Farmer Funn and Frannie Funn visit Evart

Couple perform as part of the Summer Reading Program

EVART — The Evart Community Library hosted storytellers Farmer Funn and Frannie Funn at the Osceola County Fairgrounds recently as part of their children’s summer reading program.

Todd Avery, a retired theatre teacher, and his wife Penny performed their Tails and Tales program as part of the Michigan Collaborative Summer Library Program.

CSLP works with local libraries throughout the state to promote reading through the implementation of the summer reading program.

Each year they select a theme, and participating libraries can purchase posters, reading logs, bookmarks and reading incentives to be used with their summer reading programs.

“The theme for this summer is Tails & Tales,” Avery said. “We begin by talking with the children about the history of tall tales and then we tell our own Tall Tale.”

In his introduction to tall tales, Farmer Funn told the story of Johnny Appleseed, placing a pot on his head, and holding apples in his hand. He told of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack and swung his ax as if he were chopping trees.

After telling the children about other tall tales, Farmer Funn told his own tale - McBroom’s Zoo, a tall tale about a farmer and a tornado based on stories by children’s author Sid Fleishman.

In McBroom’s Zoo, a tornado comes and destroys McBroom’s farm and leaves behind a menagerie of strange and interesting creatures, which McBroom and his family capture and take home.

During the telling of the story, pictures of the strange looking creatures were hung on display.

Following the story telling, the children were invited to create their own unique zoo animals using paper bags and cut-out parts.

“Remember, this is a tall tale, so you can create you character however you want,” Penny Avery told the children.

Once the children finished creating their own zoo characters, they were invited to tell their own tall tales about the zoo animals.

The Avery’s have taken their traveling show to several area libraries this summer including Newago, White Cloud, Stanton, Morley, Lakeview and Grant, and will plan to continue throughout the summer reading program.

This is the first year they have been part of the Summer Reading Program, but plan to continue to be part of the program.

“We are part of a network of performers that love working with kids,” Avery said. “It is very satisfying to see them engaged and watch their faces light up when they hear the stories.”