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Circle Round

Circle Round

Created and produced by parents of young children, WBUR's Circle Round adapts carefully-selected folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10. Each 10- to 20-minute episode explores important issues like kindness, persistence and generosity. And each episode ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups.


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The Search For Rain feat. Amory Sivertson

Have you ever teamed up with other people to get something done? 

We?re all keeping our distance from other people, to help everyone stay healthy and safe.

But just because we?re keeping a physical distance, it doesn?t mean we have to be separated. Even if we?re not in the same room, or the same building, we can still find ways to join up with others, and accomplish things that we can?t do on our own! 

In the story we?re about to hear, we?ll meet some people who really need to work together. But first? they need to get their act together!

Our story is called ?The Search For Rain.? It?s inspired by a tale from Argentina, the second-largest country in South America.

Voices in this episode include Doug Lockwood, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, Gamalia Pharms, Delores King Williams, and Amory Sivertson. Amory is the co-host of Endless Thread, a podcast from WBUR and Reddit that brings stories from the Internet to life -- from mysteries, to histories, to stories about our shared humanity. 

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Circle Round?s executive producer, Katherine Brewer. Circle Round?s original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.

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Circle Round Presents: 'Mystery Recipe'

Here at Circle Round, we?re hard at work, putting together brand new episodes for you. But since everyone?s routines are changing and we're all staying home more, we?re giving you a special treat today: an episode of another podcast you might enjoy, "Mystery Recipe," from America's Test Kitchen Kids. 

?Mystery Recipe? is jam-packed with fascinating trivia, cool science, fun characters, and of course? food. 

Listen to find out!

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Encore: 'The King And The Cobbler'

Things are pretty different from what we?re all used to, aren?t they? You might be spending much more time at home, and finding new ways to pass the time each day? while staying safe and healthy and entertained.

When things get challenging, there are all sorts of ways we can get through. And one of those ways is right there inside your head:

Your imagination!

This week, we?re bringing you a Circle Round episode that?s all about using your imagination -- your creativity -- in the face of difficulties and obstacles. It?s one of our favorite stories from season two, and whether it?s your first time hearing it or your tenth, we hope you enjoy it.

This episode's story is called ?The King and the Cobbler.? It was inspired by a folktale with origins in a number of places... from Germany and Italy, to Greece and Finland, to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Voices on this episode include: MaConnia Chesser, Evan Casey, Keith David and James Naughton.

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The Elephant?s Tub feat. Analeigh Tipton and Stephen Tobolowsky

Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid Love; Why Women Kill) and Stephen Tobolowsky (One Day at a Time, The Tobolowsky Files) co-star in this Burmese tale about a king who dreams of finding an elusive white elephant.

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Song of the Horse feat. David Archuleta and Sherry Cola

Pop singer David Archuleta (American Idol) and stand-up comic Sherry Cola (Good Trouble) headline this Mongolian story about the origins of the country's national instrument: the horsehead fiddle.

Voices in this episode include Doug Lockwood, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, Kimberly Schraf, David Archuleta and Sherry Cola. Grown-ups, look for stand-up comedian Sherry Cola on the Freeform network drama, Good Trouble. Singer-songwriter and American Idol star David Archuleta kicks off his Ok, All Right Tour on March 30th, 2020; it will run throughout the US into May.

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Granny?s Leather Bag feat. Orla Brady

Orla Brady (Star Trek: Picard, Into the Badlands) stars in this Irish tale about three wise animals, two very different sisters, and one bag of silver coins.

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The Mountain Spring feat. Kelli O?Hara & Greg Naughton

Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara (The King and I; Kiss Me, Kate) stars opposite real-life husband, director/musician Greg Naughton (The Independents, The Sweet Remains), in this Korean and Japanese tale about eternal love, kindness and youth.

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Encore: 'The Lute Player'

This Russian and European folktale stars real-life husband and wife Paul Sparks (House of Cards, Sweetbitter) and Annie Parisse (Friends From College) as a king who's taken prisoner, and a queen whose musical prowess sets him free.

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The Rooster in the Sky feat. Rachel Matthews

In this adventure story with roots in Russia, Hungary and the Middle East, a magical rooster rewards Rachel Matthews (Frozen 2) for her fearless persistence and precious friendship.

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The True Mother feat. Alex Landi

In this Japanese tale, Alex Landi (Grey's Anatomy, Insatiable) plays a wise judge who finds an ingenious way to determine the real mother of a bouncing baby boy.

