‘The Storyteller’ is a combination of wondrous imagery and brilliantly woven text about passing on the magic of the past with future generations in the hopes that they do the same.
Set in Morocco, this book introduces us to a culture where storytellers brought people together around the town fountains to hear fascinating stories that left the audience with a thirst for more. Over time, people became less and less interested in listening to the stories. As a result, the storytellers vanished and the fountains that once flowed dried up.
One day, a thirsty young boy goes in search for water. At an old, dried up fountain he meets one of the last remaining storytellers. He sits and listens in amazement as the storyteller magically quenches his thirst.
Day after day he returns. As this is happening, the forces of nature have come to consume this dried up town that is no longer abundant with flowing water. The boy shares what he learned from the storyteller with the forces of nature and a small group of people from town listen. Night after night, the group of people listening to the boy grows. Soon the entire town is once again overflowing with water and the people can continue to prosper.
The story told within this story is just as important. The boy learns and retells a story of hope, greed, understanding, tradition, and magic.
At the end of the book there is note that includes an old Moroccan saying, “When a storyteller dies, a library burns.” This book was written and illustrated by Evan Turk in response to the modern phenomenon of traditional Moroccan storytellers losing their power which lies in their audience. Television, movies, and the Internet are just some of the things that are changing this culture and threatening the thousand year old practice as master storytellers become increasingly rare. Turk explains that he sees many cultures at a crossroads where the future is threatening to eclipse what is beautiful about the past and it is up to us to realize the magic that exists and share it before it disappears forever.