________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number VIII . . . . August 4, 1995

Around the World in Eighteen Plays: Folk-tale Scripts for the Classroom

Claire Northrop
Winnipeg: Peguis, 1994
88 pp, paper, b/w illustrations, $14.95
ISBN 1-895411-72-6

Subject Headings:
Children's plays.
Children's theater.
Readers' theater.

Kindergarten - grade 6 / Ages 5 - 11
Review by Patricia Fry

Every teacher knows the value of dramatic role-playing to get an idea across to a class, but it's easy to forget that similar benefits occur when the roles are reversed and the students become the actors. Acting out a story not only stimulates children's interest in reading more stories, it also helps them to develop confidence in speaking expressively. That simple lesson is vividly demonstrated in this excellent resource book aimed at elementary-school teachers.

Author Claire Northrop, a retired teacher who was a storyteller for most of her teaching career, has taken eighteen traditional folk tales from around the world and written them as plays for basic-level readers. The traditional stories were chosen for their timeless quality and their importance to every country's literary heritage because Northrop wants to encourage children to appreciate and celebrate cultural diversity. Traditional stories used in this book include "Three Sillies," "Ti-Jean and the Big White Cat," "Pretty Maruska," and "Happy Hans."

Each play includes a story synopsis, cast list, and suggestions for props and costumes; some also include production notes. In her introduction, Northrop has listed helpful tips for costumes, props, and classroom setup; simplicity is the key word here. Scripts can be used for an informal classroom play or for a full performance; Northrop explains how to use them with pre-readers, emergent readers, and fluent readers. Furthermore, all scripts can be photocopied for classroom use so that all cast members can have their own copy. Finally, they can be used as a pattern for students to create and write their own plays based on favourite stories.

Highly recommended as a teaching resource for grades K to 6.

Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian with the Peel Board of Education.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364