Betty as Laura Ingalls
The following are suggestions and ideas.
Betty's large repertoire of stories and songs can be adapted for all kinds
for pre-schoolers and up...
The Tailor and Other Stories
(pre-school - grade 2)
The tailor makes a coat, which wears
out. So he makes a short jacket... which he cuts down to a hat and then
a button, and finally (when it's all worn out,) it becomes a story.
Based on an old Yiddish song, this story also appears in several picture
books, including Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback,
which won the Caldecott award. The program consists of four or five
stories and songs and is very participatory, giving the children chances
to sing, use hand signs, repeat key phrases, and become characters in
the tales. Also includes Susie and the
Alligator, a song about a brave little girl who finds an alligator
under her bed, and How Could Anything Be Worse, a folktale about
a loud family which learns to appreciate what they have.
Chrysanthemum and Other Picture Book Tales (grades K-2)
From the book by
award-winner Kevin Henkes. Chrysanthemum loves her name... until she
starts school. This classic tale of teasing and acceptance is told with
humor and lots of participation. Hearing the story encourages beginning
readers to pick up the book - and experience it in a different, more
meaningful way. Other picture book tales include The Wolf's Chicken
Stew by Keiko Kasza, The Tailor, (available in two picture
books: Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman and Joseph
Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback), and How
Could Anything Be Worse, available as It Could Always Be Worse
by Margot Zemach. Betty brings a copy of each of the books so that children
see that books really can come alive.
and Other Tales (K-6)
mixes a concoction and turns her brother into a dinosaur! Now she must
turn him back... This original fantasy involves the audience in helping
out the main character, remembering details and sequences. Children
often ask whether it's a true story - and want to make a concoction,
themselves. The program also includes songs such as Bill Harley's Is
Not, Is Too! (a classic story-song about two siblings) and the Inuit
folktale, Raven and the Kewak Bird.
Round out the show with selected stories from Japanese, Irish, Australian,
Jewish or other traditions.
Katz and Tush and Other Multicultural Tales (grades 2-6)
elderly, Jewish, Mrs. Katz is so lonely when her husband dies... until
Larnel, her young black neighbor, brings her a kitten. She has no tail,
"all you see is her tush," so they name her Tush. Larnel and
Mrs. Katz become friends; in time, Larnel, Mrs. Katz, Tush and her descendents
all become family to one another. This truly moving, multicultural American
story is by beloved author Patricia Polacco. The program includes three
or four additional stories from a variety of cultures, perhaps including
Japanese, Irish, Australian, Jewish, or Native American tales. Participation,
songs, and silliness complete the event. Library and other non-school
shows may also include the song "Dreams of Harmony" sung as
a multicultural duet with nine-year-old Laura Schwartz.
Graveyard Voice & Other (Slightly) Scary Stories (grades K-6)
Everyone loves scary stories, but young
ones don't really want to be scared... and older kids love gore! Let
Betty design a program just frightening enough for your group, perhaps
including The Graveyard Voice (a
scary tale which turns out silly in the end.) Other pieces may include
seriously scary favorites such as Mary Culhane and the Spirit Man,
an Irish story; The Girl Who Married a Ghost, a Native American
tale; The Golden Arm, a classic American tale; songs of monsters
and werewolves, and more.
Ingalls Wilder's Little House Stories (grades K-6)
Betty presents one of our most beloved literary heroines, Laura Ingalls
Wilder, author of Little House in the Big Woods and eight other
historical novels of pioneering in the American West. Six students meet
with Betty ahead of time, putting on costumes and learning games which
Laura played as a child. When the audience arrives, Betty introduces
them to Mrs. Wilder and her books, with the use of music, photos, and
carefully chosen props. She then becomes Mrs. Wilder herself, narrating
in character how the Ingalls family left the safety of Wisconsin to
find joy and near-tragedy in establishing their homestead in Minnesota,
and later in South Dakota. Audiences experience Laura's world, where
hardships are endured, nature is embraced and family is treasured. At
the end of the presentation, the chosen students demonstrate games and
activities mentioned in the show. Teacher information packet included.
For more information, visit these terrific websites:
For those who had read and loved the books, it was as if an old friend
had entered the room. And those who had not yet connected with them
were eager to begin reading.
-Paula Sharaga, Holliston Public Library, MA
Holiday and Seasonal Shows
How do they celebrate Three Kings' Day
in Cuba? How did Patricia Polacco's family help their ill neighbors
in The Trees of the Dancing Goats? Have you ever heard of the
Matzah Ball fairy? A Parakeet Named Dreidel? And what was that spooky
voice in the graveyard? Betty's repertoire includes stories and
music for Halloween, the winter holidays, spring, summer and fall...
from many cultures, for ages 4 and up.
for adults and older children...
The Blue Shawl, a Russian Memoir (grades 4 and up, adults)
Twelve-year-old Emma and her mother must
cross Russia on an orphan train in the winter of 1920-1921, journeying
to say goodbye to Emma's grandparents, who are leaving for America.
They bring a shawl as a going-away present. But on the train, Emma's
mother becomes dangerously ill and Emma must care for her. Emma finds
a strength and maturity she didn't know she had. Many years later, Emma
herself goes to America, and is reunited with the shawl. At the end
of the show, Betty produces the real shawl which inspired the tale.
Based on a true story from Betty's grandmother's memoirs. This exquisitely
detailed, meticulously researched piece includes original music scored
and performed live by Larry Unger on guitar and mandolin. Best for middle
and high schools, Jewish adults, libraries, and others with an interest
in immigration, or Russian or Jewish history. Teacher resource packet
70 minutes, plus Q&A.
I have never seen an audience more transfixed... We were very privileged
to host such an exceptional event.
- Kitty Schacht, Librarian, Framingham Public Library, MA
Tailored to your occasion...
Betty has performed at weddings, 60th birthday parties, and other adult
gatherings. Stories may be adapted from the programs listed above, original
stories may be commissioned, or special programs may be arranged.
For a list of Jewish shows click here.
*Many of Betty's stories
are available on her recordings.
For fee information and availability contact firstname.lastname@example.org
return to top