The Rocky and Bulwinkle show and Jon Scieszka (The Frog Prince Continued -a retelling of The Frog Prince, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs - a retelling of The Three Little Pigs, and The Stinky Cheese Man - a retelling of The Gingerbread Man) immediately come to mind when I think of fractured fairy tales, although there are so many other incredible choices. This post lists some great fractured fairy tale suggestions for home/school reading for kids of all ages and I hope you leave your own favorites in the comments.
Aside from being powerful tools of entertainment, fractured fairy tales lend themselves to fabulous teaching as they present competing perspectives with other existing works, often add cultural perspectives, and provide an avenue for critical comparison and evaluation.
Fractured fairy tales are potent learning tools because:
- they are motivating, inspiring and stimulating (both strong and reluctant) readers and writers to create their own fractured tales;
- familiarity with a tale makes it easier to read because readers can anticipate words and plots, and are familiar with the characters making them easier to understand;
- writing and reading these tales involve creativity in having to take something familiar and 'twist' and 'tweak' it;
- in order to successfully fracture a tale, the writer/story-teller must not only be familiar with the original tale, but must also understand character development, plot, story structure and have a facility with language;
- when kids create their own fractured tales they have an existing (familiar) template they can easily work with, allowing students to change and tweak select points of their choice;
- these tales neatly meet the new Core Curriculum Standards as
- Fractured fairy tales require readers to read closely as they compare and contrast key ideas and details of the various story versions.
- Fractured fairy tales require readers to understand the craft and structure of the tales. When asking students to write their own tales, they must first understand the basic story and its underlying structure before successfully creating their own.
- Fractured fairy tales require readers and writers to integrate their own ideas with the ideas presented in the original version to create a cohesive 'fracture' of the tale
- Fractured fairy tales allows students to play within a range of reading and level of text complexity
- Fractured fairy tales can serve as a wonderful vehicle integrating language arts, history, and science in creative, interactive multi-modal medium.
Here are some fractured fairy tale suggested readings for readers of all ages:
The Three Little Pigs
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka - Picture book for all ages- this is the classic story from the Wolf's perspective...and it all started with a sneeze!
- The Three Little Wolves and the Bid Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury - Picture book (Picture book - Grades 1-5)
- The Three Pigs by David Wiesner. Caldecott Medal Book. (Picture book - Grades 2-5)
- BB Wolf and the Three LPs as told by JD Arnold with illustrations by Richard Koslowski (graphic novel, Grades 10+) provides plenty of twists to this story for teens and older. In this tale, the wolf is a Southern farmer by day (living in Money, Mississippi, 1920) and blues musician at night until the PPP try to buy wrangle his family farm. While built on the story of the Three Little Pigs, this is an excellent allegory that touches on the Delta Blues, the Klu-Klux-Klan, the Jim Crow laws of the South, and the powerful effect of segregation and discrimination. This is also an excellent lesson of how history is written by the more powerful or victorious.
- Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China by Ai-Ling Louie (Picture book Grades 2-6).
- Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying! The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother (Other Side of the Story) by Trish Sue Speed Shaskan and Gerald Guerlais. (Picture book grades K-3)
- Prince Cinders by Babette Cole (Picture book Grades 3-6)
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Chapter book -TEENS) Cinder is the best machanic in New Beijing - a girl with serious know-how and guts...and she's a cyborg who takes charge of her life and invests in her own rescue and save the prince.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - Ella is cursed with 'obedience' and must do all that her step mother and stepsisters command. She too takes matters into her own hands, however, as she tries to free herself of the curse and live happily ever after with her prince. (Newbery Honor Chapter book Grades 4+)
- Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale retold by Lynn Roberts, illustrated by David Roberts. (Picture book - Grades 2-6)
- Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora - the Rapunzel story told in a lush African setting. (Picture book - Grades K-5)
- Rapunzel by Jessica Kaye - chapter book; story with a twist (Grades 4-8)
- Tangled - Disney - while a popular Disney movie, you can also find this in book format.
