7 Funny Fractured Fairy Tales with Tons of Heart!

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Dorktales Storytime Podcast Playlist

Dorktales Storytime is a podcast where feelings and important life lessons are learned through whimsical and wacky retellings of favorite fairy tales. These 7 episodes will get to the heart of your child’s social and emotional wellbeing, and will lead to great conversations around the dinner table:

  • Ready, Set, Slow! – The inner strength and confidence to know patience and persistence lead to success

Find Episodes on Your Favorite Podcast App

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5 George Washington Carver Facts to Spark a Child’s Curiosity!

George Washington Carver was an American agricultural scientist, botanist, and inventor. You most likely heard about him in school, but not the entire story of his life. He was enslaved from birth, became free only to experience the struggles caused by segregation. But Mr. Carver accomplished so many extraordinary things despite being born into a world that afforded him few opportunities.

We share his story on one of our Hidden Heroes of History episodes on the Dorktales Storytime Podcast. The link to listen on your favorite podcast app is HERE, or you can listen via the player below. You can also download it to listen with your children or students later.

Content alert! The episode and content below include discussions about slavery and systemic racism. Go to this web page and scroll to the end for resources for taking about these topics with children.

But before you go, here are 5 facts about Mr. Carver that will spark children’s curiosities and interest to know more about this great American hero:

  • Mr. Carver was a kidnap victim of the night riders while still a baby. He was held for ransom with his mother and brother, James. Before they were rescued, his mother died. Moses Carver, a German farmer and owner of his mother and father, traded the infant Carver for a $300 race-horse to pay the ransom.
  • Cotton was the main crop in the South but it decimated the earth, making the land impossible to use after one season. He taught many farmers how to vary their crops and grow peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes – practices that would enrich the soil, create a source of food, and generate hundreds of byproducts. He was even able to reach white audiences with this important knowledge, speaking to individuals that may have otherwise unfairly discounted or discredited him based solely on his race.
  • Henry Ford, the innovator in the automobile industry, and the great inventor, Thomas Edison, both admired George Washington Carver. He collaborated with Henry Ford to successfully come up with an alternative to rubber during World War II. Thomas Edison offered Mr. Carver $100,000 to work for him but Mr. Carver turned him down (read the next fact and you’ll understand why).
  • George Washington Carver loved his work so much at the Tuskegee Institute he refused pay increases, so they were forced on him. He rarely cashed a check until the accounting department hounded him to cash them so they could balance the books.
  • George Washington Carver and Henry Ford not only shared an interest in agricultural chemurgy (the chemical and industrial use of organic raw materials), but they also shared some unusual ideas about diet. Once Mr. Carver and Mr. Ford shared a sandwich of “weed spread,” made with wild bergamot, narrow-leafed plantain, purslane, pigweed, milkweed, dandelion, lamb’s quarters and wild radish.
  • Mr. Carver had a sense of humor. When one of his students, hoping to play a trick on him, showed him a bug with the wings of a fly and the body of a mosquito, Mr. Carver was quick to label it “a humbug.”

Enjoy listening to the story of George Washington Carver, Hero of History:

Special Perk! Get a free printable activity guide for this episode when you subscribe to our mailing list. Click Here to sign up.

(Facts provided by a sensitivity reader from SensitivityReviews.com database who also reviewed the podcast episode script.)

Dorktales Storytime Podcast icon

What are Hidden Heroes of History?

Our special “Hidden Heroes” episodes are the stories of real-life hidden heroes in science, technology, engineering, arts, math and human rights. These are the people who made history in ways you’d never imagine.

Dorktales Storytime at San Mateo County Libraries

Collage featuring Jonathan Cormur performing Dorktales stories to children at Foster City Library

I love libraries! As a kid, they were my sanctuary and a place where I could discover stories about dinosaurs (especially T-rex) and my favorite comics and graphic novels. I also enjoyed the great shows by storytellers, magicians, and musicians who filled my imagination with delight. This summer, I’ll be the storyteller performing at San Mateo County Libraries with Dragon Theatre. We’ll be featuring my original Dorktales followed by fun theater games and activities.

Our first stop was the Foster City Library (above) where parents and children enjoyed “The Three Little…Hogs?!” Afterwards, Alika U. Spencer-Koknar, Co-Artistic Director at Dragon, helped the audience make their own paper bag puppets.

Here’s the rest of my summer Dorktales performance schedule:

Hope to see you there!


National Bird Directed by Sonia Kennebeck

National Bird - Sonia Kennebeck

I had the privilege to do voice over for “National Bird,” a new documentary directed by Sonia Kennebeck. The film is getting its world premiere at the prestigious Berlinale 2016, International Film Festival.  It took 3 years to go from the idea and research to funding and finding answers, and finally to its world premiere.

