Friday, December 16, 2016

PBT Techniques Series #3 - Storytelling

Storytelling: An Option for Excellence
Typically at PBT, I suggest that you read to your audience. However, there are times when that method isn’t practical such as when a book is wordless and detailed illustrations are key to understanding. If you find such a book that has an excellent story, take the time to learn it well enough to tell. Your audience benefits, and your storytelling skills are improved. Everyone loves to be told an excellent story!
Since I’m breaking with my usual practice and offering sacred stories this December holiday season, I’ll tell you of my favorite Christmas picture book! It is a sacred story involving a small figures in a crèche who come alive to aid a poor and elderly woman. Tell the story since the book is wordless and some illustrations are in small frames, but you must share those clever and funny illustrations afterwards (not before – the surprise will be ruined). As always, having multiple copies of the book is beneficial but not necessary.
Picture Book: A Small Miracle
Author & Illustrator: Peter Collington
Summary: An old woman journeys in the snow to a nearby town to play her organ for coins since she woke up to no coins or food in her small trailer. Earning no coins, at day’s end she reluctantly sells her beloved organ to an antiques dealer. She comes out of the shop and is robbed. 
While walking home, she discovers the robber as he exits the church, charity bucket in hand. 
She grabs the bucket and hurries inside where she finds the scattered crèche. She lovingly replaces the figures and bucket (funds too). 
Hungry and frail, she collapses in the snow on her way home. 
The crèche figures rescue her and carry her unconscious body home. 
Mary and the babe stay beside her side while the others venture out to solve the woman’s problems. 
The Magi use the charity funds to purchase her organ and some groceries. 
They return and prepare a feast. Joseph gets a Christmas tree and repairs her wooden trailer. He is a carpenter after all! A shepherd retrieves her funds from the robber (not sure how this happens!) and decorates the tree. 
The figures leave and the lady awakes. 
The story ends with puzzled but resounding rejoicing. 
 Hanna’s Comments: As you can see, my summary above fails to convey the hilarity of the illustrations. Because the crèche figures don’t change size, the irony of their abilities is comical. Once before on PBT, I offered a wordless book, Flood by Villa. I posted about it because it is a beautiful story of a family’s survival during a flood (an all too common occurrence) which has obvious connections to the biblical flood. Find that post [here].
Original Publisher & Date: Knopf, 1997
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Stories involving characters of The Nativity are early in the gospels of Matthew and Luke; Mary’s declarations against poverty in her Magnificat (Luke 1:44-55)
Idea(s) for Application: Tell the story of this book to a group of children in your faith family who are exploring themes of poverty during the Advent season. 

Are there other wordless books you recommend for a good storytelling session? If so, share them in a comment.