Story Teller 1, Part 9

part09I love a well told story – don’t you? One full of intrigue and mystery, adventure and pathos.

Where do you trace your enjoyment of reading back to? Without a shadow of a doubt I trace mine back to Story Teller days. Thanks to Marshall Cavendish and all who kindly contributed. I feel so grateful.


The cover colour of issue 9 was a beautiful shade of orange. The meaning of orange is optomistic and uplifting – offering emotional strength in difficult times.

Many of the characters we come across in this issue were in need of strength, either physically or emotionally – thinking primarily of the kangaroo in Dot and the Hunters. She was in constant danger from people.

There was, as expected, three stunningly illustrated pictures. The main picture was that of the Pied Piper and the two inset pictures depict: Jester flying in a plane and the Genie in the bottle – assuredly deserved. Find out how it happens if you haven’t read the story already.

Stories in this issue:

  • Abdulla and the Genie
  • Dot and the Hunters
  • Jester and the Vanishing Castle
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  • Neville Toogood
  • The Pied Piper

Music in this issue

Gyorgy Behar was the composer for Abdullah and the Genie – title: Two Turkish Folk songs


Robert Powell had read Aldo in Arcadia for issues 1, 2 and 3 and in this issue made a welcome return to read: The Boy who Cried Wolf and The Pied Piper.
Robert Powell is best known for his portrayal of Jesus in the movie Jesus of Nazareth and the fictional secret agent Richard Hannay

Overall View

The story of Jester Minute was cleverly tied up in this second installment. What a character – still makes me smile.

Geraldine McCaughrean was one of Story Teller’s in-house authors and did a cracking job with Neville Toogood.

The Boy who Cried Wolf was this issue’s Famous Fable and the moral of the story rings true today.

In general this was a great issue. However, my one gripe is the lack of a poem. I think ST did a great job of providing short, sometimes funny sometimes thought provoking poems as a rule.

Until next time, happy reading!

Review by Graeme Johnston

Story Teller 1 Part 8

part08The Cover

On 12 April 1983, part 8 of Story Teller was published and the main picture on the front was Dot and the Kangaroo – a picture which promised lots of adventure ahead for us readers. The other two pictures were of The Selfish Giant, and Boffy and the Teacher Eater.

The colour theme of this issue was pink: caring, compassion and love. Pink gets its lust for action from red and white gives it an opportunity to achieve success and insight. I think this is very reflective of what Story Teller was for us. This issue had it all: action, success, mystery and love.

Stories in this issue:

  • Dot Loses her Way
  • Oliphaunt
  • The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg
  • The Selfish Giant
  • Jester Minute and the Vanishing Castle
  • The Creation of Man
  • Boffy and the Teacher Eater


What would Story Teller have been without its beautiful and haunting scores? In this issue we were treated to music from Don Harper, Joe Griffiths and Johnny Pearson amongst others. John Griffiths’ delicate notes playing through The Selfish Giant make it all the more moving as we listen and what an emotional story it is. Johnny Pearson, Richard Harvey and Keith Nichols contributed skilfully to Jester Minute – high flying adventure is the theme of this story and you really experience it as you hear the compositions of: Horn Pipe, mini terror 2 and Silent Tears. Prior to Story Teller Johnny Griffiths had been an arranger for Top of the Pops and was also the composer for music which featured in the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small.


The readers who skilfully read for this issue were Carole Boyd, Joss Ackland and Nigel Lambert.

Nigel Lambert had read for the series many times before this edition but this was the first time to read for Carole Boyd and Joss Ackland. Carole read Dot and the Kangaroo and The Goose that laid the Golden Egg, while Joss read Oliphaunt, The Selfish Giant and The Creation of Man.

Carole trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama, where she won the principal national prize for voice, and the Carleton Hobbs Award and is most famous for voicing the character Lynda Snell in BBC 4’s The Archers.

Joss is an English actor who has appeared in more than 130 film and television roles. He was the voice for Black Rabbit in the film Watership Down and appeared in the two-part TV serial Hogfather based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

Overall View

This issue presented us with the stammering hero Jester Minute – by far one of my favourite characters in Story Teller. Jester Minute didn’t start out as a hero but by the end of the two parter he certainly was.

Oliphaunt was an interesting poem and the description is vivid – you would want this guy on your side. Interesting fact: Oliphant is the Dutch word for Elephant – perhaps the inspiration for Tolkien’s poem?

Dot and the Kangaroo was the new serial for this issue. The story was originally written by Ethel C. Pedley about a little girl named Dot who gets lost in the Australian outback and is eventually befriended by a kangaroo. Other than being a serial in Story Teller it was adapted into a stage production in 1924, and a film in 1977 – which I remember vividly. This story was one which sat in this series with great ease and comfort – plenty of adventures and intrigue.

The Selfish Giant was written in 1888 by Oscar Wilde and first appeared in his book: The Happy Prince and Other Tales. It contains five stories: “The Happy Prince”, “The Nightingale and the Rose”, “The Selfish Giant”, “The Devoted Friend”, and “The Remarkable Rocket”. Perhaps the sadness of the children who can no longer play in the giant’s garden is reflected in that of Wilde’s sons as their beloved father spent more time with his lovers than with them. It appears to be an allegory and to this end the little boy who comes to take the giant to paradise may represent Jesus taking his child home to Heaven.

The Goose that laid the Golden Egg is a familiar Aesop’s fable and was used to teach us all an important moral: don’t be greedy!!

Boffy and the Teacher Eater was written by Margaret Stuart Barry in 1973. It is the story of a boy genius: Boffy. He creates a teacher eater to gulp down all the unwanted staff at his school, it takes a furious father armed with a tin-opener to clear up the resulting disorder.

The Creation of Man is a well told Native American myth of creation and part of their oral tradition. Oral tradition is extremely important to Indian/Native American culture. If there was no oral tradition, there would be no story telling; therefore, no one would know these creation stories today.

Thank you Story Teller for being so diverse in your telling of stories.

Until next time, happy reading

Review by Graeme Johnston

Story Teller 1 Part 7

On the cover of part 7 we have three eye catching pictures. The main picture is from The Snow Queen and features Kai and Gerda riding a reindeer and looking very happy indeed – rather majestic in my opinion! The other two are from Little Spook of Spook Hall and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The colour of this issue is orange. The colour orange means adventure and social communication/friendship. This issue was certainly full of adventure and tales of friends helping each other where possible.

Stories in this issue:

  • The Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Snow Queen
  • A Pocket full of Trouble
  • Little Spook of Spook Hall
  • The Silly Tortoise
  • Timbertwig Gets a New Hat
  • Faster than Fairies

As with the previous parts of ST we have a number of wonderful musical pieces which simply sweep us along and deeper into the stories presented. The composers are many and varied. Norman Candler/Gerhard Narholz’s music accompanies The Three Billy Goats Gruff – fun and jovial stuff! Candler was a composer of easy listening and film scores. Later in his career he was involved in movies such as The Lion King and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Readers in this issue included Nigel Pegram, Liza Goddard and George Layton. George Layton returned primarily to continue the adventures of Timbertwig – doing a stellar job as he had done before! Liza Goddard read the Snow Queen and did so beautifully – casting a magic spell of her own as we listened enchantedly! Liza is best known for starring in Woof (CITV) and was the female captain in Give us a Clue for many years.
Nigel Pegram was an actor and did some great voice acting in All Dogs go to Heaven and Fivel goes West.

Overall view
Part 6 of ST volume 1 continued the high level of quality we had come to expect. The Timbertwig serial’s third installment was a fine adventure: Granny Knot throws Timbertwig’s hat in the fire and somehow he had to find a new hat and a home for Abigail. Lots of laughter ensue!

The Snow Queen is a masterful retelling of this well known story and really weaves a spell on the listener.

My favourite story in this issue has to be Little Spook of Spook Hall. It tells the story of a little ghost in search of his scream – humorous to listen to. Perhaps the take away thought is: whatever you are aiming for in your life keep striving until you get there – all things are possible!!

The poem, Faster than Fairies, tells a story of a train journey as it races through the countryside, “charging along like troops in a battle”. What a masterful picture the words paint for us! Makes me want to go on a train ride asap!! The things you can see from a train – stunning scenery in the British Isles! We are lucky, aren’t we?

Until next time: happy reading!!

Review by Graeme Johnston

Story Teller 1 Part 6

part06Release date: 15.03.1983

Cover: on the cover of this splendid issue of ST there were 3 pictures: Beauty and the Beast, the Flying Piggy Bank and The Moon and the Mill Pond

The colour theme of this issue was purple and the meaning of purple is healing, quite fitting for an edition which spoke in several of its stories about people who were not ‘feeling well’ in one way or another.

Stories in this issue:

  • Classic Fairy story: Beauty and the Beast
  • Cartoon Heroes: Dodo and the Pot of Gold
  • Story Teller Serial: Timbertwig and the Caravan of Surprises
  • Tales of Today: The Flying Piggy Bank
  • Rhymes and Verse: The Land of the Bumbley Boo
  • The Magical World of Animals: The Moon and the Mill Pond
  • Folk Tales of the World: The Friendly Bear

The music for this issue of ST was from a variety of composers but to my mind the best and most atmospheric pieces are to be found in The Beauty and the Beast – the principle composer was Richard Harvey and the pieces used were titled: Victorian Lullaby The Waiting Silence Night. The final piece used was Butcher Bouquets and composed by Laurie Johnson.

Those authors which contributed to this issue included: George Layton and Patricia Brake. Coincidentally George was the Narrator for the excellent children’s cartoon Pigeon street in 1981 and had a recurring role in Eastenders as Norman Simmonds in 2011/2012. Patricia Brake is best known for her role as Ingrid Fletcher in the BBC sitcom Porridge.

Overall view:
Issue 6 of Story Teller volume 1 was indeed a stalwart of the series. It heralded the second adventure of one of the best characters Story Teller ever produced: Timbertwig. In which Granny ends up with a hairy nose but it all pans out alright in the end.

The poem, The Land of the Bumbley Boo was complete nonsense but a lot of fun to read – thanks to Spike Milligan with his zany sense of humour for this now classic piece of poetry.

Beauty and the Beast was new to me at this stage and after listening to it left me with a strong Impression – one of heart and caring for others! The music was beautiful and haunting and stays with me to this day. An interesting point is that this story was originally written in French and when translated the young girl’s name (which is Beauty in the story) is actually Belle. Perhaps Disney was on to something when they chose to keep the name of origin. It has a certain ring to it – what do you think?

The Moon and the Mill pond gives us a fine example of Brer Rabbit’s adventures of which Uncle Remus is the principle contributor. In actual fact the author was called Joel Chandler Harris. His stories revolutionized literature in his process of writing them. I think we can be thankful for his efforts indeed and to Marshall Cavendish’s wisdom in choosing such a fine eclectic collection of stories as demonstrated in issue 6 of Story Teller.

Review by Graeme Johnston

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 47,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.


In 2010, there was 1 new post, growing the total archive of this blog to 76 posts. There were 4 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 477kb.

The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 301 views. The most popular post that day was Welcome.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for storyteller marshall cavendish, marshall cavendish storyteller on cd, marshall cavendish storyteller, little story teller, and storyteller marshall cavendish cd.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Welcome October 2009


Story Teller 1 October 2009


Story Teller 2 October 2009


FAQs October 2009


My Big Book of Fairy Tales October 2009