•  icon
  •  icon
  •  icon
  •  icon
  •  icon
  •  icon
Edel Wignell with Year 3, Rowville Primary School, at the launch of Long Live Us!, 8 March 2011.

Edel Wignell with Year 3, Rowville Primary School, at the launch of Long Live Us!, 8 March 2011.


Many of Edel Wignell's play scripts have been published in magazines, some have been compiled into collections and others are single scripts published in book form.

Try a script, The Mouse-deer and the Crocodile – a play for shared reading or readers' theatre, based on a folk tale of Java (Indonesia).


ISBN numbers indicate books in print.

The White Elephant

The White Elephant: Drama based on Asian Folk Tales (2009, Teaching Solutions) for ages 8-12 years.
ISBN 978 1 870 51688 4

A white elephant, a magic gem, trickery, time twists, fire and wind wrapped in paper, a beautiful bird, wishes granted... This collection contains seven plays based on folk tales from India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Papua/New Guinea.

It includes:

  • two plays for acting,
  • three plays for shared reading and
  • two radio plays

Choruses and shared reading ensure that everyone in the class can have a turn in every play.
Extensive Teachers' Notes accompany the plays.


See Teachers' Notes for Classroom Activities and an article, 'Adding Choruses to Play Scripts'.

Tricking the Tiger: Plays Based on Asian Folk Tales

Tricking the Tiger: Plays Based on Asian Folk Tales - eight photocopiable plays for ages 10-14 years. ISBN 9 781876 580322

A ghostly trickster, winning a princess, the exploits of a thief, brothers sharing an inheritance, a seductive portrait, and more. The folk tales are from Papua New Guinea, Korea, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia.


Also Tricking the Tiger: Teacher Resource Book ISBN 1 876580 38 0

(Click cover for larger image)

The Hobyahs and Other Plays from Around the World

The Hobyahs and Other Plays from Around the World (1995, Bushfire Press, translated into Chinese by Bookman Books, Taiwan) - five photocopiable plays for ages 8-10 years. ISBN 1 875191 48 8

Hobyahs, trolls, a mighty sparrow, a goat with seven eyes, a ghost wagon, and more. The collection includes a puppet play, a tall tale and a trickster tale for shared reading, a ghost play with songs, and a folk tale from the viewpoint of the 'baddies'. Choruses and shared reading provide turns for everyone.


Also see the Chinese book cover

(Click cover for larger image)


ISBN numbers indicate books in print.


Bendemolena, illustrated by Mini Goss, 'Voiceworks' series (2001, Pearson Education) in small and 'big book' formats, for ages 6-8 years. Small book: ISBN 0 7406 1810 5
Big Book: ISBN 0 7339 1760 7

Bendemolina was selected by Scholastic Canada for a French language edition of Voiceworks. The title is Bettina, and the series is En scene.

In this play script, based on an American tall tale, Bendemolena, the kitten, lives in a noisy house, so she takes a shiny pot and puts it on her head. Hooray - it's quiet!. But Mother asks her to run messages, and she muddles them up!


(Click cover for larger image)

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper, illustrated by Meng-Feng Wu, 'Story Steps' series (2000, Shortland-Mimosa, Australia; Kingscourt, UK) - for ages 6-8 years. ISBN 0 7901 2129 8

Grasshopper's friend, Ant, has fallen into a stream. Will Grasshopper be able to rescue him? How can a coconut help? This picture-story play script is based on a folk tale of Indonesia.


(Click cover for larger image)

The Tie Olympics

The Tie Olympics, illustrated by Robert Roennfeldt, 'Southern Cross' series (1987, Macmillan Australia) for ages 8-10 years.

The Foster family will soon be moving house. They decide to tidy up, give away and throw out everything they don't need. Mr Foster has a large collection of ties. The family have a Tie Olympics, with votes to decide which ones to keep and which to discard.

(Click cover for larger image)

A play for shared reading or readers' theatre
based on a folk tale of Java (Indonesia).
Edel Wignell
Australian Society of Authors Ltd ©
Ack. from Edel Wignell, The White Elephant: Drama Based on Asian Folk Tales (2009, Teaching Solutions, Melbourne).

Notes on shared reading or readers' theatre, below. See the book for detailed Teachers' Notes.

Download the PDF version (May be photocopied for classroom use only.)


  • CROCODILE FRIENDS (any number)

The whole class may be involved, either in storyteller choruses or in several shared reading groups.

