Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives
. Routledge . NY/London ,
LB1042.Z56 1995 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a helpful, passionate, lively, experience-based book from one of the livelier tellers of tales in our day. The book is a plea and a how-to-do-it for creative storytelling. Zipes takes a clear stand in his introduction against two dangers. The first is a tendency to standardize what is to be learned by children in the name of cultural literacy. His enemy here is achievement for achievement's sake. No thought is given, according to Zipes, to what values the children are to learn as we strive to outperform the children of Europe or Japan. The second danger is the commercialization of storytelling. Storytellers become stars who have secrets. Children are for Zipes not consumers of the storytellers' product. Rather teachers and students need to set their own standards in storytelling. The process of learning how to tell a story is a process of empowerment (4). This view leads directly to the stress in Zipes' subtitle on building community and changing lives. After a first section on setting the scene with fairy tales, a second section explores genres, the first of them being The Wisdom of the Beasts: Animal Tales and Fables (95-117). Zipes has a good sense of fable (99-100) and uses several fables well in the chapter, including TH, BW, and his own The Elephant and the Mouse. Further chapters explore other genres. A final section treats the use and abuse of storytelling. I learned early in this book that Zipes has strong ties to Milwaukee.