Written by: Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Published by: Viking, the Penguin Group, 1998, fiction
Themes: Fables, morals addressing homework, curfews and television commercials, humor. Friends and friendship, folk tales and myths, comedy, songs and lyrics.
Age Written for: everyone especially kindergarten through grade six
What the jacket says: Admit it. You know you’d just love to tell stories about all the annoying, weird, pain-in-the-neck people you know. But you wouldn’t want to be a gossip. Well here’s how it’s done. Make like Aesop (and legions of storytellers before him): change the people to animals and add a moral. Now your stories aren’t rude gossip and bad jokes. They’re fables! Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith twisted fairy tales in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Now they’ve unlocked the ancient secret of animal tales, and the world of fables may never be the same. The moral of the story? If you can’t say something nice about someone, change the guy’s name to Donkey or Squid.
Why I love it: Jon Scieszka’s humor and Lane Smith’s art, why else? When I found out that Jon Scieszka is the founder of a literacy initiative for boys (guysread.com), which is getting kids to read, I took all of his books out of the library and also because I am in love with him. Yes, I admit it, I have a crush on Jon Scieszka. I can’t get enough of him. Last week I highlighted a book for reluctant readers and I do it again this week. This book is perfect for reluctant readers and boys in particular, just like last week’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Boys and reluctant readers of all kinds will find the humor in these books aimed directly at them. The way this book and last weeks book poke fun at traditional fables and fairy tales are ways all boys can identify with. “And the morals of these stories aren’t bits of wisdom; instead, they are nonsensical modern messages, including: “Just because you have a lot of stuff, don’t think you’re so special,” “Don’t play with matches,” and “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Resources: Teacher Guides: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/mff/fractured_fairy_squids.htm this has drop down tabs with pre reading and post reading activities, explanations of fables and fairy tales and is one of many terrific sites for teacher guides.
For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. And if you’d like to be whisked away through cyber space to the resource page and the list of more marvelous recommended perfect picture books just click on the perfect picture book badge on the right.