STORYTELLER 1: A mouse-deer and a crocodile lived in the jungle.
STORYTELLER 2: The mouse-deer was looking for a new home. All day, he searched and searched.
MOUSE-DEER: (sighing) I’m so tired and thirsty.
STORYTELLER 3: The mouse-deer drank at the river, then carelessly splashed the water with his front feet.
STORYTELLER 4: Silently, a large crocodile drifted up.
STORYTELLER 1: It lunged forward and grabbed one of the mouse-deer’s feet.
CROCODILE: Ha, ha, mouse-deer! I haven’t eaten for days, and I’m starving.
STORYTELLER 2: Thinking of a plan to free himself, the mouse-deer stared at the crocodile.
CROCODILE: You will be a delicious meal.
STORYTELLER 3: The mouse-deer was terrified, but he didn’t show it. Already he had planned his escape.
MOUSE-DEER: If you’re going to eat me, you’d better catch me first.
CROCODILE: What do you mean? I’ve already got your foot in my mouth, haven’t I?
STORYTELLER 4: The pain in the mouse-deer's foot was intense, but he didn't show it.
MOUSE-DEER: You are even more stupid than I thought, Crocodile.
CROCODILE: Why is that?
MOUSE-DEER: You don't know the difference between my foot and the root of a tree, so I’ll run along home now. Goodbye!
STORYTELLER 1: Believing the mouse-deer, the crocodile let go and tried to grab his head.
STORYTELLER 2: But the mouse deer was too fast. He leapt back. The crocodile’s jaws snapped shut - empty.
STORYTELLER 3: The mouse-deer scampered off into the jungle.
CROCODILE: (shouting) We’ll meet again, and you’ll be sorry!
STORYTELLER 4: The crocodile swam away to his friends, and told them what had happened.
CROC. FRIEND: How dare he make a fool of a crocodile!
CROC. FRIEND: We ought to teach him a lesson!
CROC. FRIEND: If anyone sees him, tell the rest of us.
CROC. FRIEND: We'll lie in wait for him.v
CROC. FRIEND: He might be smart enough to trick one, but he can’t trick us all.
CROCODILES: Agreed, agreed! Ha, ha, ha!
STORYTELLER 1: The mouse-deer was happy, for he had found a new home.
MOUSE-DEER: I'll enjoy myself, and keep away from the crocodile.
STORYTELLER 2: Then came the dry season. The sun shone brightly and no rain fell.
STORYTELLER 3: The river began to dry up. The crocodiles retreated downstream where there was more water.
STORYTELLER 4: One hot day, the drowsy mouse-deer was looking for somewhere to sleep. He reached the river, which was dry.
MOUSE-DEER: Here's a good place - a rock in the middle of the dry river bed.
STORYTELLER 1: So he curled up on it and fell fast asleep.
STORYTELLER 2: Meanwhile, up-river there was a tremendous storm.
STORYTELLER 3: Water began to trickle downstream. Soon it became a torrent.
STORYTELLER 4: The mouse-deer slept on, unaware of danger.
CROCODILE: Let's go upstream again.
CROC. FRIENDS: Agreed. Everyone upstream!
STORYTELLER 1: The crocodiles reached the rock where the mouse-deer slept. They saw him, and couldn't believe their luck.
CROCODILE: Hey! Look here! The mouse-deer.
CROC. FRIENDS: Let's surround the rock.
STORYTELLER 2: Slowly the mouse-deer opened one eye, expecting to see a stretch of dry sand.
STORYTELLER 3: Instead, he saw a swiftly flowing river and a dozen crocodiles with greedy eyes and grinning jaws.
STORYTELLER 4: He jumped up and almost fell off the rock.
STORYTELLER 1: The crocodiles opened their mouths wider and surged closer.
MOUSE-DEER: (to himself) Oh dear! What will I do? I'll be drowned or I'll be eaten by crocodiles.
STORYTELLER 2: Quickly the mouse-deer thought of a plan.
CROCODILE: Ha, ha! I told you we'd meet again.
CROC. FRIEND: Let's see you try to get away this time.
CROC. FRIEND: You're completely surrounded.
MOUSE-DEER: I won't try to escape. Ever since I tricked you I've been sorry I hurt your feelings.
MOUSE-DEER: I came here today to give myself up to you. But why do you have so many friends with you?
CROCODILE: They're here, little mouse-deer, to help me eat you up.
MOUSE-DEER: What a shame! I wanted to give myself to you alone.
CROCODILE: Why is that?
MOUSE-DEER: I don't want them fighting and tearing over me. Send them away.
CROCODILE: That's impossible. They've been waiting for you for a long time. Besides, you tricked me last time. You won't trick all of us together.
MOUSE-DEER: Since there are so many of you, I see a problem.
CROCODILE: What's that?
MOUSE-DEER: How can you share me properly among your friends? If some get more than others, there'll be fights.
CROCODILE: I hadn't thought of that.
MOUSE-DEER: Do you have a set of scales?
MOUSE-DEER: Then what will you do?
CROCODILE: You're supposed to be clever. What would you do in my place?
STORYTELLER 3: The mouse-deer was delighted, for his plan was working perfectly...
STORYTELLER 4: ... but he was careful to hide his joy.
MOUSE-DEER: (shouting) You've all heard our conversation. Do you agree it would be fairer for me to do the sharing?
CROCODILES: (bellowing) Yes!
MOUSE-DEER: Good! Move side by side, starting here and stretching to the river bank. I'll count you and make sure you get equal shares.
STORYTELLER 1: Hungrily, the stupid crocodiles obeyed.
MOUSE-DEER: Now, I'll jump from crocodile to crocodile. As I land on each one, I'll tell him what part of me will be his share. When I've finished, you may eat me, but not before.
STORYTELLER 2: The mouse-deer leapt on to the first crocodile.
MOUSE-DEER: Your share is the left half of my head.
STORYTELLER 3: The mouse-deer leapt on to the second crocodile.
MOUSE-DEER: Your share is the right half of my head.
STORYTELLER 4: The mouse-deer leapt on to the third crocodile.
MOUSE-DEER: You may have my neck.
STORYTELLER 1: The mouse-deer leapt on to the fourth crocodile.
MOUSE-DEER: You may have my right front leg.
STORYTELLER 2: In this way, the mouse-deer continued along the line.
STORYTELLER 3: As he spoke, the crocodiles licked their lips, waiting for their share.
STORYTELLER 4: At last, the mouse-deer came to the end of the line.
CROCODILE: And what is my share?
MOUSE-DEER: My tail, if you can catch it.
STORYTELLERS: The crafty mouse-deer leapt off, laughed and dashed into the jungle.


Shared reading or readers' theatre
This form of drama provides an opportunity to enjoy sharing without props or sound effects. The readers sit on chairs facing the audience and look up from time to time as they read. The action of the story is in the imaginations of the listeners. The whole class may participate, with large choruses, everyone sitting in a circle. In this play, each Storyteller can be a chorus.