The Tiptoes Lightly Tale
The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly, for the most part, arose out of my lessons in kindergarten and the younger grades. The wonderful expressiveness of eurythmy, an art of movement and gesture using speech and music as its basis, lends itself to vivid nature- and spirit-filled stories. The stories were accompanied by live music which wove in and out of the spoken word and living gesture. Eventually they begged to be put down on paper. The first adventure, The Bee who Lost his Buzz, was quickly followed by six others, and soon thereafter one of my colleagues read them throughout the year to her first grade children with great success.
The initial three adventures are found in The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly. Then came The Festival of Stones which is centered around the autumn and winter festivals and their accompanying nature moods. The third book, Big-Stamp Two-Toes the Barefoot Giant, takes place in springtime. During the summer of 2006 I wrote and illustrated The Magic Knot, and, after a break from writing (i.e., swamped by work) I finally had the chance to illustrate The Lost Lagoon, a tale that had been simmering on the stove for a long time. Since then more tales keep turning up - despite my thinking that each book must be the last.
Although Tiptoes was ‘born’ at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, New Hampshire, the setting is, rather loosely, in Northern California. This is where, following my brief stint in the East, I taught for five years at the Camellia Waldorf School in Sacramento. When I imagine Tiptoes and her friends they are sitting in the branches of the Great Oak Tree outside my eurythmy room in Sacramento, rowing down the Sacramento River to the Pacific shores, or sailing upstream to the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains just visible in the distance. The little children often asked me as I passed by their playground “Where’s Tiptoes today?” - or informed me, with the utmost seriousness, that they had seen her sitting in the flower garden, or that Pine Cone and Pepper Pot had definitely been spotted near the swings. And what wonderful smiles I got when they discovered that Pins and Needles slept in a pin cushion (where else?) and that you could so easily pass them by because they looked just like all the other pins and needles when they were asleep. These characters took on a life of their own and, quite literally, populated the school. I received many, many drawings of Tiptoes and crew, given to me for my birthday, for Christmas, or ‘just because’.
Finally I come to a delicate point, for adults, at least: Tiptoes is real! Without her these stories could not have been written, or even imagined. Hopefully some of her magic has rubbed off on you and your children, and made the world a better place.