Modern Fantasy


Written and Illustrated by Emily Gravett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Copyright Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 40
Fantasy in literature is not hard to find especially with the bulk of heroine trilogies set in apocalyptic nations. However, modern fantasy is a bit harder to find in picture books. I stumbled across this very funny picture book in my search. Wolves is a specific type of modern fantasy which is called animal fantasy. This specific book is a story about a rabbit who hopes down to the local ‘burrowing’ library to checkout a book on wolves. This book contains all kinds of facts about wolves, and it squashes all the myths about wolves like eating little girls going to  her grandmother’s house. However, as the rabbit reads, he doesn’t realize that the wolves in the book are coming to life and lurking behind. What I love about this book is that is has two endings. Go check it out and see what happens to this curious little bunny.
When I first saw this book,it did not capture my eye. In fact the reason I chose it was because of its genre not is cover art. After opening the book and reading it, I fell in love with the mixed media illustration. You have computerized sketches and hand drawn lined up next to typed fonts and banners. I have seen mixed media go a little over the top, but Emily Gravett seems to find the right balance for this quirky little book. Also as the story progresses and the wolf is following the rabbit,  the wolf’s size changes. This size change adds to the suspense of the book because the sketch of the wolf begins to slowly take up the whole page.
Modern fantasy is a genre that can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. Because most modern fantasies are chapter books, it can be difficult to find activities to match them to younger students. However, I’ve tried to rack my brain for some ideas. This particular picture book can be used in several ways in a K-3 setting. First, I would use this book to introduce the prey/predator concept in  a science unit. For higher grades the idea of carnivore/herbivore would be the center of the science lesson. Second, I would likely read this book when introducing the concept of checking out books from the library. I would take the time for the children to see the picture illustrations of the borrowing card in the back of the book as well as how to take care of the library book. I would contrast the way the rabbit let the wolf demolish the book to proper way to handle library books that the student’s will check out. Finally, I would use this book to teach prediction of endings in the ELA standards. Because in this book, the author offers two endings. I would have the students try to predict the alternative ending to the story before we read it. Overall this is a very versatile modern fantasy picture book.

Fractured FairyTale


The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

Written by: Jon Scieszka

Illustrated by: Lane Smith

Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group

Copyright Date: 1996

Number of Pages: 32

Awards: The New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year.

We all have those timeless stories that we heard growing up that are near and dear to our hearts. Most of those traditional stories are fairytales that are passed down from generation to generation. The stories share very concrete characters and sequences; however, some clever authors love to take classic fairytales and give them a twist. These twisted classics are called the fractured fairytale, and they are amusing to read. This particular story is a twist on the classic Three Little Pigs story except it is told from the wolf’s perspective. Of course the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ paints himself as an innocent bystander to unfortunate circumstances that befall the pigs. The switch in perspective gives a fresh lens to view this old tale.


In order to capture the attention of young readers, a book must have interesting pictures. This book captures my attention because of the mixed medium of drawing and what looks like newspaper print. Lane Smith is amazing at crafting different mediums of art into his illustrations. In an interview for a blog, he was asked  his favorite medium to use in illustrating, and his response  was “I like a little bit of everything. Mixed media is the best description. Sometimes I paint in oils and I collage bits of paper into the work. Sometimes I do charcoal or pencil drawings.” (Lane Smith, ). You can see the mixed medium throughout The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. It is no wonder that he has won so many awards for his illustrations such as Caldecott Medal, Silver Medal Society of Illustrators, New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

Just as traditional literature in essential in a literacy rich classroom so is the fractured fairytale in most Kindergarten through Second Grade classes. This particular story can be used to help children to distinguish point of view in the story. Because the basic storyline of the Three Little Pigs is the backbone of the story  the children can better understand the shift in the point of view. I would have the students to write a newpaper interview with the Big Bad Wolf trying to tell why he needs to get out of jail. This story alongside the original folktale can aid in the teaching of the compare and contrast concept in the Language Arts standards. I would have the students discuss differences and similarities in both the traditional story and the fractured fairytale.  I might use this to open up a history lesson. By telling the story from the perspective of the wolf, the story changes, and I would connect that through discussion of historical events. I would prompt the students in discussion of certain historical events and guide their discussion to see both parties have a story just like the wolf and pigs have different perspectives of the same story. We would probably use a T chart to write down the different sides of event. Fractured fariytales are not just amusing to read, but they can help provide a much needed perspective change on some old classics.


