Thank you for all your comments and emails regarding the "should we or shouldn't we?" question of kids. It felt good to finally express my thoughts on it, and I appreciated the insight you gave me!
For more than a year now, we have been going to the library to listen to stories. Whether we hear Miss Connie, Miss Karen, or Miss Shannon, we always love it. We're as dedicated to Family Bedtime Storytime as we are to eating breakfast and brushing our teeth--which is to say, we rarely miss it.
Even though Sydney has a great attention span for us reading her stories, she doesn't always follow along with the stories she hears at the library. Lots of distractions, lots of tending to the younger sister who definitely doesn't pay attention to the stories. But she's certainly picking up more from the stories than she did before. Last night in particular, there was a lot of running back and forth to tell us when something in the story reminds of her something from her real life. "Grandma and Grandpa are in Egypt!" she told us when the alphabet story reached E. "I know an Olivia!" when the O characters were named. "I have a grandpa named Steve!" She's figuring it out.
Knowing that this stage would eventually be coming, a couple months ago I started looking for a certain version of "Peter and the Wolf" that I loved listening to as a kid. I can clearly remember putting the record on and hearing the oboe, the cello (maybe?), and other instruments as Peter and his animal friends searched for the Wolf. I don't quite recall all the details of the story--something about the cat maybe dying, but then not really, hooray! something about a bird?--but I can hear the music clearly. I loved listening to that story.
I did a brief search for the version I grew up with, but either lost patience or got tired of listening to versions that weren't the right one. I had great hopes for a version recommended in a parenting magazine, but it was seriously awful. Horrid. I need to just call my mom and ask her all the pertinent information, but she's in Egypt. Or probably at this moment, in Israel. My dad, sister and grandma are there too. (Check out my sister's post from Egypt that has all sorts of cool pics.)
Anyway, as luck would have it, around the time I first started searching I received copies of Amy Friedman's Tell Me a Story: Timeless Folktales From Around the World and Tell Me a Story 2: Animal Magic. Both these CDs have received great reviews from Cool Mom Picks and rightly so. Listening to the stories makes me remember the magic of sitting in the basement of our house as a kid, eyes closed, envisioning the stories taking place. I think I was lucky as a kid because all I have are fond memories of listening to stories on records. Probably not all the stories were fabulous, but even the record of "Benji" and "Benji the Hunted" were among my faves. Especially since the record had a picture of Benji printed right on it. So cool.
Well, Amy Friedman's stories are cool too. They're multi-cultural enough that Jason is considering having his World Cultures class listen to some of the stories. The wonderful music is by Laura Hall (she of Whose Line is it Anyway? fame), and the narration includes all the kinds of voices that people should be using when they're reading stories (although I have to admit that no one can beat Jim Dale--who narrates the Harry Potter books--for amazing vocal delivery).
Sydney isn't quite ready to be listening to stories in the car. She tries, but she's still a books-with-pages kind of girl. That's okay. There's still plenty of years ahead of her for listening to stories. Just enough time for me to find that version of Peter and the Wolf that I love. In the meantime, I've been listening to the stories myself (my favorite story is called "A Sense of Theft" from the first collection...so clever). I never get tired of listening to stories.
If you or your kids are into listening to stories, I have Ms. Friedman's newest Tell me a Story album to give away. Tell me a Story 2: Animal Magic features seven tales that pull from Nigerian, Chinese, Australian, East Indian, French Canadian, Native American, and Guatemalan storytelling traditions. No road trip is complete without some great stories to go along. Leave a comment, and I'll choose a winner Saturday morning at 10 am PST.
Just for my own future reference, any audiostories you'd recommend to kids? I can't imagine our CD collection of stories will ever outpace our book collection, but since Sydney does know how to run the iPod then we might as well put some stories on it!
(c) Creature Bug 2008. All rights reserved.