Tag Archives: Folktales

The Hired Hand by Robert D. San Souci


Schema: fairy tales, element of magic

Genre: traditional literature

Setting: Virginia

Predicting: Predict what young Sam will do when the man comes back with the request to make his wife young again

Character Motivation: What motivates young Sam to charge the man for what the hired hand did?  What motivates him to change at the end?

Compare and Contrast young Sam and old Sam:

Characterization of young Sam: He damaged the saw blades because he didn’t clean the logs first concluding that he is lazy; he cuts the boards unevenly concluding that he is careless; he refuses to sweep the shop concluding that he is again lazy and disrespectful toward his father; he is dishonest and arrogant as he “puts on airs” when he is in charge.

Characterization of old Sam: hardworking and kind

Internal consistency of young Sam’s character: What types of things would you see young Sam doing in the future?

Big Idea or Theme: Work hard and treat people well or trouble will find you.

What evidence supports the conclusion that young Sam learned a lesson?

The Hinky Pink An Old Tale Retold by Megan McDonald

Schema:  favorite colors, pastas, princesses

Text-to-Text Connections:  books with a mischievous fairy or sprite.

The term “hudgin” is not very common so “hobgoblin or sprite” might be a better term to use in explaining what it is.

Text-to-text connection: “glass slipper” for Cinderella, locked in tower-other princess stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel.  The manner or tone of the princess to Anabel connects with the wicked step-sisters in Cinderella.

Cause and Effect: Because “something” is waking Anabel, the effect is that she is tired, frustrated, and having trouble completing her assignment.

Text-to-self connections: people or things bothering you so much you cannot complete your assignments

Point of View: Anabel’s voice and POV is what we hear.

Drawing Conclusions: What text evidence leads to Mag’s conclusion that there is a Hinky-Pink?

There are many unfamiliar terms used as expressions and several of them refer to different types of pasta.  I found a link that provides a picture of many types.

Some  students may have a text-to-self connection with their favorite pasta or pasta dishes such as Ratatouille,  a vegetable stew with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and other seasonal vegetables.

Italian terms:

Noioso: boring and tiresome

Portaspilli means pincushion.

Bellissima means beautiful.

Tarantella:  a dance with a  6/8 beat

References to fabrics and stitches may connect with  some students.

French knot: looping the thread around the needle several times before inserting it back into the same place the thread is coming from on the fabric.  It makes a little knot on top of the fabric.

Goblin Stitch: a special decorative stitch pattern

The setting is Firenze the Italian word for the city of Florence:

The illustrator, Brian Floca, has offered some coloring pages to go with the book. 

Willa and the Wind by Janice M. Del Negro

Schema: windy days

Personification: The wind takes on human traits and speaks in this tale.

Cause and Effect: Because the wind blows the sisters’ cornmeal away, the effect is that Willa is determined to get it back or get something in return.

Characterization: Willa is a strong woman character.  She can be described as fearless and aggressive. Use the idea wheel to describe Willa.

Drawing Conclusions: Willa draws the conclusion that the innkeeper is dishonest.

Predicting: Predict what the innkeeper will do when Willa arrives with the goat.

Seasons: With March winds, this is a good one to use for Spring.

Text-to-Text Connections: The Windy Day by G. Brian Karas

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins

Precious and the Boo Hag by Patricia McKissack

Schema: stories that teach a lesson, folktale, stranger danger

The story is written as a modern day folktale featuring the Boo Hag from the Gullah culture of South Carolina.  The Boo Hag is a legendary spirit or shape-shifter that wants to live in another person’s body, or it is also described as  riding a person by using their skin and body as a form for it to use.

Presidents’ Day: at the very end of the story, the Boo Hag shape-shifts itself into a penny.  Precious is almost fooled, but just in time she realizes the penny has the image of George Washington on it instead of Abraham Lincoln.  Precious’ brother had told her that the Boo Hag was not too smart.

Author’s Purpose: It might be to share a cultural story that teaches a lesson about not opening the door to anyone when a child is staying home alone.

Sequencing: Sequence the shapes that the Boo Hag took each time it appeared to Precious.

Drawing Conclusions: What evidence does Precious find that leads her to draw the conclusion that each of the characters that visits with her is in fact a Boo Hag?

Examples: Drinking the water, frog-like tongue, getting apron color wrong, being a penny with the wrong image

The author is an African American making this an authentic choice to read during African American history month.

