Archive for Folk Tale

Little Red

Written and Illustrated by Bethan Woollvin

What if Little Red Riding Hood outsmarted the Big, Bad Wolf even before she entered Grandma’s house? Would she still be scared? And what would happen then? How could any smart little girl be fooled by a wolf in Grandma’s clothing? With stark and simple illustrations, this empowering retelling answers these and other questions. Red is completely aware of the dangers in the forest and in Grandma’s house. In fact, she seems aware of everything. But she surges ahead, unafraid. As a result, she has a brand new wolf coat to wear home.

This would be a great opportunity for a teacher or parent to discuss the original story, how this version differs, and which one is better. Also, it would encourage kids to be aware of their surroundings and be proactive. Don’t miss the scary, toothy wolf on the un-jacketed book cover.

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  • Little RedTitle: Little Red
  • Author/ Illustrator: Bethan Woollvin
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Fiction, Retold fairy tale, Literature
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-917-9



The Turnip

Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett

One tasty turnip turned out to be a problem in badger girl’s garden. It was a giant turnip. Such a giant turnip that not badger girl, badger brother, nor badger parents could get it out of the ground.

Jan Brett once again beautifully illustrated a well-loved Russian folk tale and told it with a surprising new twist readers will love. Nothing is more fun than knowing something about a story the main characters don’t even know.

This cumulative story told in the center of the pages is foreshadowed in the margins, as is Brett’s pattern. Young readers and listeners enjoy watching the story progress and develop from margin cameo to double page spread. In many instances, while children know who the new character is going to be, they can only guess at the upcoming action.

Teachers and librarians can fulfill core curriculum standards in literacy, art, and geography as they introduce folk tales from around the world. Parents will enjoy including this beautiful new Brett book to the read aloud collection for quiet time.

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  • TurnipTitle: The Turnip
  • Author/Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-399-17070-6
  • Genre: picture book
  • Grade level: PreK to 3

Prairie Chicken Little

Written by Jackie Mims Hopkins
Illustrated by Henry Cole

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A delightful spin on a classic story, Prairie Chicken Little provides a fresh look at how panic starts on the wide open spaces of the grasslands when a nervous prairie chicken spreads rumor of a stampede. With no trees around, there are no acorns falling, but these animals fear a stampede more than the sky falling, so “a rumbling and a grumbling and a tumbling” is enough to cause quite a stir. When Mary McBlicken runs to tell her friends on the prairie about the imminent stampede, they are all aflutter until Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan come along to calm them down.

This brightly illustrated book would fit nicely in a unit about different ecosystems of North America or a unit about wild animals. There are also several nice lessons about how prepositions like, “over,” “through,” “around,” and “down” guide our imagination and the storyline. Students may even write and illustrate their own colorful story told with a dozen different prepositions. To test the readers’ comprehension after reading this story aloud, students may describe the problem, what Mary wanted to do about it, and how it was finally resolved.

With such a common story line, there are loads of extension activities for the classroom. For a generous collection of activities, visit This site offers activities for the language arts, science, character development, and critical thinking. It also links visitors to several audio versions of the classic tale of Chicken Little. Many may easily be adapted to use with Prairie Chicken Little. After reading this updated story, students may also be encouraged to write their own twist on a different classic tale.

  • Prairie Chicken LittleTitle: Prairie Chicken Little
  • Authors: Jackie Mims Hopkins
  • Illustrators: Henry Cole
  • Publisher: Peachtree
  • Reviewer: Sharon Schulte
Hardback, 38 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-694-9
  • Genre: fiction/folk tale/Chicken Little