Cover of Once Upon a Bedtime Story by Jane Yolen

Once Upon a Bedtime Story

Illustrated by Ruth Tietjen Councell
Boyds Mills 1997
ISBN# 1-56397-484-3 Boyds Mills hardcover

This collection is entirely retold folk tales for the youngest listeners: “The Three Bears,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” “The Little Red Hen,” “The Shoemaker and the Elves,” etc. There is a storytelling CD/tape narrated by me, with musical interludes by my son Adam Stemple.

What reviewers have said about the CD:

  • “Jane Yolen infuses both familiar and lesser known classic bedtime stories with stylish, contemporary flair … her expressive and relaxing voice is well suited to these bedtime stories. Short musical introductions set the mood for each story … Light and appropriate sound effects paired with Yolen’s impeccable storytelling skills create a listening experience which enhances the original book.” — School Library Journal
  • “Sixteen traditional stories are retold with a contemporary flair by a master story teller with wit, humor and panache. … Accompanied by Councell’s (What Rhymes with Moon?) whimsical paintings, they create a book that will appeal to those looking for a well-crafted collection of old favorites. These once-upon-a-time stories will help children sleep happily ever after.” — Publisher’s Weekly
  • “The stories are ideal for reading aloud to young children ages two through six or for independent readers in grades two through four…. The stories are lyrical and ideal for reading aloud. For parents who have objected to the
    violence in the traditional stories, Ms. Yolen’s are most subdued (e.g., in “The Three Pigs,” the wolf loses his hair not his life, after falling into the pot of boiling water). Ms. Councell’s illustrations are expressive and colorful, adding details to the story. This is a wonderful collection for any personal, public or school library. Highly recommended.” — Catholic Library World
  • “Yolen, whose original writing for children has won numerous awards as well as flattering critical comparisons (the New York Times Book Review has called her “a modern equivalent of Aesop”), has gently tweaked each of these stories, adding a little humor and some new life while being careful to leave the original plots intact.” — Los Angeles Times
  • “These time-tested bedtime tales are just the right length for settling young ones into bed.” — School Library Journal
  • “Yolen’s narration is just right for bedtime stories; her voice is calm, steady, and soothing, giving younger listeners the chance to wind down for bed, while engaging their attention and providing the familiarity and repetition that they enjoy. Older children will hear the differences in these versions and will appreciate some of the added humor. And the sound effects add just the right touch. Musical introductions to each story evoke the upcoming place or culture, and sound effects–drums, wind blowing, marching feet–enhance the story.” — AudioFile

Around the Web:

See the review of the CD from Rambles – a cultural arts magazine (on the Web).