"His enthusiasm, use of interactive call and response, his props - beautiful and intriguing felt masks for children, bring to mind a magical Willy Wonka style character come to life. Mr. Kruk, took every opportunity to remind the children, whose imaginations he already fired up, of the importance and joy of reading. Do not hesitate to bring Jonathan Kruk’s living tales to your library stage! "
Deivis Garcia, Youth Services Department, Montclair Public Library , NJ
"On behalf of the Guiderland Public Library, I would like to thank you for a unique and delightful approach to the telling of Rip Van Winkle. I am sure Washington Irving himself would have been entertained by your rendition of Rip and his realm.
Your performance pulled us into Rip’s world in the Catskills and held us spellbound. We witnessed an awesome performance!"
Dorothy Holt, Librarian, Guilderland, NY
Having been a children’s librarian for some years in the early part of my career, I have great admiration for the skills involved in storytelling. Plus, Jonathan is expertly adept at holding a crowd in the outdoors while competing with multiple other activities. He is a master! I am so delighted to have found him!
Chris Nolan, Director, Ridgefield Library, CT
Performing at the Katonah Village Library, my hometown circa 1996
I love performing in libraries! Nestled in the books, at the core of a community, I tell my listeners; ‘Stories are in the air here! Reach up with your hand and a little imagination. You’ll catch them!’ Serving on the board of the Desmond /Fish Library in Garrison, I understand how quality events draw people to the library.
Ask to have a program tailored to your theme or interest. I'll create a lively summer reading program. I have more Hudson River lore to tell than anyone. Scroll down for the story of how my hometown library saved me when I was a teenager.
Allow me to create a unique storytelling program for you.
Finger Fables for Young Listeners -Aesop to Anansi performed with a “hands-on” audience, guaranteed to turn your most squiggly wigglers into active listeners. Best for pre-k to first graders
Story Theater - classic tales from around the world performed with kids in quick costumes and masks. Ideal for children in grades 1-5
Faeries & Leprechauns, Giants and Dragons - wildly imaginative adventuresome quests. Best for grades 2-8
Tall Tales & Urban Legends- using with exaggeration and surprise truth stretching stories for the “Tween” set. Grades 6-8
Pirates! - another Hudson river Ramblers show featuring Jonathan and Rich in pirate garb, performing interactive shanties, and sharing lore of buccaneers & privateers from Captain Kidd to Black Bird. Ask about pirates in the American Revolution.
The Legends of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - A book talk in tales. The factually based of lore of the spirits surrounding the “the ghost of Hessian trooper whose head was carried away be a cannonball during the Revolutionary War.” Stories and sources gleaned from my book for the History Press, "Legend and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley" Best for teens and adults.
Solo Show of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - Jonathan's dramatic retelling of this haunting classic takes you on an unforgettable spine-tingling ride. Musical accompaniment by Jim Keyes. Best for teens to adults.
Solo Show of “A Christmas Carol” - A unique dramatic retelling of Dickens’ “most perfect tale of redemption for the holidays” with over thirty characters all portrayed, plus musical accompaniment by Jim Keyes. Best for teens to adults.
HALLOWEEN - Spooky (but not scary) Stories! - a happy Halloween witch, "The Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything," "Bony Legs" a ridiculous rolly pumpkin head, the haunted hand and other frightfully fun tales for young children.
Hudson River Lore - A performance of traditional stories and songs of the mysterious and historical river, with folksinger Rich Bala.
Sample Summer Reading Topics
STARRY SUMMER STORIES
There are stories in the stars by Astronomers, Astronauts and Astrologers just waiting to be told to children. I’ll tailor a Starry Storytelling Program for your library. Ask for the myths of the constellations, not only from the Greeks but Native and other sources. Get science-based stories from Galileo, Farseer of the Hubbard Telescope. This is a Story Theater style show with children turning into rotating planets, and becoming Andromeda, Orion and more. Ask me for the Moon and the Stars this summer to spark summer reading and beyond.
BOOK SHELF TO BOX OFFICE - FAIRY TALES IN FILM
A unique storytelling program by Master Storyteller, Jonathan Kruk, with live music by Musician / Composer, Tom McCoy.
Fairy tales inspire hit films. Frozen, Tangled, Maleficent, The Little Mermaid, Bluebeard, Snow White, Cinderella, Spiderman, and many more come from the great oral tradition. Now, libraries can draw in older children to experience their favourite movie in its original form. Jonathan Kruk, a Master Storyteller, and Tom McCoy, an orchestral composer created this unique live performance program for libraries. They engage elementary and middle school children with the source stories movie-makers from Disney to Spielberg used. This show gives kids the grit and glory found in tales of Aesop, Grimm, Andersen and Charles Perrault. They will come in from the box office to take out the book.
Funny Food Fables, Summer Time Dragon Tales, Elves Trolls & Fairies, Sibling Stories Seriously Silly, Creepy Crawlies, Animal Tales, Magic & Mystery, Ocean Notions, Riddles, Inventors, Holidays - Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving.
About my Performances
Shows are about fifty engaging minutes for children; interactive, with silly stretches, and skits. Adults enjoy about one an hour, followed by a Q & A.
Librarians describe my work as; "Theatrical," “Bardic” “Like Robin Williams meets Viggo Mortensen” and “Jonathan is expertly adept at holding a crowd.”
Fees: $400. Includes travel within two hours. Additional costs for further distance. Ask for multiple booking discounts. October shows are $600. $1200 for Solo Shows with musical accompaniment. Please tell me your story if you need some flexibility for these rates.
My library Story ...
"These were times that tried men's souls..." Those days of rage, revolution and radical calls for new rights. The 1970's. From bell-bottoms to bombing Hanoi it confused and distressed this solemn sensitive soul. I sought refuge and found it in the Katonah Village Library!
The stately stonework, wooden shelves solid with books, the fascinating array of magazines, and the day-dreamy windows, all whispered "sanctuary" to me. Tucked into a grand chair I turned books to for comfort and understanding. I found utopian forecastings in "Future Shock" and “The Greening of America.” When heart-break plagued this lanky nerd, Mrs. Beardsley, the sympathetic librarian, recommended Rod McKuen. “It's nice sometimes to open up the heart a little and let some hurt come in. It proves you're still alive.” Alas, when I confessed I wanted to die, she suggested, "I'm Okay, Your Okay!" Really? Turning to science fiction provided a far-out answer. Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, and Robert Heinlein offered scenarios I could grok.
The Katonah library, also offered enlightening talks. I met Joseph Campbell there after he spoke of on the loneliness of the hroes journey. Local historians Bo Kelly and Pud Addis got me scouting for signs of patriots and the Kitchawancks. My street once served as a spy route and hiding place for the wandering old Leatherman! Hooked on local lore, it a big part of my performance repertoire. The library lead me to the Hudson River stories and eventually my singature story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. They I roam to many venues to perform, Libraries remain, my favorite.