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March 28, 2016

10 Fairy Tales With a Twist

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

     

    Being a teacher means that every year is different! Actually every day — sometimes every minute — is different. However, where I struggle sometimes is teaching the same content with the same books year after year. Fairy tales fall into that area. I really struggle sometimes because, by nature of the plots, they are usually so girl-focused. And then there is the fact that so many of the kids have heard the stories over and over. My solution? Use these 10 twisted titles that will hook the boys so that the curricular content doesn't get overlooked and allow them to make text-to-text connects with the stories they already love.

     

     

    The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs Cover

    The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

    This is a classic as far as I’m concerned. Teachers across grade levels use the Jon Scieszka version to teach point of view and it’s no wonder. Reading the wolf's version of this age-old story, this is one of the first books that I became aware of that took a familiar plot and flipped the script on it completely.

     

     

     

     

    Odd Princess Cover

    There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Lee Calderon

    Much in the same way that Lucille Colandro has made the "There Was an Old Lady" rhyme so fresh and new for each of the holidays, I love that Jennifer Ward wrote a version that works with my fairy tale week. Your class will gasp as you read through all the fairy tale items that this little purple-haired princess digests. Be prepared to stop along the way because your students will love this story so much that they may struggle to keep all the text-to-text connections they are making to themselves!

     

    Great Fairy Tale Disaster

    The Great Fairy Tale Disaster With the Best-Loved Fairy Tales by David Conway, illustrated by Melanie Williamson

    Possibly because of the success of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, this twisted tale allows the big bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs to take center stage as the narrator of several fairy tales. That was a big mistake because the wolf messes up lots of stories in this crazy compilation of fairy tale chaos. Kids love to predict what story he is going to disrupt next.

     

     

    Sleeping Cinderella Cover

    Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

    This book is real keeper. It takes the old idiom, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” and turns it on its side. Princesses DO get bored (just like I do reading the same books year after year without adding some new titles into the mix). This book also carries the great message that everyone fits in and that nobody can take your place. We all know that humans aren’t interchangeable and, as it turns out, princesses aren’t either.

     

     

     

    Little Red Hot Cover

    Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

    I’ve got to be honest here. I don’t eat anything with heat. Mild salsa is sometimes a bit too much for me! This book made my eyes water reading the ingredients of Little Red’s Hot Pepper Pie. This pie is so hot that “she didn’t have to turn the oven on. That pie…baked itself.” The other part of this book that I love is that Little Red takes care of the wolf by herself and doesn’t need the woodsman (in this book that part is played by Pecos Bill).

     

     

     

     

    Little Red's Riding 'Hood Cover

    Little Red’s Riding ‘Hood by Peter Stein, illustrated by Chris Gall

    This is on my list of "Top 10 Books of 2015." Clever doesn’t even begin to describe how creative this book is because the main characters are vehicular in nature. Little Red is a scooter and the wolf is portrayed by a monster truck/tank vehicle. It’s a great version that is sure to pull your boys into this unit.

     

     

     

    The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma Cover

    The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox

    This is another one that I love so much it made my "Top 12 books of 2014" list and is another great twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Cat and Dog will have your students laughing out loud and begging you to read it again. I love reading this book with another teacher, assistant, or volunteer parent because the back and forth between Dog and Cat really comes alive when read with a partner and this strategy will help you explain the idea of dialogue to your class.

     

     

     

    Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears Cover

    Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton, illustrated by Nate Wragg

    If bears could really talk, I hope that they sound like Mama Bear from this book. Any book that has a character walking in on a disastrous mess in their house and crying “Egads!” is the perfect kind of bear for me! This twist on the Goldilocks tale has the bear family a rock band and "Goldi Rocks" breaks their music equipment! The rhyming works beautifully and isn’t forced. It’s a great new way to tell an old tale.

     

     

     

    Rubia and the Three Osos

    Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

    Want to teach how to use context clues to figure out what an unknown word means? This is your book! Salted with Spanish words and phrases such as “There once were three osos who lived by themselves. They stored their three plates for soup on the shelves.,” this rhyming book is chock-full of opportunities for your class to discover what a word means using the words around it and the pictures.

     

     

     

    The Princess and the Pony

    The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

    This is the book to start with. Boys will roll their eyes when you say you are going to read about princess and her pony but they will fall in love with Princess Pinecone when they find out she is a warrior and they will laugh out loud at the gas-passing pony with its eyes that look in different directions. This book is one of my favorites because of the lively imagination on display with every turn of the page.

