Magical Tales: An Interview and Giveaway

In my recent post Television: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, I talked about the role television plays in our family life and the potential for creative play opportunities. Following on from that, I’ve put together an interview with the experts behind the children’s program  Magical Tales.  I’ve always been rather fascinated in television production so I’m glad to have childhood development expert Valerie Foley, and costume designer Elizabeth O’Brien here to talk about creative play, storytelling, costumes and more! A very interesting read. Oh, and Elizabeth has a fabulous tutorial on how to make your own fairy wings! Love it!

About Magical Tales: traditional ideas with a contemporary twist

{ William and Sparkles}

magical tales sparkles and william


Magical Tales is an engaging new Australian series designed in consultation with pre-primary school educators to captivate and entertain the minds of pre-school children through the use of narrative storytelling, colour, movement, music, delightful costumes and playful characters that combine to heighten the sensory experience.

Magical Tales is inspired by classic fairytales, nursery rhymes and fables characters, themes and traditional storytelling mixed with humour and funky music to give much loved characters and stories a contemporary twist.

Interview: Valerie Foley — Childhood Development Expert

Kelly: Is Magical Tales designed to get children moving and thinking?

Valerie Foley: Magical Tales is absolutely designed to get children moving and thinking! In scripting terms, we talked a lot about multiple intelligences and the whole idea that each child has their own unique combination of cognition habits and skills. Each storyline was built to allow kids to access it in their own way, hopefully maximising engagement and involvement, on a cognitive and physical level. This gives kids the best chance of feeling the need to get up on their feet and engage, while using both their words and their bodies. Musically, Magical Tales has been created with young children’s bodies and brains in mind. Short, sharp musical interludes engage without tiring little people. Developmentally appropriate, accessible and repetitive lyrics build emergent language skills on a practical scaffold. Simple, copyable choreography integrates physical and sensory abilities in a fun, almost subconscious way. In story terms, Magical Tales references characters, forms and elements from the lexicon of traditional storytelling – sometimes reinforcing known elements, sometimes introducing new elements, sometimes re-interpreting or modernising elements… all the while using simple child-centered activities like imaginative play, construction, simple games to keep the action in a contemporary child’s frame of reference.

Kelly: Does Magical Tales have the potential for open ended imaginative play?

Valerie Foley: In building the world of Magical Tales, we were really keen to integrate scaffolding points for kids imaginative play. These elements included

– a safe ‘home’ point for every story (The Star House) made from simple, re-creatable, familiar set pieces.

– catch phrases, recurring characters and repeated gestures.

– child-like approaches to problem solving – simple costuming transformations made from familiar, accessible objects.

Kelly: How can parents be involved?

Valerie Foley: The number one way parents can be involved in Magical Tales, is to watch it with their kids. Co-viewing allows you to find the most relevant moments with your child. You can see what engages them, hold their hands through the less familiar parts, be inspired by their reactions and take their cues for on-going play opportunities. If your child shows an interest, use the play materials you already have at home to follow their lead in creating and exploring their own Enchanted Forest. Throw rugs and cushions make the Star House, your own teddy is turbo, a bit of glitter left over from Christmas is magical fairy dust and your wooden spoon definitely has magical possibilities! The familiarity of the characters (fairies, wizards, superheroes, kings and queens etc) makes it a little less confronting for adults to join in the play with their children. Let’s face it, we all did it when we were kids! Using the Magical Tales website and becoming a friend on Facebook, will also keep you in touch with new story elements, appearances and future plans. By doing this, we hope to honour the children’s faith in the adventures of William and Sparkles, allowing them to feedback into the loop to ensure that we have the nest possible opportunity to create the most relevant program possible.

Interview: Elizabeth O’Brien  — Costume Designer

Kelly: Can you tell us the process of designing the outfits Sparkles and William wear?

Elizabeth O’Brien: Designing and making the costumes for Magical Tales has been a fantastic and creative experience. The costume design for William and Sparkles began in 2008 when the Producer was still developing the series. We needed to do a stills shoot to create some marketing materials so we had to pull some costumes together on a tight budget and fast. The producer’s vision was clear. She wanted the costumes to be edgy, practical and different from those worn by other fairies and wizards. Our approach was to mix traditional ideas with contemporary colours, styles and fabrics. We decided that our colour palette would be Purple, Orange and Green with a touch of Pink. It was important that William’s costume was practical and familiar. We wanted little boys to recognise and identify with the cargo pants, and T-shirt but it still needed to be magic so we introduced a Wiz Bang utility belt full of tricks, and a baseball style cap with a big W on it. Sparkles is not a prissy fairy she is punk rock so her costume needed to be pretty enough for the girly girls but not sickly sweet. We created a petal skirt, but used a mix of fabrics to create a punk look and finished it off with a bold corset.  With only a few days to spare we pulled together a rough look for the stills shoot. The foundation was there and worked for the pitch but it still felt homemade and half finished. It was at this point that Tim Chappel joined our team to help us refine William and Sparkles costumes and also create the look for Awesome Guy and the Queen of the Fairies. Tim was a truly spectacular fit and embraced our intentions, polished them and helped us create a professional, contemporary and iconic look for these great characters. Sparkles crop jacket was ingenious along with her beautiful – and difficult to make corset, she became the perfect mix of pretty and punk rock. The chunky green beads and mesh glove completed the look.  For William he took our plain green T-shirt with a W on it and turned it into a baseball inspired shirt with bright orange buttons and the cap became a much-loved contemporary wizards hat that is just gorgeous.

