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Rationale - Re-telling - Translation - Activities - Reflection

Country:   Greece
Language:  Greek
Title: The story spinner meets the sugar wizard
Author: Kyritsopoulos A.
Publisher: Kedros (1990)
Chosen by:  Gella Varna Vaskoura,
Director of Children's Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Education, Thessaloniki 540 06, Greece.

Rationale for choosing the book:
A delightful fantasy story which will appeal to all children, throughout Europe, who enjoy the mystery and excitement of stories and love sweets!.

The story-spinner is tempted by a sugar-wizard to taste the many delights of his wonderful sweet-making factory - where it is possible to eats 'caramelos' all the time. Unfortunately, as he tells his tale, the story-spinner begins to tire of all the sweet things and longs to be able to have something savoury - especially chips. Finally, with this thought in mind, he realises that it is often possible to have too much of a good thing!

Once upon a time there was a story-spinner who, thanks to his magic waistcoat, could even fly.
One day he was out for a walk when suddenly it started to rain sweets. Yes, really, 'Sweets!', said the story spinner, his mouth bursting with caramels. Because, as you can probably guess, he adored sweets.
So off he flew to see what strange and fantastic cloud could possibly be raining sweets.
And what do you think he saw?
A sugar wizard on his super-automatic rocket which was propelled by sweets instead of gas.
Startled, he sat upon a cloud and gazed at the stream of sweets  floating before his eyes.
At the last moment, just as the sugar wizard was vanishing into the distance, he decided  to follow him.
It didn't take long before he came to  the sugar wizard's castle and, imagine his surprise, when he found that the castle was made entirely out of chocolate. A chocolate castle, just like the chocolate eggs we have at Easter.
He forgot all about the sugar wizard and everything else, and fell upon a gigantic piece of chocolate. 'I'm never going to leave here', he murmured to himself.
All of a sudden a guard appeared in the hole the storyteller had bitten in the wall. Although extremely busy licking a lollipop, the guard shouted: 'Stop that at once, if you carry on like that you'll finish off our home. I'm putting you under arrest.
'What a terrific place to be captured' muttered the story-spinner, his mouth full of chocolate. 'Look at the guard, he's a real live confectioner.'
'Let's see what else there is to see here,' he thought to himself, as the guard led him through great chunks of chocolate on his way to the sugar wizard.
'Welcome story-spinner,' said the sugar wizard as soon as he saw him, and he told the guard to release the story-spinner straight away, then go off and fetch an enormous cake. The guard was delighted, as he was looking for an excuse to run and get another lollipop, since he had just finished the one he was eating.
'I see you have a sweet tooth story-spinner. I'm sure you'd love it here. Would you like me to show you around the castle?'
'Oh yes, please,'  said the story-spinner and even his moustache quivered with pleasure.
First the sugar wizard took him to the baking house where they were kneading the dough for all the cakes and doughnuts.
Next he was shown a huge cauldron, 'And here's where they make the caramels,' said the sugar wizard. The story-spinner nodded but could not open his mouth to speak as it was choc-a-bloc with sweets.
'And over here is where the confectioners, the bakers and the ice-cream makers live,' said the sugar wizard pointing to a row of tiny houses at the foot of a mountain made of, guess what? whipped cream.
Then they wandered into the garden. 'And these trees are...' but, before the sugar wizard could finish his sentence, the story-spinner finished it for him, 'Candy Floss' he said triumphantly, having just tasted one.
And imagine, even the rabbits, the ducks and the birds in the garden were made of marzipan.
But just as he was about to visit the marmalade lake, the syrup fountains and the cellars where all the jams and jellies were stored, a bell rang to tell them it was dinner time.
When they had reached the dining room and were sitting down to have a drink, the sugar wizard asked the story-spinner what he would most like to eat in the whole wide world.
'Chips!' said the story-pinner wistfully - the table almost turned up-side-down with shock.
'Heavens above, I can't believe my ears!' said the sugar wizard. He was so astonished he tipped over his glass of blackcurrant juice, which made a big purple stain on the tablecloth. He then explained that there was no salt anywhere in the entire castle. How could they possibly make chips without salt? 'Anyway, there are no potatoes,' he added as an afterthought. 'Nor any spaghetti,' (just in case the story-spinner should ask for that next). 'I'm terribly sorry but we've only got sweets.'
So that night, the story-spinner did not sleep a wink because he was so hungry.
And early next morning he set off home. He had to walk because the huge sack of sweets he was carrying was much too heavy, so he couldn't fly.
But it didn't matter because, when he got home in the evening, his grandmother (because the story-spinner has a grandmother, too) made him some delicious soup. It was too late for chips, he would have to have those tomorrow.

Good Night.

(Working translation for educational purposes only.)

Activities for use in school:
1. It is possible to have 'Too much of a good thing'. Get the children to think of as many descriptive words as possible of how they feel if they have had 'too much' of something. They could then design 'warning' posters for friends.
2.  The story-spinner mentions that the chocolate castle was 'just like the chocolates we have at Easter' (p.17). Discuss with the children what we do at Easter and why. Is this a festival that is celebrated in all countries? Greece certainly places much importance on it. Maybe different groups can find out about Easter in a number of different countries and create a brochure/ leaflet about each one.
3. Focus on the script in this little book and discuss the ways in which it differs from ours. Are there any words that it is possible to work out when listening to the CD at the same time?. What is the Greek words for 'sweets', for example. The children might like to make up their own storyboards about the story-spinner, possibly using the occasional Greek word in the captions.-

Reflection: Focus on the  role of Greek myths and legends in contemporary stories/storytelling.

NB Further literature and language-based activities can be found in
Picture Books sans Frontières
available from or

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ncrcl January 2005