Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

I decided to focus on books I have read and loved: 5 of my favourite picture books and 5 of my favourite MG/YA novels. I love fairytales and stories with nuances of fairytale elements. But, I am very particular. It is a pleasure to share what I consider to be some of the very best in this list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Picture Books:

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

Hilarious. Kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers. Little Red Riding Hood like you have never before heard it.

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and GrandmaTop Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Pig written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

This lovely little read manages to link to many classic fairy tales while telling a great original story and poking fun at just about everything! A pig and a princess switch places and the happy ending is not what you might predict.

Princess and the Pig Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Me and You by Anthony Browne

Browne tells simultaneous stories, letting us into the world of Goldilocks while at the same time we revisit the familiar story about the bears.  On the left, sepia images of the little girl, out on an errand with Mom and then suddenly, lost. Her story is wordless, told just through the images. On the right, we follow little bear and his Mummy and Daddy as they head out for a walk and then return home to find a stranger in their home. A version of the Goldilocks story that we are very familiar with. This story blurs the absolutes of fairy tale right and wrong and introduces a lovely element of empathy.

 Me and You Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

Certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew! A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

 The Three Ninja Pigs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey

This book is told from the perspective of the pea! A pea, who plays quite an active role in the outcome of this tale . . .

 mini Grey Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Novels:

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know. Loved reading this aloud to my class. Why is this book so special? The children loved the whole idea that this was the “back story” of a well known tale. They felt they were in on some secrets! And what characters! We were rooting for Rump. We loved Red and the Trolls and Nothing, the donkey! We all agreed that the King and the Miller were terrible. The pixies fascinated us. Children begged and pleaded for me to read this book at every possible free minute of out day.

 Rump Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli 

The story of the Frog Prince but told from the perspective of the pond and the frogs. The prince is now a frog and must adjust to pond life and to talking like a frog. It is more difficult than it seems. Certain sounds aren’t possible thus, The Frog Prince is De Fawg Pin. Learn a lot about frogs. And their life cycle. Meet Jade, Pin’s mate. Despise the hag. Root for the froglets! Read this aloud to a group of children and prepare for spit out your milk laughter. Chortles. Giggles. Guffawing. The first in a trilogy.

 The Prince and the Pond Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Breadcrumbs written by Anne Ursu

Inspired by the classic story The Snow Queen with all kinds of modern everything. Yet magical fantasy that feels utterly timeless. Read this to my children who loved the mix between fairy tale and real life and all of the references to stories and books they knew. Beautiful as a read aloud – the words just come off the page, swirl around and we are immersed in the book.

Breadcrumbs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I became quickly hooked on all things Shannon Hale after reading this book and went on to read the complete Books of Bayern series. Fast paced. Lots of magic. Fantastic characters. The perfect book to get lost in.

 The Goose Girl

Cinder written by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, I was surprised by how addictive this story was for me. I thought it would be a light read but I was drawn in to the drama and intrigue despite suspecting some of the secrets unveiled late in the novel quite early on. Futuristic, fantasy/sci-fi with fairy tale elements and high drama.

 Cinder

What are your favourite fairytale retellings? 

Monday July 13th 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer and I am not surrounded every day with little readers, what can I do? Choose favourite, not yet shared moments of course! Here is one of my avid readers sharing her love for author Robert Munsch. She told me.

“I love Robert Munsch. And I love cookies. Who doesn’t love Robert Munsch? And cookies?”

Good question. 🙂

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

Busy, busy with book lists! In case you are interested:

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Fascination with Nests and Eggs

I dis some amazing picture book reading this week! Some of my favourites:

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Gorgeous. Wordless. Two children dive deep and meet under a bunch of swimmers and floaters in a busy pool. What do they find there? A fantastical world. I had to purchase this one. I love the colours, the negative space, the whimsy.

Pool Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Book written by David Miles and illustrated by Natalie Hoopes 

A book about the magic of books. Celebrating all things @booklove Yes, please.

Book Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

This is truly brilliant. A dark, usually known world, is busy and alive when it is explored at night. Slowly, morning happens. And wow, does it happen beautifully. All about the magic of light.

The Night World Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

I Yam a Donkey by Cece Bell

Super silly. Can’t wait to read this aloud!

I yam a Donkey Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

In the Village by the Sea written by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu

A Vietnamese family. A small house.A cricket. A certain kind of magic. I recommend experiencing this title.There is so much to it I want to reread it again and again and then share it with children. Simple but yet complex.

