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Kermit's Tales

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Kermit's Tales was the umbrella title for a series of animal stories which appeared in the 1989 Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories series and were later reprinted in Jim Henson's Muppet Stories in 1991. Despite the title, Kermit himself did not participate nor did he narrate, although in some Muppet Stories introductions he refers directly to the Tales stories and characters.

Instead, these original stories followed a wide range of forest wildlife, most of whom only appeared in a single story, but a few recurred. The characters and stories were created primarily by the same group who worked on other entries in the Bedtime Stories series, a mix of veteran or future Muppet/Sesame storybook authors and scriptwriters, notably Jim Lewis, Ellen Weiss, Michaela Muntean, and Barry Keating. Louise Gikow was the editorial director and penned one tale herself, "Lucy and the Firefly."

Despite the range of the writers, all stories were illustrated by John Gurney. Gurney's style is more painterly and lush, and the mammals and birds in particular lack the typical Muppet aesthetic, instead recalling vintage greeting card artwork. However, other characters, such as insects, are more Muppety, and the various frogs are nearly interchangeable with those seen cavorting with Robin in the Muppet universe stories.

Characters

  • Harriet is a goose that appears in the short story Helping Harriet Home. Her friend Carmen is afraid she'll be unable to find her way home after flying south for the winter, but Harriet explains that birds are able to find their way back home without a sign.
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider appears in the short story "Up the Waterspout". While walking to school with his sister Mitzi Spider, they hear the cries of Fred Fly. Climbing up the waterspout (despite warnings from his mother and his teacher Miss Cricket), Itsy frees Fred, but is immediately washed down the spout by a downpour of rain. Realizing that the Spiders are about to be washed away forever, Fred flies to wake up Solomon Sun, who comes out and dries up all the rain. When he returns home, Itsy writes a song about his experience, which we still sing today.
  • Bean Bunny (of no apparent relation to the Muppet character of the same name) is a young bunny who appears in the Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories short story, What Should We Play?. He, Chester Frog, and Hannah Toad are bored and thinking of things to do. Bean wants to play Pirates, being the captain of a ship, fighting enemies with swords. Chester points out they have no swords, and Hannah convinces them to go on a walk. While on the walk, Bean notices a pile of wood near a barn, and decides they are perfect for swords. Leaping the fence to grab a stick from the pile, Bean is confronted by a dog. While he friends urge him to run, Bean stands his ground and attacks the enemy with his sword, allowing Bean to safely jump the fence and carry on his way with his friends.

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