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Storyteller Enchants Young Armonk Audience

ARMONK, N.Y. - Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk captivated an audience of children with “Finger Fables from Around the World” at Whippoorwill Hall theater this week.

Kruck used his audience-interaction technique to tell his “Finger Fable” variations of classic stories, including the French literary fairytale “Puss in Boots.”

As an undergraduate in college Kruk learned it wasn’t easy to capture the attention of very young children, so he came up with his own technique that seems to work quite well.

“When I was an undergraduate I volunteered to go into the city of Worcester, Massachusetts and tell children’s stories there that I once told my little brother at bedtime,” Kruk said. “The kids were younger than my little brother and they didn’t quite listen unless I used a little bit of movement, so I began to develop the (finger fable) idea then-and-there,” Kruk said.

Kruk said through his experience of countless birthday parties and school programs he created this new way for kids to focus more on his stories.

“Over the years…I developed this program where little kids can follow the story all the better by turning their fingers into rabbit ears or a fist into a turtle shell, or a hand on your nose into a rhino’s horn,” Kruk said.

The most satisfying thing about performing stories for kids says Kruk, is the look they get in their eyes when they’re intently listening.

“I love when they are, in the true sense of the word, spellbound. You can see that their eyes are following but you know that just behind them their imaginations are providing all of the pictures and the sounds and they’re doing it strictly on their own, guided by my voice and a little help from their hands,” he said. “That little moment when I can see they’re enchanted, that’s what keeps me going.”

According to Kruk, Wednesday was the third or fourth time he has performed at Whippoorwill Hall and he said he really enjoys telling stories there.

“I love this theater, it’s intimate, beautiful, kind of serene and that really helps, especially with young kids to hold their focus on me and what’s going on,” Kruck said. “There are very few distractions here so it’s just an ideal place to perform.”

Kruk also performs legendary stories as well as historically significant stories. One of his most well-liked performances, he says, is his rendition of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" .

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