The funny thing about doing reviews is that I can tell you what I like or don’t like about something, but those may not be the things YOU like or dislike. So, like everything else on this blog, please filter it through the fact that you are the expert on your own family and you will find in your heart what works best or does not work best. Find what resonates with you!
Onto the review! This is a paperback, spiral-bound little book of about 38 pages or so entitled “Autumn Tales: A seasonal collection of poems and stories to be a helpful resource for teachers and parents.”
This book begins with 11 pages of verses that cover all the things one would see or associate with fall: leaves, wind, farm animals and worker archetypal characters, geese, Harvest moons, pumpkins, spiders, witches for Halloween, apples, acorn fairies, ponies, Michaelmas swords and taming dragons, lanterns, Jack Frost, scarecrows and more! The verses would be especially wonderful for ages 3-6, and perhaps you could even stretch them into using them for the grades or using the suggestion of movement from a verse for Form Drawing or poetry or handwriting practice for the grades after the children learn the verses orally. (yes, there is that oral work to handwriting to reading practice again!) . I also like the idea of taking these verses and using them as a basis for your Nature Table or even taking the verses and crafting a fine story out of them. For example, there is a sweet verse about a spider and a mouse living in a warm, snug little pumpkin house all winter that would be easy to make into a longer story.
The stories themselves are: Harvest Moon Magic, Piper’s Wild Plum Pie, How Witchamaroo Became the Pocket Witch (this story is a Halloween tradition in our house! Who does not like Witchamaroo?), The Star House (great for visits to the apple orchard to pick apples), The Apple Elves, Star Kisses, Mother Earth’s Children, Little Boy Knight (a Michaelmas tale for young children), Why Trees Turn Color in Autumn, How Corn Came to the World, The Wise Ant and Autumn Bear.
The stories themselves would most likely appeal to the four to six year old crowd, although a three-year-old could follow “Autumn Bear”. I find many of the stories delightful myself as an adult, so again, I think it would all depend how you decide to work with them and bring them into gardening or seasonal traditions.
There is one page at the back of the book with some simple patterns for a maple leaf, a pumpkin, a red apple and a mouse in order to make some finger puppets.
If you are interested in learning more about this book, please see this link over at Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Arts: http://junipertreepuppets.com/books/
I had the great fortune of once attending a workshop with Suzanne Down; my secret dream is to one day go through her puppetry arts training. Ah, the big dreams of life!