Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fairy Tale Question

Next week Buddy Boy's preschool teacher is doing a fairy tale theme. She asked the parents to send in a fairy tale book to share with the class. She is doing projects on glass slippers, frog kisses, porridge bowls and ugly ducklings. Buddy Boy said the story should have a princess in it. I am trying to think of a fairy tale with a protagonist that is a person of color. All I can come up with is Sam and the Tigers and Flossie and the Fox. I am not talking about folktales here, but fairy tales. Fairy Tales traditionally include magical creatures or an element of magic. I thought about The Black Snowman, The People Could Fly or Her Stories, but these are four year olds and I think those books would be a little hard to read aloud to this young group. We need something short, fast paced and with brilliant illustrations. What would you suggest?


Elaine Magliaro said...

There's no princess in Molly Bang's easy reader adaptation of WILEY AND THE HAIRY MAN--but there's magic. It doesn't have brilliant illustrations--but it is a great book to read aloud. There's Gail Haley's Caldecott Medal winner, A STORY, A STORY--but I guess that would not be considered a fairy tale.

There's Robert San Souci's CENDRILLON: A CARIBBEAN CINDERELLA and THE TALKING EGGS and John Steptoe's MUFARO'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS. These last three titles may be a bit too wordy, though.

Mary Lee said...


Plus, there are tons of Cinderella variants from cultures as diverse as Korea and Persia.

Good luck! If all else fails, write your own and illustrate it with photos of your boys. I'm thinking some kind of magic bean tale...

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Are you familiar with Katrin Tchana, the daughter of the late (sniff) Trina Schart Hyman? Her stories are a bit old for Buddy Boy, but I'd recommend keeping an eye on her books.

cloudscome said...

Thanks for these great suggestions! I am going to look for all of them to add to our collection. I went to the bookstore and asked the woman in the children's department. She happened to be African American, which was nice. She offered me A Story, A Story, Julius Lester's John Henry, and Jerdine Nolin's Thunder Rose. Not really fairy tales, but a good selection. I bought Thunder Rose because I really like it, even though it might be too old for my boys now.

Searching my bookshelves I found The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, The Five Chinese Brothers, Ma Lien and the Magic Paintbrush, Yep's City of Dragons, The Elves and The Shoemaker and a book called Favorite Tales of Monters and Trolls retold by George Jonsen. We'll read them over and I'll let him pick one. Maybe I'll go book shopping again, because I don't want to send in a library book. I also have some fairy tale collections but those larger volumes also seem harder for the teacher to read aloud from to the group.

Any more ideas?

Susan said...

Leola and the Honeybears, by Melodye Rosales--a re-working of The 3 Bears. My son loves this book.

Elaine Magliaro said...

For the youngest children--I like Paul Galdone's versions of fairy tales and folktales.

Jon Muth has retold and beautifully illustrated a version of STONE SOUP, which he set in China.

For a modern and humorous parody of RAPUNZEL, written in verse, you might enjoy FALLING FOR RAPUNZEL--written by Leah Wilcox and illustrated by Lydia Monks.
The prince keeps calling up to Rapunzel to throw down her hair--but she's too far away to hear him clearly. Excerpt.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, throw down your hair!"
She thought he said "Your underwear."
"No, Rapunzel. Your curly locks!"
Rapunzel threw down dirty socks.
My younger students really got a kick out of this book.

ibex67 said...

Have you seen the "Jump at the Sun" Fairy Tale books? I bought them through Amazon. Bright illustrations and all characters are AA. I bought REd Riding Hood and Cinderella for my daughter.

kim said...

Oh, I'm Loving that Rapunzel re-do. Must get it.

My ten year old, over my shoulder, has his own spin for the a new spin on Rapunzel's gaffe: "She was thinking homophonically [I have never used this word in my life], and she threw down a hare!"

Some people are ... out there. :)

Anyway...I've mentioned Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, and that might just qualify, as the pictures are stunning, the young boy darling, and the magic enacted with a simple feather.

When my niece was seven I made a huge eagle of construction paper, with edges tassled, and layers and layers of strips for feathers, topping it all of with colored glitter glue, and some type of spray adhesive. While I couldn't make it to the performance, other family members went and my cousin (a girl!) retold and moved to, the story, with the eagle in the backdrop. Her mother has kept it on full display in her home till this day (my niece is now 20).

cloudscome said...

I was thinking about Bringing the Rain today after reading Thunder Rose. Both books have a young person calling down rain on a parched land. The boy shoots an eagle's feather and ends the drought. The girl (I think she is in Texas) throws her lasso up and snags a cloud. Cloud gets angry and brings tornados, which TR stares down and then belts out the songof love and joy held deep in her heart and soul, taming the storm and bringing gentle rain to end the drought. I see some similarity there! Maybe I'll have to write a whole post about this...

Anyway Buddy Boy doesn't want me to read any of these books today. He wanted to hear a Grover book and Henry and Mudge. I have no idea what fairy tale he'll be interested in bringing to school. Good thing I like fairy tales myself!

Bess said...

Do you know the books of Idries Shah? He was a Sufi leader and wrote many childrens' books, including a wonderful collection called World Tales. One of the stories in World Tales is an Algonquin version of Cindarella, which pre-dates the European story. I grew up with a great edition of this book that has amazing illustrations, and I'm sad to see that the current printing does away with the pictures:

You can see some of his other childrens' books here:

I really enjoy the blog, by the way. My husband and I are white and in the process of adopting an AA baby, and childrens' books are already on my mind.

kim said...

No magic, so no fairy tale, but a wonderful little story along the lines of a CTW book we once had that was ... The Trouble with Being Big/Trouble with Being Little...

This story, one from a basal reader, Signposts, Houghton Mifflin, 1971, is "Hooray for Jasper," by Betty Horvath [c. 1966, Franklin Watts, Inc.].

Jasper is a small boy, "too little. Everyone said so."
He goes about asking how one grows bigger, and receives answers ranging from 'eat more,' to 'work hard,' and then gets the best instruction from his Grandpa, "You get bigger when you do something wonderful."

Well, Jasper sets out to find something wonderful that a small person can do.

Wonderful illustrations, in rich browns and reds, with cute little thick/kinky afros on the boys. My four year old loves it, and understands who all the characters are, and the course of action Jasper undertakes to get to his goal.