This spring I did a great deal of skimming through collections of folktales looking for stories to use for this summer's Family Story Time series. One of the stories that I found was "Hare and Tortoise: A Tale from the Thonga People of Mozambique" which can be found in Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories from Around the World by Josepha Sherman. The gist of the story is that Rabbit tricks Lizard, then Rabbit tricks Antelope and then Rabbit tries to trick Tortoise but Tortoise tricks Rabbit instead.
This story could easily be adapted as a board story. Since I already had chosen three board stories, I needed to present this story in a different way. I could have made the figures into stick puppets but I decided to try something different. I made stand-up figures to tell the story. I used Microsoft Publisher to enlarge and print out the images of the lizard and the tortoise. For the rabbit and antelope I used the old-fashioned method of folding the letter-sized printout into quarters and drawing the image on larger paper. I used an 18 inches by 24 inches sheet of paper for the antelope and half of a sheet for the rabbit. I used a pencil and drew light lines to divide the paper into quarters and then sketched each quarter to make the larger picture. Much erasing ensued but the rabbit looked like a rabbit and the antelope looked pretty much like an antelope. I outlined everything with black marker. The figures were colored with markers and then glued to poster board. (Make sure the marker has dried if using white glue.) I then cut out the figures leaving the bottoms uncut (to hold the stands). I made stands for the figures out of poster board. I ended up reinforcing the back of the rabbit with cardboard because he was so tall. I did the same for the antelope. Since the antelope was a bit top-heavy I ended up using a tab stand made out of cardboard for it.
All of this sounds like a lot of work but it really didn't take as long as I thought it would. I set the animals on a table before the program started. (I used a box behind the antelope to keep it from slipping on the smooth table.) The display peaked the interest of the children as they came into the room for the program. (The antelope is out of proportion to the other animals but the children didn't seem to care.)
Telling the story went quite well. I moved and removed figures as I told the story. The only thing I will do differently when I tell it again is to not bother tying the hoe to the lizard or antelope. Miming the actions as I was telling the story was just as effective and I had to turn my back to the group when tying the hoe onto the figures. So the hoe goes.
Below is a picture of the figures set up on my living room floor.