National Bird Still - Sonia Kennebeck

National Bird follows three former US drone veterans:

Tortured by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption.

Sonia Kennebeck - National Bird Berlinale 2016 Premiere

For more details CLICK to watch a Berlinale panel discussion about the film. 

Images from Berlinale 2016

What’s in a Name?

Jonathan Murphy Name Change

2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year! I am proud to announce that I am a member of SAG-AFTRA and couldn’t be happier about being part of the combined Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists:

We are actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, dj’s, news writers, news directors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. Our work is seen and heard in theaters, on television and radio, sound recordings, the internet, games, mobile devices, home video: you see us and hear us on all media distribution platforms. We are the faces and the voices that entertain and inform America and the world.

I looking forward to adding my voice!

When you have two common names…Jonathan…Murphy, it stands to reason that there is someone already using that name professionally. Yes, there’s already a Jonathan Murphy, and he’s representing the name well and doing great work. So though I will always be Jonathan Murphy to friends and family, my new professional name is Jonathan Cormur. The last name is a mashup of part of my middle and last name so it has meaning and connection for me.

So like the rose, I hope that whatever you call me, I’ll be just as sweet. 😉



Experiencing Shakespeare by the Festival Theatre Ensemble


I’ve had a long term relationship with the Festival Theatre Ensemble, the company that performs Shakespeare under the stars each summer in two venues…Full Circle Farm and in Los Gatos. For five years, I had the privilege and great experience to act in two Shakespeare titled shows plus an additional classic title with this group. And now after a couple years absence, I returned to experience the season as an audience member.

Their repertoire normally consists of a comedy, a tragedy and one classic, non-Shakespeare titled play. Here’s what they are preforming this season:


Much Ado About Nothing

Easily one of Shakepeare’s more recognizable comedies, this was my favorite of the season and definitely the most accessible for newcomers to Shakespeare…All thanks to a very lively cast with great chemistry and some great comedic direction by Rachel Bakker. The show is set in a Napoleonic era, an interesting creative direction.




Julius Caesar

Tragedies are harder to do because they just aren’t as fun as the comedies and most people don’t like to go to shows to get depressed. However, Caesar is one to see due to its historical interest and political intrigue. Again the cast does an excellent job bringing out the ‘grey’ aspects of the characters who are neither good or evil, just trying to do what is best for the Roman Empire, their country. But what makes the show stand out the most was director, Bruce W. De Les Dernier’s visual and audio style. The music is well chosen, and he visually set the play in a Mad Men post WWII era, trading in the togas and wreaths for suits and ties.


Pirates of Port Royal

The Pirates of Port Royal is based on the Restoration comedy, “The Beaux Strategem” written by George Farquhar. The play is normally set in a small rural village and is about two con men, a dysfunctional wealthy family, a crooked innkeeper and his saucy daughter, and a bunch of rogue highway men. Director Bruce W. De Les Dernier adapted the script and changed it to pirates on an island off the coast of Jamaica. The first act is slow with lots of exposition and very little action. This has more to do with the restoration comedy style and not the direction. Act II picks up and delivers the fun pirate action, funny musical bits and an absolutely fantastic ending.

There are only a few weeks left to enjoy the outdoor Shakespeare experience…Festival Theatre Ensemble shows are always a great experience!

Images by Amy Goldsmith

Eh Buh Beh Eh Bob Bergen

I’ve learned so much about voice acting from Bob Bergen. His training and guidance have made a huge difference in my career. Here he’s talking about his job security!

Source: “I Know That Voice” documentary

Secret of the Songshell Audio Book

Secret of the Songshell on Amazon and Audible

I recorded my first audio book, Secret of the Songshellfor author Brian TashimaIt’s been released and is available on Amazon and Audible. This was quite a departure for me as most of my client work typically requires about an hour or two in the studio, but narrating a 300 + page book with many characters took about 20 sessions over three month period to record. I teamed up with Michael Meyer who did all of the editing and special effects for the Spectraland characters. It was a great challenge and I’m so happy that Brian loves the final outcome.

Jonathan did an amazing job narrating the audiobook version of Secret of the Songshell. He really brought the characters to life, and his interpretation of the descriptions and dialogue was spot-on. There were many instances where I couldn’t stop smiling as I listened back to the recordings! I would love to work with him again on future installments of the Spectraland Saga.



The Boiling Cauldron


MEET: The Boiling Cauldron

The witch’s kooky incantation…

Eye of blue
Tail of fish
Wing of bat
Mmmmm….tasty dish
Rubble, rubble by the double
Light it up
And watch it bubble!

Zombie Joke


If being part of the walking dead isn’t enough, Zombies are also really  suck at telling jokes.