I have been working with Little Pim over the last few months and love their whole approach to language learning. My daughter loves their Spanish Language CDs and books and when they approached me to host a Twitter Chat I jumped at the chance.
Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern we will be chatting about holiday gift giving on Twitter. We will be sharing ideas and asking to hear yours about how to give #SmartHoliday gifts that promote learning all year long.
Follow the hosts @NoFlashCards , @LittlePim , and the panelists @teachmama , @pragmaticmom , @TaraZiegmont as well as the hashtag #SmartHoliday to join in. And don’t be shy we are there to talk and share everyone’s ideas not just our own!
Do not forget to RSVP because it’s the only way to be eligible for the prizes.RSVP HERE.
Fairy tales are all the range for adults right now. Have you seen all the TV versions? Well fractured fairy tales are so much more than hip. They are great teaching tools about point of view, characterization, and of course alternate endings. They are also just really fun to read. This list like all of our book lists include affiliate links.
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza.
Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealy isn’t so much a fractured tale as it is a tale with very familiar characters. Goldilocks has chicken pox and throughout the rhyming text other characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Little Bo Peep and Henny Penny pop up. The story itself is more about how her little brother doesn’t think it’s at all fair that she gets so much attention and things like ice cream because she is sick. As most of us had chicken pox as kids we will relate all too well to this book, I am not so sure our kids will have the same personal connection. The illustrations by Hanako Wakiyama are fab!
Little Red Riding Hood – A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst is a cute twist on the familiar Little Red Riding Hood. In this version Granny is the type of Grandma I hope to be someday. Independent, brave, and compassionate. She doesn’t need to be saved, because she does the saving. The wolf underestimates Granny and in general is portrayed as simply misunderstood and in need of discipline . In the end works for Granny and reminds Red not to talk to strangers.
The Three Little Fish And The Big Bad Sharkby Ken Geist is a underwater version of The Three Little Pigs with fish and a mean old shark. If you remember in the original the first two pigs are eaten and the third tricks the wolf into being cooked. No fish are eaten and the shark doesn’t die either. Their seaweed and sandcastle houses do get demolished but in the end all three fish make it through and the shark’s teeth all fall out leaving him unable to chomp the little fish.
The Three Little Tamalesby Eric A. Kimmel is another Three Little Pig redo with a Tex- Mex flavor. In this story there is a wolf but no pigs, instead you get tamales. I loved that the third house was made our of a cactus and that after surviving the wolf the three tamales partied with runaway tortillas. The novelty of the new characters will bring this old tale back to life for your kids as well as make you seriously crave good Tex-Mex.
Cinderella’s Rat by Susan Meddaugh isn’t a retelling of Cinderella so much as a little side story readers probably have never heard before, I know I hadn’t. A pair of rats are caught by Cinderella’s fairy godmother and one is turned into a footman for her coach. The other remains a rat but after dropping Cinderella off at the ball they both go in search of a wizard to turn her into a girl. There are a few bumps a long the way that will have your kids giggling for sure but they succeed. Of course we all know that the fairy god mother’s spell only lasts until midnight…too bad the rats didn’t. See how it all ends for yourself. I like this book and it’s a great intro into writing projects about minor characters and their untold narratives.
Santa Claus and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno is a holiday version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears with Santa standing in for Goldilocks and a family of polar bears instead of grizzlies. I really liked this book. It doesn’t stray too far from the original other than the character substitutions but the changes are delightful as are the illustrations. This book will have you and your children reaching for hot cocoa and candy canes!
The Three Horrid Little Pigsby Liz Pichon was a great read! No big bad wolf , just a bunch of rude horrid little pigs! Unlike in the traditional telling of this story no one gets eaten in this book. The wolf is a friendly builder and even the lazy pigs learn their lesson. The illustrations are bright, fun and my three year old loved them.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is one of my favorite fractured fairy tales. In this book readers get to hear the wolf’s side of the story. He wasn’t trying to hurt any pigs , it was all a series of accidents and you can’t let meat go to waste so eating the pigs was just practical! I love the humor of this book but what I love even more is how it makes children consider different points of view.
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra is a story about forgiveness and restitution. In this book B.B. Wolf is asked to tell his side of things at the library many years after the fact. His story isn’t exactly true and other library guests including the three little pigs heckle him until he admits his guilt and asks for forgiveness. It’s a really cute book with some wonderful vocabulary words and great illustrations.