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The Beggar and the Baker?s Daughter feat. Margaret Cho

Comedian Margaret Cho (The Margaret Cho, Fresh Off The Bloat) headlines this English tale about a greedy woman who bites off more than she can chew.

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The Very Busy Fairies feat. Parker Bates

In this zany Celtic tale, when fairies come to help Parker Bates (This Is Us) with his chores, he discovers they're far more trouble than they're worth.

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The Dozen Loaves of Bread feat. Avery Trufelman

Podcast luminary Avery Trufelman (99% Invisible, Articles of Interest) stars as a generous baker touched by magic in this scrumptious Jewish tale.

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The Nine Sticks feat. Nikesh Patel and Maulik Pancholy

Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Grand Horizons) and Nikesh Patel (Four Weddings and a Funeral) headline this Indian story that asks what's more precious: glittering jewels, or good friends?

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Encore: The Months Of The Year

What would it be like to experience the months of the year--out of order? Joshua Rush ("Andi Mack") and Ailsa Chang (NPR) co-star in this story which has its origins in Russia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

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Encore: Three Wishes

Patrick Fabian ("Better Call Saul") and Mandy Fabian ("Dropping The Soap") star in a story about a husband and wife whose generosity leads them to an unexpected challenge.

Download a coloring page for this episode here:

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The Gloomy Pine Tree feat. Mykal-Michelle Harris

Mykal-Michelle Harris (Mixed-ish) stars as a discontented sapling in this classic "grass is always greener" tale from Germany.

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Nilsa And The Troll feat. Raegan Revord

In this story with roots in Denmark, Raegan Revord (Young Sheldon) plays a generous young woman who proves that small gestures of kindness can make a big difference.

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The Banker?s Riddles feat. Jeannie Mai

Jeannie Mai (Listen Hunnay, The Real) headlines this Chinese and Vietnamese tale about a wise, witty woman who gives a greedy, riddle-loving banker a run for his money.

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Encore: 'Fiona And The Fairies'

Selenis Leyva ("Orange is the New Black," "Maniacs") stars as a clever baker in this retelling of a Scottish folktale about the power of a little "please" and "thank you."

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The Enchanted Paintbrush feat. Phillipa Soo

Phillipa Soo (Hamilton, The Code) and Stacy Keach (Man With a Plan, American Greed) headline this Chinese tale about a kind, humble artist whose paintings come to life.

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Sir Luck and Mister Riches feat. Michael Ian Black and David Wain

Comedian/kids' author Michael Ian Black (I'm Worried, Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop) and actor/director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Stella) star in this supernatural story from Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic.

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The Fire On The Other Side Of The World feat. Yeardley Smith

In this Cherokee story, Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons) plays a feisty, creative spider who proves that power and strength aren't always about physical size.

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The Chattering Clams feat. Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz

Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz ? hosts of NPR?s "Wow! in the World" podcast ? star in this whimsical Native American tale about the dangers of gossip.

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The King's Face feat. Derrick Baskin and Brandon Uranowitz

Broadway stars Derrick Baskin ("Ain't Too Proud ? The Life and Times of The Temptations," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee") and Brandon Uranowitz ("An American in Paris," "Burn This") play a curious king and clever farmer in this tale with roots in Russia, Italy, India, Greece, Africa and Iran.

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Encore: 'Maushop And Grandfather Sun'

Wes Studi, who later this month will become the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar, stars as the Wampanoag mythical figure 'Maushop,' a kind, gentle giant who tries to convince the sun to come back home.

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The Rusty Cowbell featuring Lake Bell

Lake Bell (The Secret Life of Pets, Bless This Mess) stars as a struggling farmer who gives a selfish landlord a run for his money in this folktale from Russia, Germany, Indonesia and the Netherlands.

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One Speckled Hen feat. André de Shields

Tony Award winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Full Monty) stars in this Jewish tale that tests the old adage: "finders keepers, losers weepers."

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The Great Acorn Robbery feat. Katy Mixon and Diedrich Bader

Katy Mixon (American Housewife, Minions) and Diedrich Bader (American Housewife, Veep) headline this Seneca tale about an industrious squirrel and the sneaky critters who pilfer her prized acorns.

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Rabbit's Wish feat. Ryan Michelle Bathé

In this story with roots in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, Ryan Michelle Bathé (This Is Us, First Wives Club) plays a clever Rabbit who discovers that power and strength aren't just about physical size.

