Tricky Tricksters

Tricksters are a great part of folktale tradition. Tricksters are clever and devious; they usually cause problems for other characters but often go unpunished. Bugs Bunny is a trickster to the core.

Many kids are read stories about Anansi the Spider, from African traditions, Iktomi, from Native American traditions and Brer Rabbit from the American South.

There are more tricksters in children’s books than you and I realize. 

My daughters and I read this funny story many times over the years. Keiko Kasza’s pig is tricky!

In Ken Kimura’s 999 Frogs Wake Up, 999 heads are better than one when you are outsmarting a hungry snake.

Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens is a  favorite with 2nd graders at our school.

My favorite trickster is Grandma Dowdel from Richard Peck‘s books A Long away From Chicago, A Year Down Yonder and A Season of Gifts.

I always tell my students that I want to be like Grandma Dowdel when I grow up. She isn’t afraid of not fitting in with the townsfolk, in fact she revels at making them bristle. She isn’t afraid to bend or break the rules to achieve her goals and there is almost always a needy person who benefits from her shenanigans. Even her worst enemy is (eventually) treated like her dearest friend. Honestly, I wish Peck would write more books about this fabulous grandma.


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