Programs · storytelling

Fairy Good Tales: Goldilocks & the Three Bears


There’s nothing worse than coming back from a nice stroll, letting your scalding hot porridge cool, than to find it all eaten up. We’ve all been there, amirite?

Those look like tears of porridge. She needs to calm down.

This new addition to Fairy Good Tales was a pretty fun one with a lot of opportunity for storytelling and activities. Before I start with the structure of this particular program, I did want to mention some tips for storytelling (from my fabulous storytelling teacher at grad school). In my last blog post on Fairy Good Tales, I said:

“Storytelling is kinda like the lazy person’s form of acting mixed with a healthy dose of improv. You don’t have to memorize all the lines, just get the jist of the storyline down, and some main phrases, and you good.” (Ugh, I just quoted myself. I swear that I am not a narcissist and this will probably be the only time I will ever be quoted. So cool.)

It’s a bit more than that, but, for the simpler tales, not by much. As librarians doing three programs a week, we may not have the time to go into great depth like professional storytellers do but we can follow some of their process. I follow three steps to prep:

  1. Read the fairytale (I love to use Sur La Lune) while writing down the story line by line (I learn by writing/typing, so copy/pasting would serve no purpose to me).
  2. Read the story again and create an outline of the most important parts with some key phrases you want to use (usually these are repetitious phrases like “You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man”)
  3. Identify the Most Important Thing (MIT) of the story. By identifying why the story exists, this can help add personality details and side notes to the story. For example, the MIT that drove my telling of Goldilocks is to avoid greediness and consider others before you use something. Before Goldilocks entered the house, I mentioned that she was a selfish girl and did not think of others before she took what she wanted. Sure, she may have some underlying psychological issues that drive her personality but sometimes simple is just better for a young audience.

So, the things you need to memorize are the structure and some key phrases that you want to include. If your new to storytelling or you don’t have enough time to prep, it is really helpful to do stories you remember hearing as a child. Thus, Fairy Good Tales was born.

I started with an intro to why nursery rhymes and fairy tales are so important. These include:

  1. Nursery rhymes are strong in rhythm, rhyme, and repetition
  2. Learn the basic patterns of story patterns including plot, theme, and character
  3. Can teach lessons about actions and consequences
  4. Knowing the original tale builds a platform for understanding & appreciating fractured tales

We now use a great chant to introduce the fairytale by pulling it’s name on a piece of paper out of a very cool looking box that was a personal purchase by a coworker who had to have it that also had an, ahem, alchoholic beverage inside. Here’s the rhyme that we chant several times:

Abra Cadabra
Abra Kazoom
Let Story Time magic enter the room

I then asked the audience “How do you get something you really really want?” We eventually got to saying that you ask with magic words “please” and “thank you.” I then told the story of Goldilocks & the Three Bears. At the end, I asked the kids “What did Goldilocks do that was so wrong? Do you think the Bears would have let her visit if she asked?” While I didn’t get felt cutouts in time, you can tell the story again and invite the audience to repeat the repetitious phrases after you.

Now for the fractured tales! There are oh so many but I chose Rubia & the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya. It was short and sweet an combined English and Spanish words very fluidly. Highly recommended! We then did a fun Goldilocks Rhyme from Let’s Play Music that worked really well with the repetition and the simple movements. I was going to read Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems but the crowd was a little restless and I didn’t provide enough action rhymes to space apart the book time.

Then, the best part of all: we tried porridge! I bought some Quaker Oats from the store, boiled some water right before the program started, and everyone got a little cup of porridge to try at the end. We then raised our hands if we loved the porridge or hated the porridge. We counted the goldilocks out and compared the two numbers, determining what was a larger amount and what was a smaller amount and by how much.


And activities! Hooray! I chose three activities that families could do at their own pace. These included

  1. Size the objects P1010388
  2. Hard/Soft baskets & Hot/Cold P1010384
  3. Finger bears

For the older kids, I also included this neat Sherriff’s report. No one used it but some took it home at least. Fun times were had by all and this program had a great turnout (about 35 kids & caregivers came). It was also a group of people that don’t normally come to the library so that was very cool to see.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Be courteous to the retail staff you encounter and, dear Flying Spaghetti Monster, do not shop on Thanksgiving.

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