The Giant and the Beanstalk by Diane Stanley is about the giant in Jack and The Beanstalk and how he isn’t like all the other giants at all. This giant is kind and gentle and doesn’t do very well in giant school because he is anything but fierce. When he chases Jack down the beanstalk it isn’t to harm him but rather to get his hen back because he loves her not her golden eggs. On his quest to find Jack and get his hen back he meets many other Jacks from traditional nursery rhymes a long the way. I never realized how many Jacks there are in nursery rhymes until read this book . This is a great story about not judging a book by it’s cover.
Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox is snort worthy. Yes this book is so funny the kids will be laughing hysterically and learning all about rhyming at the same time. Rapunzel is having a hard time hearing exactly what Prince Charming is asking her to throw down from her tower and hilarity ensues. Kids will love anticipating what she will throw down next. I won’t ruin the ending but trust me it’s hilarious and kids familiar with the traditional version will love telling you how this one is different. The illustrations by Lydia Monks add to the humor perfectly!
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willemsby Mo Willems is a funny prehistoric spin on the classic Goldilocks and The Three Bears. There are so many funny details in this book that it’s as much for the adults reading it to their children as it is for the kids. The humor is mostly dry but plentiful and the story itself is engaging as all Willems stories are. If you aren’t familiar with this author you need to grab this and a handful of his other titles from the library asap.
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner is the most creative of all these fantastic books. In this book the three little pigs escape the wolf by escaping the story itself and being blown right off the page. They test out other pages and pick up a dragon and cat ( complete with fiddle) but ultimately want to return home. Together they face and beat the wolf and settle into the brick home of the third pig together with the dragon and cat. The illustrations will delight you. The perspective and imagination in this book is stunning and well worth many many readings.
Who says spelling lessons have to be boring and can’t have a theme? These spelling stones are a fun Thanksgiving craft and spelling activity rolled into one. Create a challenge by asking ” How many words can we make with the word Thanksgiving?” and use your child’s natural competitiveness as fuel for learning. The stones themselves are a great concrete manipulative that are a must for some learners and a nice novelty for others. I have had the idea for this for ages but making the stones seemed daunting. It took a few minutes and less than an hour later my son was playing and learning. Wish I’d done it sooner!
Gather your materials. You will need some stones ( dollar store! ) , multi-surface paint , a fine paint brush, clipboard, paper, and pencil.
Start by writing out thanksgiving on the stones. I used all lowercase letters so they would be interchangeable. I also made a color pattern but that’s just because I think patterns are pretty. I used a shoebox lid for a workspace. These paints are not washable so I like to protect what I can. Also the kids did not help make these.
Let dry. Ours took about 45 minutes to dry. Only one letter got damaged. If you are using these with a large group where they will be used a lot I would seal them but if it’s just in your home I wouldn’t bother.
What I love about using manipulatives to make words before writing them down is that when he was sounding out words he didn’t get frustrated if something didn’t seem right. He just replaced a stone with another. There was no erasing needed and for kids who have a deep desire for perfection that can be freeing.
Have your child write the word after making it with the stones. This is optional but I like adding in writing whenever I can. All my sneaking writing into things have really paid off. My son who struggled with it last year has made such progress in part because of a little here and a little there. Seeing the list grow and grow also encourages kids to keep trying to create more words.
This won’t be the last of these stones either… hang tight because in a few days I will have a totally different but totally fun activity using them again.
Thanksgiving BooksAll book lists include affiliate links.
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean was underwhelming and I usually adore Pete The Cat. Sadly this book didn’t live up to my expectations. My daughter liked it but wondered when Pete was going to sing. He doesn’t. There are no catchy repetitive refrains which is what we love about Pete! My son pointed out the flaws in the history which thrilled me because they were distracting. The target audience is younger than my son so it may not even be an issue for you but seeing a pretty little house as the shelter the Pilgrims had for the first winter irked me. I realize that Pete is a cat who is in a play so realism isn’t expected but I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Pete is awfully cute as a pilgrim though.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes delighted my whole family. I read it at dinner and all four of us thought the book was spot on. It’s not a story so much as a glimpse at all the things kids in a average family have to be thankful about. The illustrations by Doris Barrette are stunning. I want to frame them. I think this book does a great job at teaching children what they have to be thankful for and how everyday things can be something to be thankful for. Kids will relate so well to this book and because of that the message comes across loud and clear. My son loved that there is space on the last page to write what he is thankful for. Great find.
We haven’t started our Thanksgiving crafts for this year yet but I wanted to share some of our favorite turkey crafts for kids we’ve made over the past 5 years. I love making turkey crafts but must admit I can’t stand eating the real thing and fill up on sides instead. I hope that you can find something fun to make from our turkey craft ideas to get your kids excited and interested in learning more about Thanksgiving.
Do you have some fun turkey craft ideas for kids? Share them in comments!