Touring In: Quebec
Genre: Folk, Fairy and Original Stories Told with a Twist
Ideal Audience Size: 20 – 60
Maximum Audience Size: 120
Grades: Preschool – Grade 9
Special Equipment: Chair, small table and water. Small venues like libraries or classrooms preferred. If a larger venue is needed, then a microphone will be required.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
Stories: Windows to Wonder
30-60 Minute Customized Programs
Preschool – Grade 3
Humour, repetition and audience participation are key ingredients in Rachel’s energetic programs for young listeners. Every language-rich session begins with an invitation:
We don’t need a car to leave this room, we don’t need a plane or a boat or a rocket ship; we just need our ears (cupping ears), our eyes (making binoculars) and our imaginations (touching temples). Ready? Let’s go!
Rachel adapts each program to the needs of each specific group. She reads her audience as she goes and makes adjustments as necessary. A sample program might include a selection from the following:
The Bear in My Backyard – 3 mins; original, true story
There’s a Wolf Under My Bed – 7 mins; original story with lots of fun repetition
The Little Girl and the Gunniwolf – 8 mins; Appalachian/African-American folktale
The Toe Fairy – 8 mins; original story
This Story is NOT About an Elephant – 6 mins; original story
Many Moons – 8 mins; adapted from story by James Thurber
The Greedy Frog – 6 mins; Australian folktale; adapted from retelling by Naomi Adler
Grades 4 – 6
Firing the imagination with exciting narratives is Rachel’s goal for this age group, as she leads listeners on a series of engaging and sometimes perilous adventures. Courage, resourcefulness and kindness are recurring themes in the stories Rachel chooses for students in grades 4-6.
Stories for this age group might include:
Jill and the Beanstalk – 10 mins; humorous retelling of folktale; original adaptation
The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow – 15 mins; a feisty girl discovers the true meaning of courage in this original story
The King of the Moon – 8 mins; featuring an entertaining friendship; adapted from a Russian folktale
The Boy Who Got Stuck in a Story – 12 mins; a storyteller does his job too well in this original tale
The Hungry Frog – 12 mins; A lowly scullery maid comes to the rescue when a Queen makes a terrible mistake in this original fairy tale
The House of the Cats – 5 mins; adapted Greek folktale
Grades 7 – 9
Students in this age group are not immune to enchantment when the right stories are shared. Rachel’s goal is to inspire her listeners’ own creativity as together they travel to unexpected places. Each program is customized for the needs of each specific group. Stories might include:
Old Woman Big Foot – 6 mins; featuring a relatable adolescent girl; adapted from an Irish folktale
The Silkie Painter – 8 mins; adapted from “Tales of the Seal People” by Duncan Williamson
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – 12 mins; original wonder tale, set in an actual lighthouse on BC’s northern coast
Whiskers, Tails and Gnashing Teeth – 12 mins; original adaptation of The Pied Piper, set in Nanaimo (Rachel’s hometown), with accompanying historical details (mine shafts, rat problems, and an ‘abyss’ with no apparent bottom)
Misery – 6 mins; adapted from a Russian fairy tale
The Magical Fiddle – 8 mins; adapted from a Hungarian folktale
The Beggar’s Magic – 8 mins; adapted from a Chinese folktale
The Ballad of Kentucky – 8 mins; an original and true story of a dramatic chicken rescue and an unlikely interspecies friendship
Rachel makes sure to leave time in her presentations for questions and discussion about individual stories, the art and craft of storytelling, and the writing process.
Squeeze (Orca, 2010)
The Solstice Cup (Orca, 2009)
Ten Thumb Sam (Orca, 2007)
When the Curtain Rises (Orca, 2007)
Rachel never outgrew her fascination with wonder tales and believes that the best ones speak to us at every stage of life. She’s been sharing original and traditional stories with audiences of all ages since 2010, appearing in schools, libraries, churches, coffee shops, retirement homes, theatres, concerts and festivals. She’s told in a few unusual venues as well, including a city council chamber, a decommissioned milking parlour and a hotel lobby.
As a mother of five and grandmother of three, Rachel loves engaging young audiences. With an alchemy of humour, suspense, audience participation and full-body animation, her stories draw in even the most distracted student. She knows she’s succeeding when she looks up to see teachers and parents enthralled as well!
Rachel is a children’s author as well as an oral storyteller. Her four trade-published juvenile novels include: When the Curtain Rises (translated into Swedish and Norwegian), Ten Thumb Sam, The Solstice Cup and Squeeze. To share her passion for the spoken and written word, Rachel leads writing and storytelling workshops for children and adults. You can learn more about her work at www.racheldunstanmuller.com.
When she’s not reading, writing or storytelling, Rachel likes to explore the wild spaces around her Vancouver Island home on foot or by canoe. From her own fir-tree covered yard, she and her family have watched owls, eagles, bats, squirrels, rabbits, racoons, deer and a young bear.
When the Curtain Rises
- Shortlisted for the 2009 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
“It was a privilege to have Rachel Muller tell her wonderful, entertaining and enriched stories to our students. Rachel led children and adult imaginations on a journey to exciting and unexpected places. We look forward to her next storytelling adventure!”
—Charmaine Cardin, Librarian, Queen of Angels School, BC, 2018
“I didn’t want you to stop!”
—5th grade student, 2018
“It was the most effective form of storytelling and engagement that I have ever experienced with such a large number of kids in one sitting.”
—Lori Phillips, Kids Program Coordinator, BC, 2018
“Rachel is a warm, compassionate teller who quickly engages an audience. She carefully prepares her stories and programs and is very considerate of time constraints and requirements, ever mindful of her audience, and the venue. She is also capable of remarkable flexibility and can adapt her program to meet the needs of the audience or changing circumstance. Quite simply stated, Rachel is a joy. I highly recommend her.”
—Margaret Murphy, Professional Storyteller and Special Education Teacher, 2018
“Your sessions were so engaging and the students loved them. Your storytelling at the end was mesmerizing!”
—Jenny Ingram, Teacher, SD79, BC, Young Authors Conference, 2017
“We thoroughly enjoyed your presentations and the feedback from students and staff has been most positive. Your books flew out of the library and requests for future borrowing have flooded in.”
—Gary Dodd, Principal, Frank Ney Elementary, BC, 2010