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The Storyteller

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  887 ratings  ·  227 reviews
From Ezra Jack Keats 2015 New Illustrator Honor recipient Evan Turk comes his debut work as author-illustrator: an original folktale that celebrates the power of stories and storytelling.

Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, refreshing water to quench the thirst of
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 28th 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  887 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Credit the internet age for doing what the television age never could. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a movement around the world that can be interpreted as nothing so much as a direct response to our digital age. You may have noticed it in small things, like the rise of Steampunk or the sudden surge of interest in Maker stations and the kinds of “hacking” that look suspiciously similar to activities found in shop class in days of yore. All this comes about because people have come ...more
Edward Sullivan
In a series of nested stories, by retelling stories Scheherazade-style to a sandstorm in the form of a djinn, a boy saves a Moroccan city from being engulfed by the Sahara and replenishes its water supply. Stunningly illustrated in bold, mixed-media blending folk art and contemporary styles and full of symbolism.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful picture book about storytelling as the life blood of a village.
Michele Knott
Everything about this book is beautiful.
Wow, wow. First of all, Evan Turk's illustrations - which have a movement and style that are hard to describe - are rendered in "water-soluble crayon, colored drawing pencils, inks, indigo, sugared green tea, a heat gun, and fire." The plot - a bit of Scheherazade and a bit of Inception - will keep your pages turning and your brain engaged. Be sure to read the Author's Note about Morocco's public storytellers.

"When a storyteller dies, a library burns." -old Moroccan saying
Carrie Gelson
Storytelling is the theme - told through stunning art, a visual journey and a tale that weaves into another tale into another . . .
2.5 out of 5
"When a storyteller dies, a library burns." -- old Moroccan saying

Evan Turk's illustrations, "rendered in water-soluble crayon, colored drawing pencils, inks, indigo, sugared green tea, a heat gun, and fire," are unique and reminiscent of folk art, which is especially fitting for a story that celebrates oral storytelling:

However, Turk's art style is not my favorite, and some pictures are too busy and hard to read.

Also, I liked the idea and symbolism (stories can quench the thirst an
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautiful, beautiful book about storytelling itself.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As an educator and storyteller there is one moment in the 1987 film Three Men and a Baby which stands out more than any of the other, albeit, funny incidents. It focuses on reading aloud and the sound of the human voice. Do you remember this?

When reading aloud to our children and students, without a doubt the words and images on the page convey more than we can fully understand given the life experiences each listener brings with them but our vocal interpretations have the ability to heighten th
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has been exposed to folk tales of The Middle East will recognize the influence in Evan Turk's The Storyteller. In it there are several familiar feeling tales of old mixed with illustrations fitting of the Moroccan setting in which the tales are based. Turk obviously did his homework to present both the written and illustrative parts of the book and make them feel like a cohesive whole. The Storyteller is the type of book that feels like the storytellers of old who passed on their know ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't like to speak so negatively of a picture book, but I did not enjoy reading this one. I finally finished it after the third reading attempt because each time my eyes would glaze over and I would find myself very bored. The art was not appealing to me, and I found the pages entirely too busy.

I couldn't put my finger on what the artwork reminded me of but after talking about it with my boss he mentioned that it looked really 90s, like when graphic arts was still developing. I agree.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This gorgeous picture book features stories within stories. In a dry desert town, a boy in search of a drink meets an old man who begins a tale that satisfies another thirst he didn't know he had. What neither of them knows is that a terrible djinn in the guise of a storm is coming and it'll take a cunning solution to keep the town safe.
Sue K H
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this. Beautiful story about the power of storytelling. I wish I had a child to read it to.

Great quote in the Author's notes "When a storyteller dies, a library burns." - Old Moroccan saying
Olivia Desenberg
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Title (italicize): The Storyteller
Author: Evan Turk
Genre: Non-European Folktale
Theme(s): Morocco, Storytelling, Curses, Magic
Opening line/sentence (type directly from text):

Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the fertile Kingdom of
Morocco formed near the edge of the great, dry Sahara.

Brief Book Summary (2-3 sentences in your own words):

This book follows the story of a young boy in Morocco. Morocco used to flow with water until people started to forget about storytellers.
Jenni Davis
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-335
I have read many of the classic folk tales such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. However, I haven’t read many others so I was very excited to read The Storyteller. This folklore is a story of hope and will leave a smile on your face at the end of the book!