In a Village by the Sea Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep by Barney Saltzberg

Wow these illustrations. For panda lovers, this is adorable.

Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

What If . . . ? by Anthony Browne

Worries about attending a birthday party. A big imagination. Full of fantasy and emotion.

What If . . . Anthony Browne Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Day the Crayons Came Home written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I was lucky to get a sneak peek at an advanced reader copy of this title at my local book store. Hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. I laughed out loud multiple times. Mark down August 18th on your calendar and rush out and buy this book from your favourite local book store!

thedaythecrayonscamehome Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner

Sweet story by Catherine Rayner. How I love her illustrations.

Bear who Shared Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

I Will Take a Nap by Mo Willems

An over tired Gerald really needs a nap. As always, so funny.

elephant and piggie I will Take a Nap Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

And I finished two novels.

The Paper Cowboy written by Kristin Levine

Levine is such a story teller. This title is a challenging read. Our main character Tommy struggles with his own actions and his mother’s unpredictable rage. Guilt, fear, anxiety, pride – so many feelings. So many themes in this historical fiction title: bullying, friendship, family dynamics, community, sibling relationships . . .

The Paper Cowboy Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Lost in the Sun written by Lisa Graff

What a concept for a book. What is life after you accidentally kill someone? (freak accident) Now there is a big question! Somehow, this title answers it. A book about a young boy lost. Dealing with family. Making friends. Being really angry. Moving on. And how much do I love the character of Fallon Little?

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 242/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 48/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am about to begin The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

Monday May 13th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee in their weekly meme and share all of your reading from picture books to young adult reads! Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles by exploring all of the bloggers who link their Monday reads posts 🙂

I read many picture books this week but forced myself to narrow it down to my favourite ten to share here. In no particular order . . .

Big Wolf & Little Wolf written by Nadine Brun-Cosme and illustrated by Olivier Tallec I have been waiting years to experience this book. I have seen it celebrated on blogs and book lists but had yet to lay my hands on it. I bought it finally, never having read it because I just knew that this book was meant for me. I was not disappointed. In fact I was just in awe. The colours in many of these pages are so beautiful. I love the blue ground under the tree at night, the red red of the tree bark in the full light of day and the fiery leaves of autumn. Friendship. Connection. Longing. So lovely!

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Ard Hoyt This book has pretty much everything anyone could want – a real individuality, great energy, a definite sense of humour and absolutely fantastic hair. Hair that is so much more than gorgeous! Love that this book so cleverly celebrates the creative spirit of a little girl and her determination to be herself.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne I am not sure that Anthony Browne can make a book that I will not adore. This book is certainly NOT that book. Because . . . wow! A simple counting book with the most wonderful of primates. The colours? Whoa . . .  And each number is so much more because it is attached to a jaw dropping illustration of a group of primates. 6 gibbons. Sigh. 8 macaques. Wit and wisdom. 10 lemurs. Pure joy.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

The Boys, an almost wordless book by Jeff Newman Okay, book, where have you been while I’ve been happily amassing amazing wordless titles? First published in 2010 but my pretty finely tuned wordless radar missed it! A lovely little story of finding a way to belong. With some pretty fantastic persuasion delivered by the cool old guys who hang out on the park bench. So absolutely delightful!

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

The Little Yellow Leaf written and illustrated by Carin Berger This book magically captures the colours of fall. Those golden changing colours that seem to be pure magic against bleak autumn skies. But this book also tells a story of perseverance, anxiety around change and finding the way with the little help from someone else. I could just flip through the pages over and over and marvel at the illustrations. Gorgeous.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

Azad’s Camel by Erika Pal A story infused with magic about child camel jockeys in the Middle East. Lots of room to infer. Pictures are stunning. Would be great to use in a unit on children’s rights – to discuss child labour, etc More information about camel racing at the back of the book. Definitely a book that needs an adult to help navigate the theme and the story.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

Courage of the Blue Boy by Robert Neubecker My class just completed some amazing art inspired by Neubecker’s Wow! City! So I was very pleased to find this little book in our school library. Travelling through various one coloured pages and on a green sea, the reader follows our little blue hero as he experiences and questions diversity, identity and belonging.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

Goldilocks and Just the One Bear written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson Fractured Fairy tales are either very clever or very not! This is a fun little twist on the classic Goldilocks story with whimsical, endearing illustrations. Much fun to be had in exploring this book. My son couldn’t stop giggling when the bear sat on the cat and claimed that the “chair” was too noisy. Silly humour with big appeal.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

Wolf Won’t Bite by Emily Gravett So what happens when we fully bury ourselves in trust with a wolf? Well . . . read on 🙂

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

Again by Emily Gravett A unique example of impatience gone wrong involving bedtime stories, eager listeners and tired parent readers. And little dragon impatience is pretty powerful! If you don’t believe me . . . check out the back of this book! I must admit, “Again!” is my favourite response when I read a picture book! 🙂

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

In other reading . . .

I finished Endangered by Eliot Schrefer but I am not so sure it is finished with me. This book won’t leave my head. It was that powerful. Endangered is about many things. But mostly – love. It tangled itself around me just like those precious hugs between Sophie and Otto, the little bonobo who needs her desperately. An unthinkable story of survival and connection. Unforgettable. I often recommend books that I love. Sometimes quite adamantly. This book though . . . I will go as far as to insist it is a must read.

There's a Book for That: It's Monday! What are you reading?

What’s next/on the go? 

A Tangle of Knots

scumble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am currently flying through A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. Our new family read aloud is Scumble by Ingrid Law.  

Many magical connections ironically between Scumble and Graff’s novel and as they both sit on my bedside table, I have noticed that they are completely colour coordinated! Don’t you agree?

With my student book club, we have started The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. Such an ideal book to share with a book club!

Developing visual literacy skills

The CLoud SPinner

What is visual literacy?

As defined by WikipediaVisual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image, extending the meaning of literacy, which commonly signifies interpretation of a written or printed text . Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.

So how do we go about teaching students to use observation to notice the details and nuances in illustrated stories? As we learn how to ask questions and to infer to deepen our understanding of stories, I also want my students take time, slow down and really focus on their observation skills with the illustrations in picture books.

What do we see when we look closely at an illustration vs. quickly flipping the page? I remind students that these books are picture books for a reason – the story is told through a partnership between author and illustrator. Both pictures and words are important – together they make the story whole.

Wordless books are great to practice these visual literacy skills with but I wanted to have students use these strategies with picture books with text. The trick? Cover the text! So armed with sticky notes, and some fantastic picture books, we began to practice paying close attention to the illustrations and asking questions, inferring and predicting based on what we noticed.

Note: What is described below is what took place over a series of lessons with my Grade 2 reading group

We started with two picture books that I shared with my reading group and I charted our observations and questions as we discussed what we saw. Then the students went through the same process working with a partner and writing their own questions/predictions/inferences. It is always so interesting to go back and read the text to see how close our predictions were and which questions got answered.

The first picture book we practiced with was The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay. This book has so much going on in the pictures – we could have spent half the class just on the cover. Students wondered about the birds flying in all different directions. They wondered whether the boy was making clouds from his loom or making fabric/material from the clouds themselves. We noticed a castle in the background, birds flying in multiple directions, things looking one way but actually not what they initially seemed (for example the faces on the hillsides that are just objects temporarily grouped a specific way). Students had many questions and each wrote a prediction about the story before we sat down to read the book with both text and illustrations. Many of the children commented that we might have missed some details in the illustrations that were clues had we just read the text.

Next we used Gorilla by Anthony Browne. This title is the perfect book to use when Gorilla Anthoney Brownhaving students practice their ability to infer – even more powerful when we explored just the pictures.

With this story, each student had their own notepads to list their questions as we explored the pictures and we stopped frequently to discuss what we thought might be happening with this story.

For those who don’t know this classic Anthony Browne tale, a quick summary: In this story, Hannah wants to see a real live gorilla at the zoo but her busy father never has time to take her there. He gives her a toy gorilla on the night before her birthday. Hannah is upset and disappointed. But in the middle of the night, Hannah and her “toy” gorilla have an amazing adventure.

Some of the students questions included:

  • Does Hannah have a Mom?
  • Did her Mom die?
  • Does Hannah’s Dad have a job? Is he worried because he doesn’t have one?
  • If he does have a job, does he work too much?
  • Does her Dad never have time for her?
  • Is the gorilla lonely too?
  • Does the gorilla love Hannah?
  • Does the gorilla have magic?
  • Will the Dad freak out if he finds out Hannah is gone all night?
  • Will the gorilla save all of the apes and monkeys at the zoo?
  • Why does the gorilla seem sad?
  • Is this just all a dream?
  • Is it just in Hannah’s imagination?
  • Why are they out dancing in the middle of the night?
  • Did the Dad and Gorilla change places?

At the end, even when we read the story, we realized that the author does not tell us what is actually real. “Well,” one clever child observed, “if the author doesn’t tell us, we can choose. That’s the magic of books.” Again, students felt that we got so much more from the story by focussing first on the details in the pictures, asking questions and talking about what might be happening. Students loved listening to the story after this to see how close their idea of the story was to what actually happened.

Now we were ready to begin to go through this process with more independence! Working in partners, the students chose a picture book, markers, chart paper and scrap paper to cover the text and got to work exploring just the pictures and noting down their questions. These students used the book Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski and illustrated by Lee Harper.

IMG_6284

Questions started out quite simple, but as the children began to have a sense of the story, they started asking more complex questions. the questions below are about the book Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester.

IMG_6286

The story A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham inspired a lot of questions! There was so much in the details of what was happening inside and outside of this bus. The students who used this book read it two times through after exploring the illustrations.

IMG_6297

I was impressed by how focussed the students were. All of them were engaged with their books, their partner and the discussions that they were having.

IMG_6299

Snippets of conversations I heard as I circulated:

  • “Quick! Cover the text!”
  • “We have so many questions I can’t believe it.”
  • “We know so much!”
  • “We’re sure predicting so much stuff.”
  • “Look really closely. You will notice more.”
  • “I think I see better when I don’t get distracted by the words.”
  • “I think this makes us smarter.”

Really . . . what more do you want to hear during a lesson?

As I share picture books in whole class lessons, I have noticed that students who are in my reading group are raising their hands to share details they notice in illustrations. This keen attention to detail has become contagious and the whole class has been paying more attention to pictures. We have to stop frequently to share with those around us what we notice and what we predict! I love all of the talking this has inspired!

Fairy tales, Anthony Browne style

Recently I read our class Into the Forest by award winning author/illustrator Anthony Browne.

into the forest

A boy is awakened by a terrible sound and so some upsetting days begin. Dad is missing from the breakfast table, Grandma is sick and he must take a cake to her. “Don’t go into the forest,” his mother warns. But anxious not to miss his father’s return, the boy decides to take a shortcut through the forest and his strange adventures begin. We certainly connected to the anxiety and suspense along the way to Grandmother’s house. The students expressed feeling worried. Someone said that his tummy felt weird. There was a lot of gasping and held breath. Such suspense. As we came across oddly familiar fairy tale characters, students were eager to shout out their connections. “That must be Goldilocks!”, “That’s not that candy one where the witch takes them is it? It is?!” One student described the feeling the book gave her as a “tingling in your brain” because it seemed like we knew the story but we kept worrying about what might happen. Finally, all is well. Our happy ending finds Dad and a recovered Grandma and boy and father return home to Mom.

Watching the students connect, predict and infer, I was reminded about how important it is to develop rich story schema with our students. They need to know their fairy tales, fables, favourite rhymes and be exposed to literature from a variety of genres. When they bring this rich experience to “new to them” books, they are able to interact with the book on a much deeper level as they pick up on nuances, allusions and references to other stories. As parents and teachers, we must read, read read and then read some more!

A few days later, I found another (new to me) Anthony Browne book at the public library – also giving a new twist to a well known fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Me and You does an amazing job of telling simultaneous stories, letting us into the world of Goldilocks while at the same time we revisit the familiar story about the bears.

As we flip through this book, we find two stories. On the left, sepia images of the little girl, out on an errand with Mom and then suddenly, lost.

Her story is wordless, told just through the images. Lost. Afraid. Alone. Finding a cozy home, a snack, a warm bed. Being discovered and racing away. Walking through rain, empty streets and then finally, into the arms of a searching Mom.

On the right, we follow little bear and his Mummy and Daddy as they head out for a walk and then return home to find a stranger in their home. A version of the Goldilocks story that we are very familiar with. Full of comforting colours. Lots of happy yellow, soothing blues, calm greens. I love the last line of the book. Little bear looks out of his window, thinking about the girl. “I wonder what happened to her.” This story definitely blurs the absolutes of fairy tale right and wrong and introduces a lovely element of empathy.

I am a big, big fan of Anthony Browne!