     

     

    Do you have a favorite twisted fairy tale that I missed?  Please share it in the comments below.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

     

    Being a teacher means that every year is different! Actually every day — sometimes every minute — is different. However, where I struggle sometimes is teaching the same content with the same books year after year. Fairy tales fall into that area. I really struggle sometimes because, by nature of the plots, they are usually so girl-focused. And then there is the fact that so many of the kids have heard the stories over and over. My solution? Use these 10 twisted titles that will hook the boys so that the curricular content doesn't get overlooked and allow them to make text-to-text connects with the stories they already love.

     

     

    The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs Cover

    The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

    This is a classic as far as I’m concerned. Teachers across grade levels use the Jon Scieszka version to teach point of view and it’s no wonder. Reading the wolf's version of this age-old story, this is one of the first books that I became aware of that took a familiar plot and flipped the script on it completely.

     

     

     

     

    Odd Princess Cover

    There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Lee Calderon

    Much in the same way that Lucille Colandro has made the "There Was an Old Lady" rhyme so fresh and new for each of the holidays, I love that Jennifer Ward wrote a version that works with my fairy tale week. Your class will gasp as you read through all the fairy tale items that this little purple-haired princess digests. Be prepared to stop along the way because your students will love this story so much that they may struggle to keep all the text-to-text connections they are making to themselves!

     

    Great Fairy Tale Disaster

    The Great Fairy Tale Disaster With the Best-Loved Fairy Tales by David Conway, illustrated by Melanie Williamson

    Possibly because of the success of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, this twisted tale allows the big bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs to take center stage as the narrator of several fairy tales. That was a big mistake because the wolf messes up lots of stories in this crazy compilation of fairy tale chaos. Kids love to predict what story he is going to disrupt next.

     

     

    Sleeping Cinderella Cover

    Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

    This book is real keeper. It takes the old idiom, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” and turns it on its side. Princesses DO get bored (just like I do reading the same books year after year without adding some new titles into the mix). This book also carries the great message that everyone fits in and that nobody can take your place. We all know that humans aren’t interchangeable and, as it turns out, princesses aren’t either.

     

     

     

    Little Red Hot Cover

    Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

    I’ve got to be honest here. I don’t eat anything with heat. Mild salsa is sometimes a bit too much for me! This book made my eyes water reading the ingredients of Little Red’s Hot Pepper Pie. This pie is so hot that “she didn’t have to turn the oven on. That pie…baked itself.” The other part of this book that I love is that Little Red takes care of the wolf by herself and doesn’t need the woodsman (in this book that part is played by Pecos Bill).

     

     

     

     

    Little Red's Riding 'Hood Cover

    Little Red’s Riding ‘Hood by Peter Stein, illustrated by Chris Gall

    This is on my list of "Top 10 Books of 2015." Clever doesn’t even begin to describe how creative this book is because the main characters are vehicular in nature. Little Red is a scooter and the wolf is portrayed by a monster truck/tank vehicle. It’s a great version that is sure to pull your boys into this unit.

     

     

     

    The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma Cover

    The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox

    This is another one that I love so much it made my "Top 12 books of 2014" list and is another great twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Cat and Dog will have your students laughing out loud and begging you to read it again. I love reading this book with another teacher, assistant, or volunteer parent because the back and forth between Dog and Cat really comes alive when read with a partner and this strategy will help you explain the idea of dialogue to your class.

     

     

     

    Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears Cover

    Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton, illustrated by Nate Wragg

    If bears could really talk, I hope that they sound like Mama Bear from this book. Any book that has a character walking in on a disastrous mess in their house and crying “Egads!” is the perfect kind of bear for me! This twist on the Goldilocks tale has the bear family a rock band and "Goldi Rocks" breaks their music equipment! The rhyming works beautifully and isn’t forced. It’s a great new way to tell an old tale.

     

     

     

    Rubia and the Three Osos

    Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

    Want to teach how to use context clues to figure out what an unknown word means? This is your book! Salted with Spanish words and phrases such as “There once were three osos who lived by themselves. They stored their three plates for soup on the shelves.,” this rhyming book is chock-full of opportunities for your class to discover what a word means using the words around it and the pictures.

     

     

     

    The Princess and the Pony

    The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

    This is the book to start with. Boys will roll their eyes when you say you are going to read about princess and her pony but they will fall in love with Princess Pinecone when they find out she is a warrior and they will laugh out loud at the gas-passing pony with its eyes that look in different directions. This book is one of my favorites because of the lively imagination on display with every turn of the page.

     

     

    Do you have a favorite twisted fairy tale that I missed?  Please share it in the comments below.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

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