Books and Recordings

Stories in my Pocket: CD

Stories in my Pocket Cover

1998, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss

1998 Parents Choice Recommendation

1998 Gold Award - National Parenting Publications Awards

A recording of stories from the book Stories in My Pocket: Tales Kids Can Tell. 'Beauty & the Beast Storytellers,' Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss, tell half of the stories and the others are told by five children ranging in age from five to sixteen.

CD Review: Stories in My Pocket

"This CD illustrates eighteen of the thirty stories from Hamilton & Weiss' book but stands on its own as a very useful and inspiring example of student storytelling. Fans of tandem telling will enjoy the second half where the adult duo share seven folk classics. But I felt the real stars were the five children in the first half, whose clear elocution, lively intonation and pacing, and wry humor show how even very young tellers (5 -16 years) can make a story fly. Ably demonstrating all the vocal techniques which are discussed in the book, they are a credit to the duo's teaching! The tales are all eminently tellable classics, some of which might have looked so familiar in print that we might have ignored them. The kid tellers perk up our ears and remind us why the old stories have survived so long! If you teach storytelling to students, the tape could be not just a valuable example and inspiration, but also a very useful way to present material aurally."

- Territorial Tattler

"When the subject is kids telling stories, the names Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss automatically come up. This husband-and-wife team of professional storytellers has worked with kids and storytelling for more than twenty years. They know what works and what doesn't. They know teachers, kids, and--most of all--stories. And, whether you're a kid or a coach, they want you to succeed. Their two books, Children Tell Stories: A Teaching Guide and Stories in My Pocket: Tales Kids Can Tell, plus several anthologies (reviewed in earlier editions of The Story Bag) remain the most usable school- and kid-friendly resources around. Now here is an audiotape of some of the stories featured in their Stories in My Pocket book, enabling readers who have not had the treat of hearing Beauty and the Beast in person to hear the voices, inflections, pacing, and other details which make a piece of oral storytelling really good.

The CD holds a generous sampling of eighteen stories in all: eleven told by "guest kid tellers" (age five to sixteen--enthusiastic and excellent) and seven told by Martha and Mitch. The stories are mostly well-known folktales from a wide variety of countries and traditions. All are short, simple, and begging to be retold. If you've been working with kids and storytelling, this CD will provide immediate models of how it can all be accomplished with success."

- The Storybag, a National Storytelling Newsletter

"Martha Hamilton, Mitch Weiss, and five young storytellers from age 5 to 16 share 18 stories in this lively collection. As the title suggests, the emphasis is placed on tales that child and young adult tellers will find tellable as well as enjoyable. The diverse mix of stories selected by the young tellers places emphasis on popular English jump tales like "Tilly," "The Dark Wood," and "The Golden Arm" as well as stories with a liberal dose of humor. A more serious inclusion is the Japanese story, "The Stonecutter." Less familiar but nevertheless enjoyable are the trickster/fool tales "The Fox and His Tail" from Mexico and Nicaragua, in which a foolish fox decides that his tail never really contributed to his flight from an enemy, and "Why Anansi the Spider Has a Small Waist" from West Africa. The remaining stories are told by Hamilton and Weiss, the Beauty & the Beast Storytellers, who worked with the majority of the young tellers. Their tales are also a mix of cultures and telling styles with some tandem telling as in the American folktale, "Oh, That's Good! No, That's Bad!" The telling styles are as individual as the tellers themselves, and the inclusion of confident young storytellers may inspire listeners to try their hand at storytelling. Each tale is prefaced with a brief introduction which includes the story's culture of origin. This excellent collection would be particularly useful to teachers and librarians seeking to introduce storytelling to potential tellers of all ages."

- School Library Journal

"Hamilton and Weiss are the husband and wife team of storytellers known as Beauty and the Beast. They are also authors of two of the best, most practical, books for teachers working with student storytellers. Children Tell Stories (Richard C. Owen Publishers, 1990) should be in every school board resource center and public library. I continue to recommend it to workshop groups and have seen nothing to match its usable, practical ideas, advice, and guidance. Stories in My Pocket (Fulcrum, 1996), is a nifty collection of stories for kids to tell. It includes storytelling tips addressed to the children, and, in the back, guidelines for adults who might be using the book with children.

Now Hamilton and Weiss have produced a companion recording to Stories in My Pocket which includes eighteen of the thirty stories in the book. It was a great idea to produce it as they did, with one part featuring young tellers, age 5-16, and the other featuring Hamilton and Weiss themselves. It's important for children to hear storytelling modeled for them, and hearing other kids tell stories will encourage young listeners to try the stories themselves. The book includes specific suggestions for timing, expression, and body language in columns set alongside the stories. I followed along with the book to see how closely the young tellers followed the advice they were given and was pleased to see that while it was obvious they were strongly influenced by the suggestions, they were not restrained by them. Schools, public libraries, and individuals will want to have the CD, and it stands on its own merits, as well."

- The Second Story Review

Part One: Told by Guest Kid Tellers
A Story in My Pocket/Tilly/Bracelets/Why Anansi Has a Small Waist/The Silversmith and the Rich Man/The Dark Wood/The Mouse and the Sausage/The Golden Arm/The Stonecutter/Fox and His Tail

Part Two: Told by Mitch & Martha
Master of All Masters/On a Dark & Stormy Night/Who Will Close the Door?/Oh That's Good! No, That's Bad!/Clytie/The Mirror That Caused Trouble/Wait Till Whalem-Balem Comes

Will Russell engineered this audio. Click here to visit his Web site: