“And that is the very end of the adventure of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.”
My reading goal for this year is fifty books. Last week I finished up reading my seventeenth book of the year. Here’s to book eighteen!
Some of the books I have read have not been my favourite.
(But, being a completionist I have finished every book that I have started, I don’t like to give up on a book. I like to think that books have feelings. Maybe it is because I grew up with Pixar’s Toy Story series, I never want to mess with a seemingly inanimate object’s emotions. If I have selected a book off the shelf, that is a commitment. One of a book’s purposes is to be read, and to not finish it, that poor book may feel as if it isn’t good enough. Yes, this is really how I think!)
And some of the books I have read this year have been wonderful. I love opening up a book and being hooked from page one! I really do believe that anyone who says they do not like reading, has simply not found the right book. There’s something about a good novel that pulls in the reader. It is as if the book cover is a door and opening it allows the reader to be immersed in the inky world that fills the pages. This phenomenon is another reason why I believe that Cornelia Funke’s book, Inkheart is so wonderful!
-Check out Tips from a Book Doctor for more information about this biblio masterpiece.-
The last book that I completed was Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I always thought the idea of a twisted fairytale was really neat, but never got around to reading this book until recently. I saw the musical when it was in Chicago back in 2007 and I loved it. The concept that there is always more than one side to a story really intrigues me, especially when it comes from such well known stories such as The Wizard of Oz.
This month my preschoolers are learning all about different fairytales and we are going to be reading different adaptations of classic stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. Once we read through some more traditional versions of the tales, we will be diving into more unique forms. Some fairytale books with a twist that I recommend for children are Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezska.
Mo Willems, well known for the Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus collection and Elephant and Piggie books, recreates the familiar story about Goldilocks by swapping the three bears with three very devious dinos! Instead of the dinos being unaware of how common it is for little girls with golden hair to simply wander into a house to eat them out of porridge, or in this book’s case, chocolate pudding, the scheming scaly beasts hope to trap the nummy naive nuisance just in time for dinner. This is a book filled with humour that is wacky enough to please readers of all ages!
“The first bowl of chocolate pudding was too hot, but Goldilocks ate it all anyway because, hey, it’s chocolate pudding, right?” [Mo Willems]
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezska gives the Big Bad Wolf the floor in this hoodwinked-styled page turner. Alexander T. Wolf explains that the whole story has been blown out of proportion, and he was only visiting those pigs’ houses to borrow a cup of sugar in order to bake a cake. Now, just because he happened to have a bad case of a huffing and puffing cold, does not mean that he intentionally ruined the pigs’ fine establishments, does it? Similar to Mo Willems’ retelling, this story is one that can be enjoyed by all!
“It’s not my fault that wolves eat cute little animals like bunnies, sheep and pigs. That’s just the way we are. If cheeseburgers were cute, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad too!” [Jon Sciezska]
One great activity to do with books such as these is to set up a compare and contrast discussion with your children. First, start by reading the more original version of the story then move on to a more twisted version. And let the discussions begin!
“Tell me some parts of this story that are the same as the other.”
“What are some things that are different about this story?”
“Which one do you like more and why?”
This is a great way for children to have an in depth conversation about books while also building those compare and contrast critical thinking skills! And for older children, you can use these questions as journal prompts to write about! My older preschoolers and my kindergarteners really enjoy writing down their ideas and incorporating personalized illustrations to go along with each page!
Twisted fairytales can really refresh a recognized story, causing it to feel new again.
Try thinking of it this way:
The Pevensies entered into Narnia through the wardrobe and went on many adventures. But at the end, they returned to their world and that way to Narnia was closed. But that doesn’t mean that there are not others ways into Narnia. Those who have read C.S. Lewis’ series will recall that these characters as well as others do return to Narnia by other means.
This is how I feel about retellings and twisted fairytales. There are other ways into Narnia. There are alternate routes into a fictional fantasy! And as a teacher and a reader, I believe that we should offer children as many doors as possible into the stories that they love!
What are your favourite twisted fairytales for either adults or children? I’d love some more recommendations! Leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, please enjoy this Cornelia Funke quote from Inkheart:
“When you open a book it’s like going to the theater: first you see the curtain then it is pulled aside and the show begins.”
Your Storybook Entrance Seeker,