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Telling Stories titlecard
Telling Stories 2

Telling Stories with Tomie "Scary"

Clip from the show.

Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola is a Henson Company television show that aired on Hallmark Channel from August to September 2001. The show featured children's book author Tomie dePaola, with his Muppet squirrel friend Gabe, encouraging children to make their own stories in a variety of media. During each episode, Tomie would tell a story featuring his storybook characters -- Strega Nona, Big Anthony and Bambolona. Each episode also featured a visit with a guest storyteller or two (often people connected to the Henson Company), while the last segment had a child actor playing Tomie enacting stories from his book 26 Fairmount Avenue.


  • Strega Nona is an elderly village lady who always wants to help her friends, Big Anthony and Bambolona.
  • The Goat appeared in the Strega Nona stories. Bambolona does not like the goat, and claims that it doesn't really help at all, but the goat is usually shown to have more intelligence than most of the characters. The puppet was built by James Wojtal, working under the supervision of Rollie Krewson. The character of "Goat" was based on the designs from DePaola’s illustrated "Strega Nona" books. The design featured a departure from the traditional Muppet-look, as the goal was to match the water color illustrations found in the book.[1] The puppet was recycled in Puppet Up! and pops up again in The Simian Undercover Detective Squad.


Summaries and air dates from the Roku Channel.

Image Description
Episode 1: Tales Around the Table
  • "In this episode Tomie shows us around his studio table."
  • Guest storytellers: Mary Sue Milliken and Sue Feniger
  • August 6, 2001
Episode 2: Where Do You Get Ideas?
  • "Tomie tells us about his idea drawer."
  • Guest storyteller: JT Steiny
  • August 7, 2001
Episode 3: What's a Story?
  • "Tomie offers two drawings - a beginning and an ending."
  • Guest storyteller: Ed Eyth
  • August 8, 2001
Episode 4: Stories for Myself
  • "Tomie shows us his sketchbook, a visual journal."
  • Guest storyteller: Alexandra Nechita
  • August 9, 2001
Episode 5: Food as Storytelling
  • "Tomie fries up his famous Popeye."
  • Guest storyteller: Mary Ann Esposito
  • August 10, 2001
Episode 6: That's a Story?!
  • "Tomie shows how a collection of souvenirs tells a story."
  • Guest storyteller: Charlotte Bird
  • August 13, 2001
Episode 7: Getting Started
  • "Tomie suggests ways to get started."
  • Guest storyteller: Art Clokey
  • August 14, 2001
Episode 8: Character
Episode 9: Setting
  • "Tomie discusses how changing the setting changes the story."
  • Guest storyteller: John Iacovelli
  • August 16, 2001
Episode 10: Point of View
  • "Tomie takes a look at perspective."
  • Guest storyteller: John E. Barrett
  • August 17, 2001
Episode 11: Performance as Storytelling
  • "Tomie talks about assuming a character’s voice & mannerisms."
  • Guest storyteller: Martie Barylick
  • August 20, 2001
Episode 12: Every Picture Tells a Story
  • "Tomie talks about the story behind one of his paintings."
  • Guest storyteller: Lotus Do Brooks
  • August 21, 2001
Episode 13: Making Sense of Our World Through Stories
  • "Tomie encourages kids to draw or make up stories to deal with emotions."
  • Guest storyteller: Jane Yolen
  • August 22, 2001
Episode 14: Taking a Chance
  • "Tomie tells and shows the origins of his first chapter book."
  • Guest storyteller: Frank Oz
  • August 23, 2001
Episode 15: Finding Your Audience
  • "Tomie talks about how stories and artwork change when they are shared with an audience."
  • Guest storyteller: John Carney
  • August 24, 2001
Episode 16: Funny
  • "Tomie explains the comedy rule of three."
  • Guest storyteller: Bill Larkin
  • August 27, 2001
Episode 17: Scary
  • "Tomie shows how different techniques can create a scary scene."
  • Guest storyteller: David Barrington-Holt
  • August 28, 2001
Episode 18: Moods: Happy/Sad
  • "Tomie shows how a few lines can change the mood of a face."
  • Guest storyteller: Natalie McMaster
  • August 29, 2001
Episode 19: History
  • "Tomie explains what a time capsule is."
  • Guest storyteller: Victor Finkel
  • August 30, 2001
Episode 20: Music
  • "Gabe plays guitar riffs for Tomie that correspond to different moods."
  • Guest storyteller: Dave Kinnoin
  • August 31, 2001
Episode 21: Make Believe Stories
  • "Tomie is doodling."
  • Guest storyteller: Doug Chiang
  • September 4, 2001
Episode 22: Real Stories
  • "Tomie talks about how family photos can inspire stories."
  • Guest storyteller: Chris Connelly
  • September 5, 2001
Episode 23: More Than One Way to Tell a Tale - Versions
  • "Tomie talks about the different ways you can tell a story."
  • Guest storyteller: Savage Steve Holland
  • September 6, 2001
Episode 24: More Than One Way to Tell a Tale - Techniques
  • "Tomie shows his ‘Cornell boxes’ ‘ using a different technique of art to tell a story."
  • Guest storyteller: Sule Greg Wilson
  • September 7, 2001
Rainbow Connection Telling Stories
Episode 25: Putting Heart Into Your Story
  • "Tomie talks about putting warmth, feeling and emotion into a story."
  • Guest storytellers: Kermit the Frog and Rizzo the Rat
  • September 10, 2001
Episode 26: Collaboration
  • "Tomie talks about collaboration."
  • Guest storytellers: Stephen Holman and Josephine Huang
  • September 11, 2001





External links[]