Tuesday, September 14, 2010



When I first saw this card set in the Candlewick catalog, I thought it seemed like a pretty nifty idea. Using illustrated cards to make up stories seems like it would be a great way to help kids who are a bit lacking in the imagination department.  When the set actually arrived, it wasn't at all what I had thought. It was much, much more!

These are not just simple story cards jammed in a box. Every last detail has been carefully planned so this feels like something special from the first moment you lay your hands on the set. It may appear to be a book, but the front covers opens up like a door to reveal a second, smaller windowed door.  Lift the black ribbon tab to access the stack of forty storytelling cards and the instruction booklet nestled inside.

Phenomenal illustrations grace these cards, each one a work of art. Templar Publishing brought together some of Britain’s finest contemporary illustrators to produce this exquisite original artwork. The cards come from four worlds, with ten cards from each of the following: The World of Everyday, The World of Magic, The Realm of the Court, The Land of Faery. Each card suggests a person, character, place or special object.

On the back of each card are several questions, which direct you to think a bit more about where to go with the story.  "Who lives in the little house?  What lies beyond the mountains? What is the eagle looking for?" You don't have to use these, but they provide a bit of direction if you feel stuck as to which direction you want your story to take. 
The instruction booklet is very clear about one thing: there are no rules with these cards. The only limit to what you can do with these cards is your own imagination. They do give some great suggestions of ways to use the cards, which is helpful. Select a few cards to give to a parent as a base for a bedtime story, pack the cards for a long car trip, or take turns drawing from a pile when telling a story with a large group. These are very versatile and can be used with any number of people.    

Select a handful of cards, use the pictures as a jumping off point, the leading questions as pathways and become a storyteller. These cards are so unique and beautiful - unlike any other children's card set that I have seen.  I love that they are designed to unlock the doors of the child's imagination - a true gift.  

Review copy provided by Templar Books. 

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