The title story, from Poland, is about a billy goat that stations himself in a fox’s den and threatens to head-butt all those who try to make him leave. Luckily for a fox, a wolf, and a bear, a little hedgehog turns the tables on the bully.

The Pancake, from Holland, is reminiscent of The Gingerbread Man, as a pancake accidentally flipped to the floor decides to run away to see the world. Howe allows members of her young audience, to their delight, to choose the animals that the pancake encounters on its journey.

The Bellybutton Bird, a story from Japan, tells of a desperately poor man who, rather than feeling sorry for himself, delights in being serenaded by a bird that later saves him from execution and helps him gain great wealth.

France’s entry on this recording is Drakestail, a duck who is determined to get back money that the king borrowed from him. Drakestail is successful because he understands that no one can have too many friends.

The Village of No Cats, set in Bulgaria, is about a trickster who helps rid a village of its overwhelming mice population. A misunderstanding occurs, however, and a comically sad state of affairs is the end result. No good deed goes unpunished.

Small children often need breaks to dissipate energy between stories, and Howe provides such breaks with a hand exercise and a song that she teaches the children to sing though lenses of anger, sadness, and happiness. She even has them sing the song “under water.”

The bonus story is The Ghost with One Black Eye, a delightfully funny tale about a baby who wants apple juice and a ghost who will not let anyone get it. When the baby takes matters into his own hands, the ghost learns the meaning of trouble.

Watching Howe’s young audience enjoy her stories is as much fun as watching Howe and her puppet entertain them. Howe expertly keeps her audience engaged by including participatory activities and by maintaining a relaxed presence that allows the children to have fun.
Indeed, I would recommend that anyone who is uncomfortable telling stories to children use this video as a primer. This storyteller knows her stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment