The Traditional Storyteller - How the Elephant Got His Trunk is one of a series of apps from the Traditional Storyteller that I have previously introduced to readers as these wonderful and engaging applications tell stories from around the world which are very easy to recommend for all age ranges.
Elegant in its simplicity, this app, as does the others within this series, consists of a video featuring a master storyteller telling tales in ways that are most captivating. I am impressed by how my son is mesmerized by these apps, focused on every word and deeply entrenched by the performance of these storytellers who are wonderful at their craft.
I really enjoy that these videos do not contain music, sound effects or interaction - only relying on the talents of these included storytellers, gazing directly into the camera as if talking to the viewer directly.
This specific story, How the Elephant Got His Trunk - not to be confused with the Rudyard Kipling story with a similar title - tells the tale of how an elephant, gloating over his cute little button nose is not very nice to the other animals, and is put in his place when a monkey plays a trick on this elephant, ultimately leading all the elephants of the land to have their noses stretched into what is now known as a trunk.
I enjoy this story a great deal, as does my son. It is interesting to see an elephant portrayed as a mean, unfortunately recognizable character teasing other creatures about their noses, creating a chance for families to talk about cruelty among children and how to treat one another.
It is also open to interpretation if this elephant known as "elephant" is one specific rude animal, or if he represents elephants in general, creating an open-ended conversation about whether the trick that the monkey pulled on all the elephants of the land, even those who presumably had nothing to do with the bullying, is acceptable, thus creating a tale that does include some moral ambiguity, which I appreciate.
Other sections of this app exist as well, such as Map Game, where children use their cognitive skills and memory to re-arrange tiles consisting of illustrations based on this story in their correct order, learning about the dramatic structure commonly found among stories in a creative and fun way.
Listen and Repeat allows children to tap on specific moments that together make up this tale, listening to passages of this story, then repeating this story in their own way. Likewise, Tell Your Story lets children re-tell this story from their point of view, using illustrations to help keep their minds focused on the tale being told.
Best Bits replays the favorite part of this tale again, a nice touch that kids will want to listen to over and over again.
Parents as well as teachers will genuinely appreciate how these tales not only highlight storytelling as an art form, but are also excellent for teaching the structure of storytelling, an important lesson for children to learn early as they develop their ability to tell stories of their very own.
I am pleased to announce that this series of applications won the very prestigious Best Educational Resource Award for Early Years from the U.K. National Education Awards, akin to winning an Oscar for education.
To celebrate, Traditional Storyteller apps will be half-price for a limited time. I encourage parents and teachers to add these apps to their collections, especially special needs educators as their students may get a special benefit from watching these videos with the storyteller looking directly into the camera as if making eye contact with the child viewing the video.
I recommend these applications not only as lovely, calming tales for toddlers and preschoolers to relax with, but for older children as well - anyone really who enjoys a great story told marvelously.