Can’t Catch Me by John Hassett

can't catch meSchema: ice from the fridge, icebergs

Text-to-text Connections: Gingerbread Man stories, stories where characters are being chased

Compare and Contrast: the animals that want to eat or cool off with the ice cube to characters in other versions of the Gingerbread Man.  Compare the whale with the fox in the original story.

Sequencing: Sequence from the last animal to interact with the ice cube to the first.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusions can you draw based on the last page of of the story with the freezer door open, water on the floor, and the legs of the boy and his mother?

Cause and Effect: Because the freezer door was left open, the effect is that the ice has melted

Predicting: Predict what the ice cube man will say when one of the characters wants to use him in some way.

Felt board story: I found some clip art to represent the characters in the story, laminated them, stuck some Velcro on the back, and made a quick felt board story to go with this book.

Tortuga in Trouble by Ann Whitford Paul

tortugaSchema: turtles, desert settings, Grandma’s house looks like a sand dome

Text-to-text connection: other retellings of Little Red Riding Hood

Predicting: What do you predict the animals will do in order to save the turtles from the coyote?

Cause and Effect: Because Tortuga’s friends made the noise at Tortuga’s grandmother’s house, the effect is that Coyote is frightened away.

Compare and Contrast: the original story of Little Red Riding Hood with this retelling, compare the endings of Little Red Riding Hood with the way some have the wolf eat Grandma and some have her locked in the closet, compare and contrast wolves and coyotes

Inference: Readers can infer that Tortugas amigos hope to be invited for dinner if they follow him to his abuela’s house.

Drawing Conclusions: The animals drew the conclusion that Coyote was going to boil the turtles and make soup because Coyote put a pot of water on to boil.

Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

chickenSchema: folktales, purpose of folktales

Author’s purpose: the original author’s purpose may have been to illustrate what happens when we don’t think ahead or make a plan

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion do you think Henny Penny came to, and what evidence from the story supports it?

Because the fox sneezed, the effect is that the animals were expelled from his mouth.

Inference: The animals inferred that they were running into a cave.

The Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel

tamalesSchema: Three Little other stories, food

Text-to-text connection: The Three Little Pigs, Texas town of Laredo, the Spanish terms, Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto.

Sequencing: In both stories, the events follow a similar sequence, with the third house in each one being the strongest

Compare and Contrast: How is the ending of this story different from that of the traditional Three Little Pig story?  The Lobo gets away in this one.

Did you ever think of the wolf climbing back up the chimney in the other story?

Inference: What inference can we make about which house will be the strongest one?

Point of View: Retell the story from the wolf’s point of view like in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

Synthesis: Create your own version of The Three Little______________” using foods or animals that you are familiar with.

Carmine: a Little More Red by Melissa Sweet

carmineSchema: Little Red Riding

Synonyms: Each page has a focus word printed large at the top of each page, and the word is used in context.  Ask students to give you a synonym for some of the words as you read.

Carmine writes a haiku about her grandmother.  Students may connect with writing their own haiku.

Inferences: the illustrations provide inferences to the Three Blind Mice and the Little Boy Blue nursery rhymes.

Map skills: A map from Carmine’s house to her Granny’s is provided.  Students could measure and set up a key to determine the distance from one to the other.

Compare and Contrast: How is this story similar and different from the original Little Red Riding Hood?

Cause and Effect: Because Carmine dilly-dallied, the effect is that the wolf got there before she did and stole the bones.

Sequencing: How did the events in the story occur?

Synthesis: I am synthesizing that the wolf never intended to eat Granny; he just wanted the soup bones for his pups.

Text-to-Text Connection: Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh; Tortuga in Trouble by Ann Whitford Paul

The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen

emperor-and-the-kiteSchema: kite flying; emperor is like a president or ruler

Text-to-Self Connection: being a 4th child in a family, flying a kite, wanting father’s love and attention

Poetry: Haiku; 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, but originally a Japanese poetic form about nature

Mental Images: Try to make a mental of image of the wind troubling the waters of a still pond.

Inferring: We can infer that Djeow Seow’s father thinks that small children are useless to him until Djeow Seow saves him.

Cause and Effect: Because Djeow Seow saw the evil men kidnap her father, the effect is that she knows where they lock him away.

Because Djeow Seow saves her father, the effect is that he realizes size does not matter.  He sees what her values are,  and he loves her for what she is.

Characterization:  Djeow Seow is very small in size. Djeow Seow is loyal to her father.  She is brave to build a hut and live in it alone.  She is creative to think of using the kite to deliver his food. She is smart to figure out the clue in the monk’s verse. She only wants to love and be loved.