Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jim Henson's The Storyteller, by Anthony Minghella

You can compare this book to J. K. Rowling's fantastic Tales of Beedle the Bard, the small but exciting collection of Wizard fairy tales. The difference is that Rowling's stories were brief, to the point, and completely original. The tales found in Jim Henson's The Storyteller, on the other hand, take quite a few pages to read (maybe half an hour when you're reading out loud), have long and winding (but still exciting and suspenseful!) plot-lines, and were apparently old European folk tales handed down from generations.

I promise you, these stories are absolutely fantastic! Each one is like a mixture of the fairy tales I'm familiar with, like Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, etc. There's magic, clever characters, evil witches and giants, and good triumphing over evil, but hearing them told, they feel somewhat different from the ordinary tales I know. The characters are always portrayed as strong-willed, masters of their own destinies. They aren't stupid like Jack, who climbed the Beanstalk, or helpless damsels in distress like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Interestingly enough though, the expression "3rd time's the charm" seems to apply very heavily in each story.

I loved reading these stories. The writing style is extremely entertaining. What alliteration! The book is written just as if you were hearing someone tell the tales to you, in the oral tradition. Each story is simply amazing. The best part about it is that you can truly see these tales come to life, by viewing them on YouTube! Jim Henson transformed these amazing tales into mini-movies for television, making fantastic creatures come alive by way of the skilled puppetry (or "muppetry") he was famous for. I can't possibly pick a favorite. Perhaps you'll have better luck? I'll attach a link to each story's respective YouTube video clips, so you can see them for yourself. (Well, it at least shows the first part of them. Seeing the rest is up to you.)
Unfortunately, I can't find the YouTube link to the tale "A Story Short", which is quite a shame, because that's a story that actually has the storyteller himself in it. Oh well. Enjoy the stories anyway. And please, check out the book too. It's so much fun to read these stories aloud! ^_^

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