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‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches’ – Advance Hardcover Review

The tale with the power.

In the late 1980s, Jim Henson created a wonderful television series called The Storyteller.  Starring John Hurt as the Narrator, he would spin a tale for his dog (and us, the lucky audience) from times before television, before radio, before a day could be filled with anything but work and drudgery, and when a well-told story could last a lifetime.  This series was incredible, adding in the Henson Muppet Shop to help bring these oral histories to life, and captivate, terrify, and fill with wonder at the possibilities that lay in these tales.

Archaia has published this new spin on The Storyteller franchise, inspired by a completed screenplay that was never filmed about a witch of the Russian wastes, a Baba Yaga.  Three other stories were conceived to add to the adaptation of the screenplay, and this collected volume treats us to all four, with the additional bonus of the unpublished screenplay complete as written for the show.

Each tale is a wonder, with each author (S.M. Vidaurri, Kyla Venderklugt, Matthew Dow Smith, and Jeff Stokely) introducing their narrative with the history of the witch they chose and how they sought to honor Henson’s work with their own.  Each one of these stories is told beautifully and incorporates John Hurt’s Narrator and his faithful pooch into each telling, completing the tone of the show and making each feel like it belonged to the series to begin with.

The artwork from each work is derived from the heritage of the witches themselves, and each carries a sense of style much like works like Dark Crystal and other Storyteller episodes.  The images help the stories set themselves into the world and make for a great accompaniment to the loving care with which each witch’s story is told.

This collection is truly beautiful in every way, the stories are complex and enlightening, and the pages sing with the devotion to Henson’s vision.  It’s a wonderful pickup for any fan of Henson or the series at all.  And, if you’ve not seen them, perhaps this volume will give you the excuse you need to dive into that rich world.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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