Books and Recordings

How & Why Stories: CD/Audiotape

How and Why Cover

2000, August House Publishers.
1-800-284-8784 or

2000 Gold Award - National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA)

Did you ever wonder why babies say "Goo"? Or why hens scratch in the dirt? Or how beetles got their gorgeous coats? The answers are provided in this collection of tales from around the world and through the ages. Four stories are told by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, the authors of the companion book. The rest are told by eight very expressive children. Designed for use in primary and middle grades, this recording encourages children to tell their own stories. It's also a useful resource for adults who tell or teach stories to children, and for teachers to use in conjunction with science, language arts, or social studies curricula.

If you would like to hear Sam Harris telling "Why the Baby Says Goo",
click on the PLAY AUDIO button. (70 KB)
Requires Flash Plug-in.

CD Review: How & Why Stories

"Any child who wonders why babies say "goo," why dogs chase cats, and other "mysteries" of life might find the answers in this recording based on the book of the same title. Far-ranging explanations of natural phenomena from around the world come together in this diverse collection. Though authors Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss relay some of the stories, most are narrated, with appealing verve, by kids. Although the estimable skills of professional storytellers are easily enjoyed, these youthful narrators serve to encourage young listeners to rediscover this oldest form of entertainment: storytelling. A worthwhile pick for school and public library collections."

- Booklist

"In this collection of oral tales, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss direct several young people in the presentation of stories from their book, How & Why Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read and Tell (August House, 1999). The 18 imaginative stories include a short musical introduction, and address such questions as "How Tigers Got Their Stripes" and "Why Babies Say 'Goo.'" Amusingly clever, these multicultural tales offer simple explanations for nature's phenomena. The recording makes an excellent companion to the book, which includes not only the stories themselves, but storytelling techniques, scientific explanations behind the cultural folktales, and a world map of where each story originated. This title will provide a solid addition to any audio collection, but will be particularly useful to children and adults interested in developing storytelling skills, as well as a complement to social studies and language arts curricula. Librarians will also find this recording useful as a programming resource."

- School Library Journal

"Based on the book of the same name, Hamilton and Weiss have gathered eight kids - ages 9 to 14 - to tell tales such as "Why the Baby Says Goo," "Why Ants Are Found Everywhere," and "Why Hens Scratch in the Dirt." The performances are both adorable and professional, and should appeal to children 6 to 12 years old. Each story is bracketed by delightful musical interludes. This CD is of excellent quality, both in recording and performance."

- Today's Librarian

"Children will want to tell their own stories after they listen to this delightful collection of short, humorous tales that explain animal behaviors. The how-and-why structure is easy to remember and will encourage young children to repeat these stories to family and friends. The professional young tellers, each of whom has a unique style, give novices a standard to shoot for. Young listeners will come away with a variety of ideas about how a story can be told."

- Chicago Parent

Stories Included:

The Taxi Ride/ Why the Baby Says 'Goo'/ Why Hens Scratch in the Dirt/ Why Ants Are Found Everywhere/ The Story of Arachne/ Why Parrots Only Repeat What People Say/ Why Cats Wash Their Paws After Eating/ Two Brothers, Two Rewards/ Why Frog and Snake Never Play Together/ Thunder and Lightning / Why Dogs Chase Cats/ The Dancing Brothers/ The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean/ The Turtle Who Couldn't Stop Talking/ Rabbit Counts the Crocodiles/ How Brazilian Beetles Got Their Gorgeous Coats/ Where All Stories Come From/ Why the Sun Comes Up When Rooster Crows

Running Time: 60 minutes
Music by John Kirk. Click here to visit his Web site:
Will Russell engineered this audio. Click here to visit his Web site: