Reviewed by Flossie Waite
Conceived and made by We Are Here Studio and developed with Discover Children’s Story Centre
At Discover Children’s Story Centre until 25th November 2018
For ages 0-3
On February 14th 1990 the Voyager 1 space probe reached a record distance, travelling 3.7 billion miles into deep space – further than the NASA team ever imagined it would reach – taking a series of photos of its journey. As it was leaving the Solar System, the team turned the shuttle around to take one last photograph – Pale Blue Dot. In it, illuminated by a beam of reflected sunlight, and taking up less than a pixel of the frame, was Earth.
Discover Children’s Story Centre’s new storytelling session for 0-3 year olds, Little Blue Dot, is inspired by this incredible photograph. The image offers a sense of perspective, revealing our planet to be a very small fish in a massive cosmic pond. But it’s also a reminder of the huge unseen potential in this tiny speck – something the little blue dot has in common with the young audience at Discover Children’s Story Centre, many of whom are so tiny that they are yet to make a complete orbit around the sun.
The show, conceived by Elgiva Field and Matt Hutchinson, is an interactive, intimate, gentle piece of storytelling that explores how we experience the world when we are very young. With just a few sensory props – balloons, balls, light – it captures a child’s sense of wonderment about the world, the same feeling that anyone looking at Pale Blue Dot will experience. The storyteller plays with perspective, both literal – at first, the earth is a huge blue balloon, later, a tiny little ball – and figurative – the earth’s significance is stripped away as it is snatched up in a toddler’s tiny palm. At one point, it disappears completely: putting the earth away for safekeeping, the storyteller performs a series of lovely magic tricks in which it vanishes, only to reappear from random places: her hat, her shoe, from behind a baby’s ear.
Over the course of 25 minutes, the sensory props become planets, the storyteller building a galaxy in front of our eyes so that the space becomes a planetarium. By the end, we are all little blue dots, a stay and play session letting us plot out the stars.
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