- Red Riding Hood (retold by James Marshall) - Picture book (Grades K-3)
- Little Red Riding Hood. Into the Forest Again by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger. (Chapter book with some illustrations - Grades 3-6)
- Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten: The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf (The Other Side of the Story) by Trisha Speed Shaskan. (Picture book for all ages)
- Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young. Caldecott Medal winner. (Picture book Grades 2-6)
- Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolan (Picture book Gr. 2+) is a wonderful twist about a beautiful but horrible princess named Miserella, a young woman of the woods named Plain Jane, and an infuriated fairy who turns all their lives upside-down.
- Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (Chapter book Gr. 6+) is a brilliant retelling of Sleeping Beauty. This is a serious story about 'Becca who must research her Grandmother's dying wish and unravel the scary version of Sleeping Beauty her grandmother told her as a child. In her search, Becca unravels the horrors of the Holocaust. I have used this in language arts and history classes.
- Below is a YouTube presentation of "Leaping Beauty" a fractured fairy tale featured in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. What is so particularly awesome (aside from the ridiculous number of puns and word play) is how language usage has changed since this first aired in 1960's, and there are so many ways teachers and parents can 'depart from the text' to talk about language usage and how it changes over time. For example, you might discuss the use of "gay," "broom out of here," and "bore" versus "boar." There is also wonderful use of alliteration (for example"from my magic medium come ennui and tedium..") and the use of rhyme to entertain:
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel - Grades 5+) incorporates the retelling of one of the oldest Chinese Fables, the Monkey King, with two other stories - one about Wang, the only Chinese American in his school and the other about his cousin Chin-Kee the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype who comes to visit him. This book brilliantly weaves American and Chinese cultural issues and is a great 'coming of age' story and is all about cultural heritage. It is an Eisner Award winer, Michael L. Printz Award Winner, and National Book Award Nominee. Here is a super glimpse into the book and its background:
- New Fangled Fairy Tales: Classic Stories with a Funny Twist tales by a collection of authors, edited by Bruce Lansky. In this collection the reader will meet King Midas (a workacholic banker who'd rather tend to his money than attend his son's Little League baseball games); The Three Bears (who invade Goldy's home because theirs is being stripped as a new superhighway replaces it); Little Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood, Jill and the Beanstalk, The Prince and the Pea, The Real Story of Sleeping Beauty, The Obsolete Dragon, The Frog Princess, Goldy Locks, and Rudy and the Prince. (Grades 4+)
- Legally Corrrect Fairy Tales: Bedtime Classics Translated into the Legalese by David Fisher. This book contains Jack "Doe" and Jill "Doe" v. Imperial Bucket Corporation; Tailor v. Emperor Motion for Summary Judgement; Kingdom v. Hansel and Gretel; and Petition for Guardianship and Other Legal Relief in the Matter of Beauty, Sleeping; Re Snow White, Inc.; USA v. Wolf Deposition of Mr. Wolf; Humpty Dumpty v. King, King's Hospital, All of King's Horses, All of King's Men; Petitioners: Jack, George, Peter, Maria, et.al, v. Estate of Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe; Oak V. Gepetto; Kingdom v. Prince Charming; Beauty v. Beast; Little Red Riding Hood v. Regal Pictures, Inc.; Frog Prince v. Wicked Witch, and Kingdon v. Goldilocks. These stories are in legalese and are an excellent source in comparing language and jargon. (Chapter book - Grades 10 +)
- The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey. This is the first of her "Elemental Masters" series and an awesome read as it blends alchemy andmagic to the Beauty and the Beast story. (Chapter book - Teens+)
- Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods
- Here is a list of the Fractured Fairy Tale episodes from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show - this is a complete list with no links
- Student Interactive Fractured Fairy Tale website from ReadWriteThink (appropriate for Grades 3-12)
- Fractured Fairy Tales and Fables with John Scieszka - sponsored by Scholastic
While this post was a blast to put together, I find myself somewhat frustrated as I can't possibly present all the wonderful fractured tales I've read. So please leave some of your personal favorites in the comments. Thanks for your visit - I hope to see you next week.