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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Once upon a time... » » The Adventures of Chicken Little - a Tale for Our Times (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jimgerrish
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Inner circle
East Orange, NJ
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I recently published "The Adventures of Chicken Little" in The Wizards' Journal #30. There are many ways to tell the old, old (first written down from an old folk tale in 1823) story and I have tried to include many of the ways I have used in the past, including a shadow show, "Punch & Judy -style" hand puppet show, a more modern stick-puppet show in which the puppets are magically produced and given to children to act out the roles, costume stage play with minimal costumes for children to act out the roles (with an optional Illusion ending), and a jumbo card trick beginning with "Blankety-Blank" cards on which the characters appear one by one, and then disappear in the finale. But the important thing that ties them all together is this tale of a chicken who panics and causes a great deal of panic before common sense proves there was no need to panic in the first place. A true tale for our times in which the Internet and phone communication can turn human beings into foolish flapping fowls running to "tell the king" and being deceived by a sly fox who takes advantage of the situation...etc. I believe it is an important tale that needs to be retold to every generation, which is the reason I have come up with many different ways to tell it over my years on this planet. Whether you use any of my methods or not, please tell and retell this story and let the listeners draw their own conclusions about what it means and what lesson they can learn from it in their own lives.
Geoff Akins
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Might be a great story to use for media studies and/or advertising. Show how fear has been used to create panic and how the same machine that creates the fear, need, etc. will also offer the solution.
Geoff Akins
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Jim, what's your thoughts on "the moral of the story is..."?

I've read how some say when sharing tales with younger kids it's best NOT to tell them the exact moral or meaning, but rather to allow the meaning to arise in the child on its own.
jimgerrish
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Inner circle
East Orange, NJ
3029 Posts

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Re: using the story for media studies or advertising - I think adults studying those subjects would feel it too demeaning to learn from a children's tale, but it certainly could be referenced after asking "Who knows the story of Chicken Little?" and then giving a quick and dirty version for those who never heard the story before.

I agree with not indoctrinating kids with your own ideas on what the "moral of the story" is, but it doesn't hurt to ask them (as a lesson) what they think the story means and have some discussion about the story if it is an appropriate time and place for such. In such situations I sometimes ask, "Has anyone seen Chicken Little on the news? How about Foxy Loxy?" and so on.
Geoff Akins
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Yes, it wouldn't work with adults. I was thinking more along the lines of middle school or high school as far as using the story for drawing parallels between media/advertising.
Geoff Akins
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As for "the moral of the story" issue...I agree. I taught as a Waldorf teacher at one point and we were encouraged not to spoon feed the moral but allow it to unfold naturally within the students. We would tell a story one day and then do some recall and reflection the following day, losing the students to sleep on it. Often they would embody the story and its lessons by acting out the tale as well!
jimgerrish
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Inner circle
East Orange, NJ
3029 Posts

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I believe you are right. Even if the story means nothing to them when you first expose them to it, they may run into a situation years later which jogs their memories and they suddenly "get it." That may be the reason I decided to finally publish my own work on the story; from seeing it play out again and again on television news this past year.
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