The Nuts and Bolts of Storytelling

 Background
Information- The PJ Library®
 The
Art of Storytelling:
-General Storytelling Techniques
-Techniques for Reading Five Little Gefiltes
 Text
Study: Honoring Parents
 Suggestions
for Activities and Follow-Up
A program designed for parents and children to attend
Features the reading of a specific PJ Library book,
combined with one or more developmentally
appropriate art, music, cooking ,movement, or social
action activities
For families to meet other PJ Library families
For children and parents to enjoy quality time with one another,
while extracting the maximum amount of meaning from a specific
PJ Library Book
To help families acquire a new or deeper understanding of the
Jewish value(s), tradition(s), holiday celebrations, or historic
period depicted in a specific PJ Library Book.
For families to learn new ways of integrating Jewish practice into
their everyday lives.
To enroll new families in the PJ Library
 Traditional
Telling (reading
the text and showing
the illustrations)
 Using
Flannel Boards
 Using
stick puppets,
hand puppets,
glove puppets
 Music/Song
(singing the story)
 Using
costumed actors
and actresses to
reenact the story
 Chalkboards
Using realistic objects
Power Point Presentations
 Asking
children to create props and then
using these props in the telling of the
The size and age(s) of the group to which you will
be presenting
Story Length and Plot
The Book’s Illustrations
With what types of modalities is the storyteller
most comfortable?
 Story
of five little gefilte fish balls who
continually sneak out of their jar in order
to explore select locations in New York
“Five Little Gefiltes went out one
day, out of the jar and far away”
 “Great
New York Bay”
“They went for a swim in the Great New York Bay”
“They went to a deli and crashed
the buffet”
“They went to the theater and took
in a play.”
Each time, Mama discovers that the gefiltes have gone,
she cries out “Oy Vey”
At Mama’s cry, the majority of the gefiltes return. One,
however, remains in the newly discovered location.
 Mama
 “Sad
is all alone
Mama Gefilte went out one day. She
went to the park and kvetched the whole
 The
gefiltes love and honor their mother.
 “And
the gefiltes came back ‘cause each
was a mensch!”
Simple text
Developmentally appropriate topic
Text is filled with fun and vibrant Yiddish expressions
Familiarity of Music- (“ Five Little Ducks Went Out
One Day”)
Teaches the values of honoring one’s parents-kibud
horim- and acting like a mensch (a good, kind
moral person)
Size of Illustrations
Large number of textual asides ,
cartoons, and extra
sentences, and phrases
Unfamiliar setting (New York City)
Unfamiliar language (Yiddish)
Better suited for a one-on-one home reading than a
group reading
How to Use:
Purchase or make a flannel board
Draw or copy the figures that will be used to illustrate the story
Attach pieces of Velcro (use the rough side) or small pieces of felt to the
back of each image
Keep images out of sight until they are being placed on the board
Can improve the visibility of the book’s illustrations
May increase children’s understanding of the plot and
setting of the book
May create additional drama, suspense
Rationale for Using Puppets
• Puppets can move more dramatically and more theatrically than
flannel board figures
• The book’s setting and location can be even more clearly represented
and depicted with puppets
• Vibrant and almost alive themselves, puppets tend to breathe “new
life” into most texts.
Rationale for using:
They are smaller, more unusual and require
less materials and props than other
forms of puppetry
Often serve as a good way of quickly
reviewing a story
Instructions for Making:
1. Purchase a pair of solid colored
gardening gloves
2. Attach Velcro circles (the rough side only)
to each finger tip.
3. For best results , create props
and characters from felt .
Rationale for Using:
Children adore watching grown-ups draw
Can help children focus on the main elements of the plot
May help clarify the plot and action of the story
How to use:
Use prior to the start of the story, to help children better understand some of the
items and concepts which will be introduced in the story
Use as you tell the story-Holding the prop up and moving it around during the
appropriate parts of the story
You may need to set limits, explaining that the story props are only for the
storyteller to use
Rationale for Using:
Prop making can serve as an introductory, warm-up activity
Children can use props during the telling of the story
Props can be taken home as a concrete reminder of the book and its underlying
Props can be further worked on after the telling of the story
Make eye contact with your audience
Strive for a straight-forward telling.
Speak clearly and loudly.
Choose a story that you love and let your enthusiasm
shine through.
Verbal participation (joining the storyteller
in the refrains of “oy vey” and kvetch)
Movement and Pantomime participation
( going out, swimming ,eating,
driving a taxi, crying)
Counting activities (ask children to keep
Track of the number of gefiltes that they see)
1. Honor your father and mother that you may long endure on the land that
the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12)
‫כבד את אביך ואת אמך למען יארכון ימך על האדמה אשר הי אלוהיך נתן לך‬
(Shemot 20:12)
2. A person shall fear (revere/respect) his mother and father. (Leviticus 19:3)
‫איש אמו ואביו תיראו‬
(VaYikra 19:3)
How does one fear and how does one honor parents?
Fear: Do not stand in his place, do not sit in his place, do not
contradict his words, and do not determine his words, and
do not call him by his name, neither while he is alive nor
when he is dead.
Honor: To feed and provide drink, to dress and to cover, [all
by ] using their funds. If the father is penniless and the son
has money we force him and he feeds his father and mother
according to his means. He takes him out and brings him
home and serves him in all other matters as servants serve
their master. He stands up before him as he would before
his teacher. (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Rebellious
Behavior 6: 1,3))
How do you think the mother may have
felt when her children left her?
Why do you think the children decided to
come back?
How do you think the mother felt when her children came back?
What is a mensch? ( A mensch is a Yiddish word that means a very good person.
A mensch is a person who is kind and nice and helps others) When did the
gefiltes act like menschen? Can you tell us about a time when you acted like a
In the Torah , we are told that we must honor our mothers and fathers. In
Hebrew we say kabed et avicha v’et imecha What does the word honor mean?
(To treat someone with respect-To speak nicely to the person, to do what the
person asks, to try to please the person.) How do you honor your parents?
What are some of the ways in which you can help and be kind to your
Ask each child to create and decorate a list of ways that he/she can honor
and help his/her parents.
Ask the children to create special gift for a parent- a bracelet, a key chain,
a picture frame, a card/promissory note
Have the children prepare a special snack to feed to the parents.
Play a game in which the
toy gefiltes run
away from the mother.
Upon hearing the
words “Oy vey” all of the
gefiltes must return to the
mother and give her
a kiss.
Supplies for children to construct a mensch bracelet at home
A list of ways that family members can behave like menschen/or
a list that describes ways that children can honor their parents.
Provide families with a magnet so that they can hang their list on
their home refrigerator .
A large cut-out of a gefilte fish (complete with a hat). Ask families
to jot down a note on the gefilte each time a family member acts
like a mensch and/or honors parents.
 Contact Vivian
[email protected]
phone: 413-731-1359 (home)
413-204-1539 (cell)

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