Category Archives: Folktale

Book Review: The Three Little Javelinas

My mom recently took a trip with friends to Tucson, Arizona.  She was really excited to see a javelina one evening while sitting out on the patio and came back with this adorable picture book for Little Lucy.  This southwestern adaptation of the familiar folktale, “The Three Little Pigs”, includes some great information about the people, plants and animals particular to this region.  The first javelina makes his home out of tumbleweeds which is easily blown down by hungry coyote.  The second javelina meets a Native American woman and borrows some saguaro ribs from which to build his home.  The third javelina meets a spanish speaking brick maker who kindly gives her some adobe bricks for her home.  The story neatly wraps up with an anecdote that explains what coyote is really thinking about when you hear him howl in the desert at night.

I love reading adaptations of familiar stories and this is no exception.  Reading similar story lines to young children is a great way to help them make connections between texts and promote a deeper level of story comprehension.  Do you have a favorite adaptation of a favorite story?

Check out the corresponding lesson plan.

Title:  The three little javelinas

Author:  Susan Lowell

Illustrator:  Jim Harris

Publisher:  Rising Moon

ISBN:  0-87358-542-9


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Book Review: The Three Little Tamales

I love alternate versions of classic fairy tales and fables.  When I taught first grade I included a unit where we would read a variety of fairy tales and a myriad of versions.  Some years the kids would even write their own!  This version of “The Three Little Pigs” bakes up a delightful story about three runaway tamales who build three very different casitas (houses).  One house is built from sagebrush, one from cornstalks and one from the mighty prickly cactus.  I love the mixture of spanish phrases throughout the book and admire Kimmel’s ability to create clever rhyming dialogue for the characters:

“Senorita Tamale, por favor, I want to come in, so open the door.”

Bright, colorful illustrations by Valeria Decampo just add more charm to this very sweet story.  Do you have a favorite alternate version of a well-known fairy tale or fable?  Please share!

Title:  The three little tamales

Author:  Eric A. Kimmel

Illustrator:  Valeria Decampo

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish Children

ISBN:  978-0-7614-5519-6



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Book Review: Medio Pollito: A Spanish Tale

I absolutely love Eric Kimmel’s version of this traditional Spanish folktale.  Medio Pollito was born a half-chick with one eye, one wing and one leg, but he was born with a whole heart and a mother hen who told him he could do anything he wanted, one step at a time.  Medio Pollito sets out on his journey to the city of Madrid, taking the time to stop and help others when needed.  What a wonderful book to engage young children in the discussion of our different physical abilities, our universal ability to help one another and the empowering belief in oneself to accomplish your goals and dreams.  If you are unfamiliar with this folktale like I was, you will  love the mythological twist at the end.  This beautifully illustrated book, written by our very own local (Portland, Oregon) author is a 2012 Oregon Book Award Finalist for Children’s Literature.  Follow the link to see a list of the finalists in all categories and to vote (by April 16th) for your favorite.  Winners will be announced at a ceremony on April 23, 2012 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory in Portland, Oregon.  If I were still teaching it would be fun to read all five titles in the Children’s Literature category and then help my students vote online for their favorite!  Visit the author’s website to view a video of this book, narrated by the author.

Title:  Medio pollito:  A spanish tale

Author:  Eric A. Kimmel

Illustrator:  Valeria Docampo

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish Children

ISBN:  978-0-7614-5705-3


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