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Curious Boots feat. Colin Hanks

This Norwegian adventure tale stars Colin Hanks (Life in Pieces, Jumanji 2) as a precocious little brother whose curiosity earns him a royally big reward.

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Circle Round Presents: 'Tai Asks Why'

In this episode from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "Tai Asks Why" features 12-year-old Tai Poole, who asks: What are animals saying to each other?

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Encore: 'What Am I Hearing?'

Ever wonder what instrument you're hearing during your favorite 'Circle Round' story? We're revisiting a very special episode featuring the music and mind of Eric Shimelonis, resident sound designer and composer.

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Encore: 'The Unwelcome Guest'

This week, we're bringing back a listener favorite. Richard Kind ("Inside Out") stars in this Middle Eastern folktale about a clever man who teaches his village a thing or two about the dangers of judging a book by its cover.

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Circle Round Presents: 'Wow in the World'

In this special episode from our friends at NPR's "Wow in the World," hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explore canine communication.

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Encore: 'Armadillo?s Song' | feat. Gad Elmaleh

French comedian Gad Elmaleh stars in this episode about one little armadillo who doesn't let anyone discourage him from following his dreams. This lively Bolivian folktale tells the origin story of the "charango," a small Andean stringed instrument.

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Encore: 'The Hat, The Horn, And The Purse' | feat. Bobby Moynihan

In this encore, we revisit an Italian folktale starring Bobby Moynihan ("Duck Tales," "SNL") about a father who gives seemingly simple gifts to his three sons. But there is more to these family heirlooms than meets the eye.

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The Magic Bowl featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra

Part three of our special summer pop-up series -- recorded live with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra -- comes from Ghana and the West Indies, and explores the dangers of greed.

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Practice Makes Progress featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra

Part two of our special summer pop-up series -- recorded live with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra -- is a tale from the Antilles about an aspiring musician and a giant adventure.

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Kangaroo And Joey Too featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra

Part one of our special summer pop-up series, recorded live with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, this Aboriginal story from Australia imagines how the kangaroo got her indispensable pouch.

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Listeners' Favorite: 'The Piper And The Pooka'

This episode was chosen by you, the fans! Thanks for the submissions! In this Irish folktale, Damian McGinty ("Glee," "Celtic Thunder") stars as a musician with a serious case of butterflies.

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Circle Round Spotlight: Babayan And The Magic Star

Yo-Yo Ma narrates the story of a monster named Babayan, and how he changed in ways he never thought possible.

To learn more, visit our website at,

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Circle Round Presents: 'Tumble'

A special episode from our friends at the podcast Tumble, a science podcast for kids.

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Circle Round Presents 'Two Princes'

This week, we?re bringing you an extra-special episode from our friends at the new Gimlet podcast ?Two Princes".

Follow Prince Rupert as he sets out to break the mysterious curse that?s been looming over his kingdom (literally) his whole life. He?s ready to face whatever dastardly villain or vile monster stands in his way. What he isn?t prepared for is meeting the handsome Amir, a rival prince on a quest to save his own realm.

We?re excited to share the first episode with you here. You can listen to all episodes "Two Princes" right now for free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Circle Round Presents: Kids Listen Summer Sampler

We've teamed up with some of the best kids podcasts out there to bring you the Kids Listen Summer Sampler!

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Grandfather Stone feat. Diane Rehm, Jonathan Joss

Jonathan Joss (Comanche Moon, Parks and Recreation) and NPR?s Diane Rehm (The Diane Rehm Show, On My Mind) star in this Seneca tale about a mystical stone who introduces the first stories to the world.

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Lazy Jack and the Leprechaun feat. A.J. Buckley, Euan Morton

A.J. Buckley (SEAL Team) and Euan Morton (Hamilton) headline this Irish tale about a lazy fellow who wants to get rich quick, and the conniving leprechaun who has a big trick up his tiny sleeve.

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Encore: 'The Skylark'

Miriam Shor ("Younger," "The Americans,") stars in this Portuguese folktale about a feathered creature who gives a young, impatient man a lesson he'll never forget.

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Circle Round Presents 'Brains On'

A special episode from our friends at Brains On.

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'The Three-Legged Pot' featuring Aparna Nancherla

Comedian Aparna Nancherla (The Standups, Corporate) stars as a rambunctious, Robin Hood-esque cooking vessel in this Danish and Middle Eastern story about generosity and greed.

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