Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Modern Retellings of Fairytales

When my son was a toddler, I questioned whether he'd ever become familiar with the fairly tales I grew up with.

I didn't hear them being taught in his preschool, and the books I used as a teacher were packed away.

But that didn't last very long because fairy tales are referenced everywhere. In television shows, movies, and books.

Of course, nowadays, more PC versions are available, and that doesn't surprise me. Because let's face it- there's lots of meanies, death, despair, and wolves in fairy tales.

So recently, I went to my teacher box and pulled out the books I loved. The books that take traditional fairy tales and mashes them up.

Jon Scieszka books.

In this book, the Big Bad Wolf (who asks to be called Al) recounts his version of what really happened in the story of The Three Little Pigs.
I admit it's for kids six years and older. My little guy was amused and said the wolf must be lying!



If geese had graves, Mother Goose would be rolling in hers.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales retells--and wreaks havoc on--the allegories we all thought we knew by heart. In these irreverent variations on well-known themes, the ugly duckling grows up to be an ugly duck, and the princess who kisses the frog wins only a mouthful of amphibian slime.

And last (but not least), is Scieszka's SQUIDS WILL BE SQUIDS.

In this one, Jon makes up his own fables, and they are HYSTERICAL.
My son's favorite:

SKUNK, MUSK OX AND CABBAGE were sitting on the porch at Skunk's house.
Slowly but surely, the porch filled with a terrible smell.
"Whoa!" said Skunk. "Is that you, Musk Ox?"
Musk Ox shook his shaggy head.
"No way, Skunk. That's Cabbage."
"UH uh," Said Cabbage. "That's not me."
Musk Ox and Cabbage looked back at Skunk, who suddenly became very interested in tying his shoe.


So here's to you, Jon Scieszka! Keep bringing it!



Unknown said...

Love these!!! OH and The Stinky Cheese Man... oh the memories!!!

Kirthi said...

Ohmygosh, he was one of my favourite childhood authors! In third grade, we did a project on The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. I had no idea that Jon wrote it, though!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh. These look so familiar. Does he have a frog prince one?

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Awesome!! I have the first two. The other day, I was thumbing through the books we have in the house. I had forgotten just how many picture books we have...and most are hardcover. I've been working on four picture books and looking for references. Hello...Duh. They were right in my own house. Hah....

Stefanie Wass said...

Jon Scieszka is speaking at the upcoming SCBWI LA conference.
Wish I could go!

Andrea Mack said...

Great, fun stories! For me, these kinds of books are the reason why it IS important to read and teach kids the basic fairytale stories, so they can appreciate twisted versions or references to them in movies, TV, games, etc.

Maddy said...

Never heard of these, but they sound like a lot of fun :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I love stuff like this, sounds hilarious!

Stina said...

I love retellings of fairytales.

S&S has a line of YA novels that I was sucked into at one point. They were a twist on the original versions, so you didn't know what to expect. Brilliant.

LisaDay said...

There is a good lesson there. Too funny.


Laura S. said...

I've read the three little pigs one (fantastic!) but not the other two. I'll have to check them out!

Lourie said...

I am bad. Never heard of any of these. But that last one...BHAHAHA. What would I do without you???

Angie said...

Yep. He's great. So funny.

Little Ms J said...

I loved The True Story... So cute. I read to a classroom a few years ago and there was another take. I think it is called The Three Little Havelina. Pretty cute too.

Liz Mays said...

I just love him, but I don't have the Squid one yet. I have the other two and they've been read over and over and over.

Sherrie Petersen said...

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs is one of my favorite fractured fairy tales. He's a funny guy :)

Lindsay said...

I've never read any of these. Now I'll have to rectify that. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I've enjoyed Jon Scieszka's twists on fairytales too. And you're right, fairytales are referenced everywhere.

SharleneT said...

I'm not familiar with this author but he sounds much like Saki, who wrote children's stories that children loved because they dealt with the bad guys in a great way. Come visit when you can.

P.S. How's the big coming along?

Donea Lee said...

Definitely need to re-acquaint myself with these stories. I love mashed up fairytales!