Fairy Tales

This month our theme is Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, and we are concentrating on one story per week.  Last week’s story was “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and this week’s was “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

A few lessons learned and observations noted:

*Preschoolers can be bloodthirsty.  We re-read “The Three Little Pigs” today, after having read it a lot last fall during our farm unit.  The class was thrilled to see the book come out again, and were enthralled the entire time.  They “helped” me read the story, all the way through.  In this version, the first and second little pigs get eaten by the wolf.  When I got to the end, when the angry wolf climbs up onto the roof, a small, feminine, quiet girl snarled, “Hah!  He’s gonna die!”

*Some preschoolers are not.  At the end of the Three Little Pigs story, one little boy said he thought that they should get a doctor so that the dead animals “can be alive again!”

*Always read the book before you read it to the class.  Let me repeat that:  ALWAYS read the book before you read it to the class.  I usually do, but for the “Frog Prince,” I didn’t.  There were other adults in the room at the time, witness to my discomfort as I realized that there was NO MORAL to the story.  The princess is spoiled, lies to the frog, breaks her promise to him, treats him with disgust, and then hurls him against the wall, for which dreadful behavior she is rewarded:  the frog turns into a prince who then marries her on the next page.  There is no lesson learned, other than go ahead and be mean and you’ll still end up with the prince.  The last page had a weird addendum about the prince’s assistant, who had felt tight gold bands around his heart while the prince was in his amphibian state, and on the wedding day heard the bands go Pop, pop, pop!  I skipped that page entirely, because I was so appalled (and the other adults were all laughing).  I googled it, and that is the original Grimm version.  We did talk about it today, and the kids laughed along with me — “Yeah, she threw the frog on the wall!  And then he married her!  But she was mean!  That was so weird!”

*Fairy Tales are exciting.  One boy in my class cannot wait for “Jack and the Beanstalk.”  “Is that next week?” he keeps asking, only to sigh when I tell him that it is our story in two weeks.  The class loved the last two books, and has learned to tell the stories out loud, and are even starting to act them out on the playground.  The Big Bad Wolf is a favorite character, and the thing to say whenever we get to the “woods” card in our pack of vocabulary cards is:  “Don’t go in the woods!”

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