Bobby Norfolk,
Norfolk Tales
(August House, 2002)

Norfolk Tales is a creative storytelling session for children told by the lively and energetic Bobby Norfolk. Using many voices, Norfolk offers stories from worldwide settings, and this is the fourth such recording he has done for August House.

As you might suspect with only five stories on this CD, they are fairly long. The first one runs for just over 14 minutes and it takes a lot of energy to maintain the pace of the story, but Norfolk handles that quite effectively.

Anansai the Spider, Jack and Tilly are main characters in the stories. Norfolk adds his own creative fabric as he mixes modern and old; for example, when a cow drops off a roof and "big macs fly everywhere."

He talks about a grade three student in one story and I'd agree that would be about the right age group for this collection. Kids would probably love the many sound effects he adds (the many, many sound effects), even though I found it difficult to follow at times because each character and the narrator seemed to have several voices.

The stories are entertaining and successful because of Norfolk's boundless energy and imagination. His sounds and words bring images to mind as fast as a television does. That's a compliment. He deserves credit for offering an alternative in today's fast-paced world of modern storytelling.

I think an educator would find the CD an excellent tool to introduce new vocabulary, to add meaningful and fun-oriented physical activity into the classroom, and to encourage discovery and development of drama skills. Children would have a great time doing the sounds and putting actions to these stories. Actually, I would, too.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 6 September 2003

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