Traditional Literature


The Three Little Pigs

Author and Illustrator Paul Galdone

Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Copyright Date 2011

Number of Pages 48

Growing up, I remember many stories that my teachers would tell without using a book. No, they would tell the story from memory, and it was like they were passing it down to us. The tale of The Three Little Pigs is classified as one of these stories that are passed down time and time again. Traditional Literature in the term for such timeless stories that almost everyone has heard from their parents, grandparents, or friends. Hearing this particular story, I always found the story amusing.

The reason I chose Paul Galdone’s rendition of The Three Little Pigs is because of his elaborate pen sketches. Not only did he illustrate traditional folk tale literature, but also he wrote some of his own stories. His colored pen sketches bring these stories that are often just told orally to life. When we see the big bad wolf approach the houses, we aren’t terrified because the sketches make the scary wolf a bit less scary. The lined sketches create very two-dimensional characters that give this folk tale a light funny feel.


Traditional Literature has been used in the classroom for a very long time, and I vaguely remember hearing them throughout the early years of school. This story is appropriate for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, and it could be used in various ways in the modern classroom. One way you can incorporate The Three Little Pigs in to the class is through character education. Students can see that the first two pigs were a bit lazy in building their houses. I would use this to teach that hard work pays off. Also, the concept of sequence of events is evident in today’s Language Art standards, and this concept can be difficult to teach. However, with a very familiar story, teachers can use a foldable to teacher sequence of events. I would use a foldable to place the Beginning, Middle, and Ending of the story. Likewise, another difficult  Language concept to teach is cause and effect. I would use this story to prompt students to think critically about why the first two pig’s houses collapsed. We should not neglect these timeless traditional stories. They can be useful in the modern classroom.

Frost and Seasons

Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost

Edited by Gary D. Schmidt

 Illustrated by Henri Sorenson.

Published by Sterling Children Literature

Copyright date is 1994, 2014

Number of pages is 48


“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found its words.”

-Robert Frost

I have always enjoyed reading and writing poetry. The classic poets are some of my favorites such as the esteemed Robert Frost. This book contains a collection of poems by the famous poet Robert Frost. He was known for his great sensory words that are laced throughout his poetry. He was brilliant at describing scenes in nature. What makes this collection great is that this collection highlights his poems  that are centered around seasons.

When I think about seasons such as spring and fall, in my minds eye I see detailed pictures of flowers and trees. The illustrations by Henri Sorenson captures the essence and beauty of nature. He creates flowing pictures through his detailed through watercolor mixed sketches. The illustrations capture the mood of the seasons as well as a scenes from the poetry. For example, “The Road Not Taken” is a poem about 2 roads that fork in the middle of a wood. The trees are yellowed showing the beautiful signs of autumn. Throughout this poem, Frost uses many descriptive words to show the beautiful nature scene of a forest.  This poem contains a famous quote “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” I love this quote it shows the meaning of the poem.

Poetry is essential for a Literacy Rich Classroom, and teachers can incorporate many activities to supplement poetry. “Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost” is a book for 5th and 6th grade students. One way that I would use this book in the classroom would be to open up a Science unit that involves weather and the seasons. Another way I would incorporate this would be to have the students write their own poem in a personal poetry journal. Allowing children to express their own thoughts without guidelines, I believe the poetry journal would encourage creativity.  Also, I would take this book and integrate it into my lesson plan of teaching imagery in language arts. Imagery is a difficult concept for some students to understand. By having the students take the book and make a list of imagery words would help the students to grasp imagery words.