The storyteller's guidebook

Storytelling is an underrated art. Bob Hartman, one of its legendary practitioners, dispenses wise words in Anyone Can Tell a Story (Lion pound;5.99) on how to grab your audience, find a way into the story, develop characters and wind up successfully. The book includes 20 tried and tested stories that can be adapted and used to put the advice into practice.

Three new illustrated collections will be invaluable for class, library and assembly storytelling. Hartman's own The Lion Storyteller Book of Animal Tales (Lion Children's Books pound;10.99) offers 36 stories that use animals to impart wisdom and a positive message for Year 1 and above, with just the right amount of humour, echoed in the watercolour illustrations by Susie Poole.

George and the Dragon and Other Saintly Stories by Richard Brassey (Orion Children's Books pound;10.99) is an entertaining collection of 17 stories about saints, including some who are lesser known. The stories are short and told in spare language, but the quirky illustrations flesh out the detail and make this book a delight. Pupils in Years 2 and 3 will want to pore over the pictures long after the tales have been told.

In Spirit of the Forest (Frances Lincoln pound;12.99) professional storytellers Eric Maddern and Helen East retell 12 "tree tales from around the world" to read aloud. One of these thought-provoking stories is a touching tale of how a fisherman who chose his own way gave the people of New Guinea the coconut tree. Alan Marks's evocative watercolour illustrations make this a beautiful book.

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