Teeny Tiny Tingly Tales

Teeny Tiny Tingly Tales by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Victoria Chess.
An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.

As I searched the library website for books for yesterday's post, I stumbled upon this one. It is illustrated by Victoria Chess, who illustrated the Alvin Schwartz books Little Sis read last year.

Teeny Tiny Tingly Tales is not a scary book. It is far more silly than spooky. Perhaps it would serve as an introduction to semi-creepy things for very young children.

Each rhyming tale opens with its own title page, depicting a child reading in chair. The first story is the weirdest.

Old Doctor Wango Tango has a nasty long red nose. He doesn't take care of himself, nor does he feed his pets. One day, while riding his sorry horse up a hill with the rest of his menagerie, a loud chilly wind blows them all away. The end. Really.

The story of "Old Doctor Wango Tango" isn't all that scary, but that nose! Flashback to the Thingumajigs! I was curious as to the origins of the story. Apparently, it's based on a folk song. Burl Ives recorded it in the 1950s, but I don't know any of its history beyond that.

The second story seems more familiar, although I can't place it.

"It" is pretty simple. Different body parts rolls down the stairs. The legs are dancing, the head is bouncing. Once all the parts hit the landing, they fuse together to make "It." "It" heads to town. The end.

Now the last story is the most familiar one, although changes have been made.

"The Hairy Toe" is a variation of "Teeny-Tiny." A little old lady, working in her garden, spies a hairy toe. She buries it in the dirt. (Thank goodness she doesn't save it for soup!) She goes inside her house. A voice blows on the wind: "Give me back my hairy toe!" She jumps into bed and pulls the covers over her head. She hears the voice again, as well as the sound of something creeping across her floor. Frightened, she jumps out of bed, runs to the garden, digs up the toe, and throws it in the direction of the voice.

The creature isn't the scariest of beasts.Kind of on par with the Gruffalo, or the not-so-scary gremlin from the original Twilight Zone episode "Terror at 20000 Feet.


[I love that episode, but the gremlin makes me giggle. Maybe because I
grew up watching Twilight Zone: The Movie as a kid.]

Well, that was a tangent. I think the girls and I need to watch some more Twilight Zone this month...

Merry Weekend! Happy Reading!

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The Teeny-Tiny Woman

Welcome, October! It's that time of the year, dear readers. It's time to turn this blog over to all things spooky and scary, or at least, beautifully autumnal. I've already started working my way through some seasonal reads and I can't wait to share! Let's start things off with a look at a very old English folk tale.

Last year, Little Sis read the two Alvin Schwartz early readers, In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories and Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore. During her reading, she was introduced to the story "Teeny-Tiny," about a teeny tiny woman who takes a teeny tiny bone home from the graveyard. Someone uploaded the entire text of Joseph Jacobs's English Fairy Tales (1890) onto Wikisource. This is the story of "Teeny-Tiny."

Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village. Now, one day this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny bonnet, and went out of her teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk. And when this teeny-tiny woman had gone a teeny-tiny way, she came of a teeny-tiny gate; so the teeny-tiny woman opened the teeny-tiny gate, and went into a teeny-tiny churchyard. And when this teeny-tiny women had got into the teeny-tiny churchyard, she saw a teeny-tiny bone on a teeny-tiny grave, and the teeny-tiny woman said to her teeny-tiny self, "This teeny-tiny bone will make me some teeny-tiny soup for my teeny-tiny supper." So the teeny-tiny woman put the teeny-tiny bone into her teeny-tiny pocket, and went home to her teeny-tiny house.
Now when the teeny-tiny woman had got home to her teeny-tiny house, she was a teeny-tiny bit tired; so she went up her teeny-tiny stairs to her teeny-tiny bed, and put the teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny cupboard. And when this teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep a teeny-tiny time, she was awakened by a teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard, which said: "Give me my bone!"
And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head under the teeny-tiny clothes and went to sleep again. And when she had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice again cried out from the teeny-tiny cupboard a teeny-tiny louder, "Give me my bone!"
 This made the teeny-tiny woman a teeny-tiny more frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head a teeny-tiny further under the teeny-tiny clothes. And when the teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard said again a teeny-tiny louder, "Give me my bone!"
And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more frightened, but she put her teeny-tiny head out of the teeny-tiny clothes, and said in her loudest teeny-tiny voice, "Take it!" 
You can also find the story at SurLaLune Fairy Tales. Hers was taken from an 1849 book called Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell, but it's the exact same story. It seems to have been passed on by oral tradition for many years, and is most effective when the phrase "Take it!" is very, very loud.

It isn't the scariest of stories, but it's just creepy enough for small children. Because of this, there are quite a few picture books and kids' compilations that feature it. I found three illustrated editions to feature today, from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. All three are ever-so-slightly different in their retellings, but the story never changes much. The idea of a "teeny-tiny woman in a teeny-tiny house" lends itself to some cute illustrations, which help keep the creepiness at bay for little ones.

The Teeny Tiny Woman: An Old English Ghost Tale, retold and illustrated by Barbara Seuling. Viking Juvenile, 1976.

Barbara Seuling's version of the tale is vintage '70s country girl adorable. I love the oversized flowers outside of the woman's teeny-tiny house.

Paul Galdone's version is wonderful, as usual. My favorite detail is the moon in the window. It changes expression with each page turn. The book is slated to be reprinted in hardcover next year. [The new Galdone editions are quite beautiful, by the way. Great job, HMH!]

The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone. Clarion Books, 1984.

The Teeny-Tiny Woman was one of Galdone's last books, by the way.

The last book we checked out is another early reader, part of the Viking Easy-to-Read series (now Penguin Young Readers.) 

The Teeny-Tiny Woman (Viking Easy-to-Read Level 2) by Harriet Ziefert,
illustrated by Laura Rader. Viking, 1995.

The simplicity and repetition of the tale does make it ideal for younger children to practice their reading skills.

Now let's talk about what I find creepy about this story. It isn't the tininess of everything, nor is it the ghostly voice. It's the fact that this woman finds a bone in the graveyard, presumably human, and plans to use it for soup! Granted, it's a very old tale and perhaps in desperate times, people wouldn't find the idea disagreeable in the least. But, all I can think is, "Ewww!"

Stay tuned for more Halloween and October goodness on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes!

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A Year with Frog and Toad

Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury by Arnold Lobel. Harper, 2014.
Contains Frog and Toad are Friends (1970), Frog and Toad Together (1971), Frog and Toad All Year (1976), and Days With Frog and Toad (1979).

Little Sis performed in her first play without Mom or Big Sis this weekend! She played a Mole, Flower, and Fish in an adorable production of A Year with Frog and Toad. (The play was produced by a theatre with a strong kids' mentoring program, so the intimate cast was expanded to include as many people as possible.) The director happened to be her drama teacher from school. Her best friend was in it, too, which made it extra-special for her.

She worked very hard, and had a lot of fun. For a "break a leg" gift, I went to Barnes & Noble, looking for the 3-in-one collection of the Arnold Lobel books that they carried a few years ago. Instead, I found this larger format 4-in-one treasury, published by HarperCollins. It's a lovely collection for a great price. The larger format gave me an idea. I stocked her with pens and pencils, and for three evenings, she collected well-wishes and signatures from the entire cast and crew.

I think I may have read these at school as a child, but sadly, they were not a major part of my childhood. Mr. B is a different story. He said as each story unfolded on stage, he grew a bit misty, remembering the books he read as a boy. Now that I'm an adult, I love and appreciate Arnold Lobel so much. I'm so happy that my daughters are growing up with his stories.

The musical pulls from several stories found in all four books: "Spring," "The Garden," "The Letter," "A Swim," "Alone," "Cookies," "The Kite," "The Surprise," "Shivers," "Down the Hill," and "Christmas Eve." Little Sis has enjoyed going through the treasury, reading the original tales again, while humming the songs from the play.

We also revisited the old stop-motion animation version of Frog and Toad are Friends on YouTube.

As for the musical, you can listen to the original Broadway soundtrack on YouTube, iTunes, or Amazon streaming/MP3 or CD. I'll leave you with this sweet clip of Jay Goede and Mark Linn-Baker (Lobel's former son-in-law) performing "Alone" at the 2003 Tony Awards.

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