Porirua Children’s Librarian, Bee Trudgeon July 2012

‘When I was a kid rhubarb was something my dad cut from the garden to save money on breakfast and no amount of sugar on top could sweeten our palettes. It’s quite a turn-around for me to have become a fervent fan of rhubarb, and it took Mary Kippenberger storyteller/entertainer and her husband, Peter Charlton-Jones, musician, to (literally) change my tune.

As a duo they are Rhubarb, one of the finest storytelling teams I have ever come across. We were delighted to welcome them as guests at the main library today on a mini tour that is taking in the Cannon Creek and Whitby libraries as I write.

They perform infectiously interactive sets of traditional stories in untraditional ways. Wolves turn vegetarian, hunters lay down their guns. Before you know it half the audience are on stage in costumes and people are holding their sides lest they split from laughing. Rhubarb are the good stuff and with their backgrounds in social work  both of them know how to bring out the good stuff in kids and their caregivers. The little words of encouragement Mary gives to every volunteer are placed in such a way that they validate a performer’s courage as well as appreciating their contribution.

From the smallest penguin ( who must have been 2) to the most seasoned wolf (one valiant grandfather) and with a collection of cows, monkeys, dogs and rabbits (to name just a few) thrown in, Rhubarb prove that the best stories can be further embellished with every subsequent mouth that learns to tell them. Humour, tunes and an invitation to move are the most useful tool any storyteller can weild, and Rhubard had their audience clapping and wriggling with glee as they dished out plenty of all today…’

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