Tim’s approach to the costumes for our lead characters provided us with a solid foundation for everything we created for the series. Every costume was carefully considered to ensure it fitted into the style of the series ‘traditional ideas with a contemporary twist’. Colours and textures were used to help bring the characters to life through the eyes of the children. It is important that the costumes are familiar enough for the children to identify with, understand and recognize the type of character they are; such as Goldilocks, but also need to be edgy and playful. We achieved this through the use of interesting and unexpected fabrics and patterns mixed with appropriate colours and textures.

Kelly: How do children respond to colour and texture?

Elizabeth O’Brien: Colour, Texture, Taste, Shape and Sound are the foundation of a young child’s learning. Children are fascinated by colours and textures. The most popular early childhood toys are usually a cute animal or creature made out of a mix of coloured and textured fabrics that make different sounds when you touch them and feel and taste different. Young children learn through their sensory experiences. They notice, understand and remember things through the association of colour. Texture is equally important. How it feels and tastes helps a child recognise one thing from another. Discovering if something is smooth or bumpy, fury or silky is extremely exciting and fascinating to young children. Our target audience for Magical Tales is preschool children. Knowing how stimulated they are by colour and texture was a driving force behind the designs and fabrics we have used in the series.

Kelly: Can you teach us how to make fairy wings?

How to Make Fairy Wings Tutorial by Elizabeth O’Brien (brilliantly easy tutorial)


***Giveaway has ended and the winners have been notified by email. Congratulations!***

magical tales vol 1,2,3 on DVD

I have 3 Magical Tales DVDs sets (Volumes 1, 2, & 3) to give away. Entering is super easy.

1. Live in Australia (sorry my overseas readers)

2. Leave a comment below

3. That’s it. 

* Giveaway open Friday 20 May to 7 June 2011

* I’ll draw the 3 winners via random.org and the winner will be notified via email

* DVDs will be posted mid-june


Magical Tales

Magical Tales on YouTube

My Little Drummer Boys has a cute post about their actual meeting with Sparkles and William

Star Wars vs Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Let Dad Have His Way

Television: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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  • Reply
    How to Make Fairy Wings | Be A Fun Mum
    May 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

    […] Read my full interview with Elizabeth O’Brien here: Magical Tales: Interview and Giveaway. […]

  • Reply
    Simone OHara
    May 25, 2011 at 7:53 am

    My daughter would love to win the magical tales DVD. it’s one of her favourite shows. The interview above was very interesting reading.

  • Reply
    Karen Hoult
    May 25, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Very interesting read. Thanks for posting. My three year old hangs out everyday for Magical Tales. He loves William and zaparoos everything!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

    My daughter and I love this show!

  • Reply
    bek ireland
    May 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

    My nearly four year old daughter loves this show! We have the CD& Chels already knows all the lyrics, its so lovely to hear 🙂 Fascinating article thank you

  • Reply
    Sarah Ellis
    May 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Please make me a fun mum by adding some Sparkles to my daughters day.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I love this show it so much better then hi5 Please save me from having to watch hi5 for the 100000000 time 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa scott
    May 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Will be keeping my eye out for this show. Was great to read about as I had never heard of it before. Sounds like something I would encourage my kids to watch. Thanks

  • Reply
    Nicole Garcia
    May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Until i read this article since joining be a fun mum club i had never heard of magical tales!!!!!!! My 2 yo son Ashton and i would love the opportunity to win these DVD’s and discover this new magical world! Good luck to everyone who entered, i am loving being part of this community!

  • Reply
    mellie jane
    May 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

    my little ones love this show would love to win it for them 🙂

  • Reply
    Mumma's Mini Me's - Kym
    May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

    My daughter would love these I could she her dancing around the room already!

  • Reply
    Louise Pickett
    May 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    My daughter would love this –we are big magical tales in this house and she loves to sing and dance along to all the songs xxx
    Perfect timing too as the season finished here last week xxx

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Fantastic comp for a great show. Thanks for the opportunity 🙂

  • Reply
    May 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Looks great thanks for the chance to win, my little girl is a little too young for this but I know another little boy who would totally love it!

  • Reply
    June 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Oh my 2 boys love Magical Tales and are now a bit sad they are no longer on at 3.30 🙁

  • Reply
    Ash Mack
    June 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    What a magical giveaway. Thanks so much. x

  • Reply
    Sarah Shelley
    June 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    My 1 and 3 year old boys love to dance, so hopefully they have dancing. My 3 year old is in awe of magical themed childrens video’s and shows. He would lovvvvvvvvvvvvve these.

  • Reply
    Lucie C
    June 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for the lovely giveaway :):):)

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    My daughter, Alexis, loves Magic Tales it’s on of the very few programs we watch in our house so I know she’d love to have the DVD’s.
    Gr8 interview too:)

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Finally a show that is supported by educational psychology and evidence! This show is sure to encourage children to develop higher order thinking and achieve better metacognition.. Well done!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Love it <3

  • Reply
    Melanie Graham
    June 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I have to admit my 4 kids and I have never heard or seen Magical Tales. Wow! Where have we been? It looks amazing and something that my 3 year old and 18 month old would love to watch. Thank you Beafunmum and Magical Tales for this awesome Give Away.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    My daughter’s favourite show! Her favourite one ever features the dragon in it.

  • Reply
    Nicole Grant
    June 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I have my fingers crossed for this one 🙂 Fantastic post as usual!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I would love to win this – part of being a fun mum is making sure there is some magic in your children’s day, every day! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Buchanan
    June 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I haven’t seen this show – is it on commercial tv? I don’t like my kids watching the ads, so they only watch abc kids, it stops all the asking for merchandise!!! But it Magical Tales certainly looks colourful and interesting! Maybe I’ll have to change my policy 🙂

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Love this series 🙂

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    This giveaway is awesome! I’ll keep my fingers crossed 🙂

  • Reply
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    October 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

    […] Magical Tales Interview […]

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