The Principal's New Clothes
Author: Stephanie Calmenson
Comedy and Humor, Fables, Folk Tales and Myths
Favorite author Stephanie Calmenson offers fairy-tale fans a school-savvy update on Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes." Mr. Bundy, principal of P.S. 88, is the sharpest dresser in town, with so many clothes that he can go a whole month and not wear the same suit twice. So when con artists Moe and Ivy tell him they have a fashion deal he can't refuse, Mr. Bundy has to listen. Mr. Bundy knows something is wrong, but since he's been told the fabric of this special suit is invisible to anyone stupid or unfit for his or her job, he doesn't want to admit he can't see anything at all. Sure enough, it's not long before he ends up addressing a school assembly in his underwear — every principal's nightmare, to be sure.
Calmenson's keen sense of kid-level humor is well-matched by Brunkus's cartoon-like watercolor illustrations, in which the bad guys look bad, the principal looks pompous, children come out ahead, and eclectic dressing is the rule of the day. Read this version aloud in class, or use it as a model for a folktale-updating writing exercise.