Guide students through a fairy-tale genre study. By immersing themselves in the genre, students will determine why people tell such magical tales!
Subject Area: Language Arts
Reading Level: 3.0
About the Books
Kate is the clever and confident heroine in Kate and the Beanstalk, a lively retelling of the classic fairy tale, "Jack and the Beanstalk." Upon climbing the beanstalk, Kate meets a disguised fairy queen who tells her the fearsome giant stole a knight's castle long ago.
In The Frog Principal, Marty Q. Marvel the magician accidentally turns Mr. Bundy into a frog and the students of P.S. 88 don't know what to do! It's not always easy having a slimy, green-skinned amphibian for a principal. Even worse, Mr. Bundy has started playing leapfrog, swimming in the kindergarten sink, and eating students' fly collections. Will he ever be his old self again?
Students will gain a deeper understanding of the fairy tale genre by reading fractured versions of familiar tales.
Standard: Students will compare and contrast the fractured tales to the originals.
In order for students to fully appreciate the fractured nature of these fairy tales, they must be familiar with the originals.
- Hold a class discussion about fairy tales.
- Ask students to name fairy tales with which they are familiar; record the titles.
- Talk about the oral history of the tales. Ask students what lessons or morals might be learned from each of the tales listed.
- Discuss the plots of "Jack and the Beanstalk," "The Frog Prince," or other familiar tales.
- Ask students to think about ways that these stories could be retold with a humorous bent. Explain that authors sometimes like to use these familiar tales with a new twist. Ask if they are familiar with any such retellings. Provide several examples for your classroom library.
- Write a class version of the tales using your students' suggestions.
Alike and Different
In order to retain ties to the original, a fractured tale must share some similarities with its originator.
- Now that your students are familiar with both the classic and its reworked offspring, they can compare and contrast.
- Have each student make a list of three ways in which each twisted tale is similar to its original telling and three ways in which it is different.
- Ask students to share their lists with the class.
Using what they've learned, have students create their own fractured tales.
- Have each student select a favorite fairy tale.
- Set aside a certain amount of class time and ask students to start twisting their tales! They will rewrite their chosen fairy tale, giving it unique twists.
- Have students invent new titles for their tales — using the original title as a guide.
- Post students' stories on a classroom bulletin board after reading them aloud (if time allows).
Other Fractured Fairy Tales
And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Everyone knows "Hey Diddle Diddle" and how the rhyme turns out, but what if the dish ran away with the spoon and just kept running? Can the cat, the fiddle, the little dog, and a whole host of fairy tale characters catch the cutlery before the next reading?
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
No fairy tale is safe from the twists and turns of this talented author and illustrator!
Dusty Locks and the Three Bears by Susan Lowell
What if, instead of residing in a forest, Goldilocks had lived in the Wild West? Meet Dusty Locks and the three bears — whose beans she samples, chairs she sits in, and cabin she dirties.