The Storyteller is a folktale about a young boy living in Morocco just at the edge of the Sahara Desert. Throughout the years, the kingdom grew and the people forgot about the dangers of drought and the S
Ashley Greene
Apr 03, 2017 added it
Shelves: elm572
Evan Turk’s The Storyteller is a captivating folklore tale about the compelling art of storytelling. Even in this digital age, the creativity of storytelling is beginning to make a comeback and this beautiful book captures its heritage in the lifeblood of a village. In Morocco, the cool clear water once flowed alongside rich story tellers, but over time the water and the stories dried up – the storytellers were no more. One day, a boy in search of water found a storyteller instead of water at a ...more
Stunningly unique illustrations, created with water-soluble crayon, colored pencils, ink, indigo, green tea, a heat gun, and fire, support a marvelous story that unfolds into other stories, thus, encouraging readers or listeners to find the connections. The main story focuses on how the residents of Morocco forgot the importance of the land's storytellers, causing the fountains that feed its land to dry up. When a boy in search of waer chances upon an elderly man, he tells him a series of storie ...more
Megan Hevener
This book will show students the wonders and power stories can hold for not only a culture or nation, but also to learn lessons and knowledge from the stories. The book would be a great model text for students. It shows voice not just in the text of the book, but the art within the pages also tells a story of civilization.
As a class, we would read and discussion the elements that make this a good example of voice and the power of storytelling. After that, students will random select a piece of
Lynn  Davidson
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first thing you notice about this book is it's fabulous illustrations and how they are edge to edge, beautifully decorative. Exquisite.
The story is about storytellers and the stories they told in the Kingdom of Morocco. Interwoven and interesting.
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Liked the story and the idea of storytelling, but the artwork is not my kind of thing.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely story with gorgeous artwork. My two year old nephew didn't appreciate it nearly as much as I did.
Jeff Corrigan
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated! About the importance of keeping storytelling and oral tradition alive. Two thumbs up! ~The Librarian Uncle
Gianna Campana
I am always interested in finding books that allow students and children to have an imagination and creativity. This is a good book for these things because of the events that take place in the plot. It also allows many open ended questions for discussion!
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a neat story (with a real-life background)! The illustrations are lovely - and in different styles depending on the story being told.
There are several stories-within-stories in this book, and different colored text helps the reader to keep them straight. Be prepared to get sucked in, just as every listener in the book does!
Meag McKeron
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A story about the power of stories...seemed like mandatory reading for a librarian. While Turk's illustrations are absolutely beautiful, in the hands of a talented storyteller I can imagine the text really coming to life on its own. That being said, the pictures by themselves tell the story, too. Always a plus when both text and pictures can successfully stand alone.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bluebonnets-2017
At 1st I wasn't a huge fan of this book-there was so much going on in the illustrations that it was distracting to me. But then as the story went on, I was drawn in and could relate to how stories give us life. Although I really enjoyed this book I am not sure it will be a big draw for my students due to its length and complexity of words. But all in all, it was a beautiful story!
Katie Lawrence
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Stunningly gorgeous illustrations combined with a wonderful tale about the power of storytelling. I love this book. Evan Turk created elaborate, vibrant illustrations that made me wish I could somehow live in them. Just fantastic!
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I like the nested-storytelling technique used here; it keeps the reader involved in trying to keep everything straight. The art is full of sandy tones, reflecting the desert setting.

Maybe a bit of a challenge for younger listeners, but older kids should enjoy it.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, kids_ya
Finally, a meaningful story. A story about traditions that were on the brink of death, but saved by a little boy to pass on to the next generations. Highlights Moroccan storytelling and weaving traditions.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Long, long ago..." begins this fabulous new folktale set in Morocco with fountains run dry, a storyteller, a boy, a girl, an old woman and a djinn. Written as a story within a story, the tone is magical and mystical and the illustrations are fascinating and perfect for the story.
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Evan Turk is an award-winning illustrator, author and animator living in Croton-on-Hudson with his husband, Chris, and two cats, Pica and Bert. A graduate of Parsons: The New School for Design, his illustration and animation have been shown all over the world. He grew up in Colorado and loves nature and being outdoors. He continues his studies with Dalvero Academy, a private illustration school in ...more
“When a story teller dies, a library burns.” 2 likes
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