Margie Palatini has a great sense of humor. I have found her books work with almost all age levels because the kids get most of her jokes without explanation.
First grade loved Goldie and the Three Hares. They quickly saw that Goldie was a terrible house guest and they loved the jokes about too hard, too soft and just right. I did have to explain about using rabbit ears to get a better picture on the tv though.
The first time I read The Cheese to a group of kids it was with first or kindergarten. They loved the book but none of them knew the song The Farmer In the Dell. At the end of class we had an impromptu sing along so they would understand.
Third grade loves Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes. Fox will be the first to tell you how fabulously smart he is, but he needs some help reaching those yummy looking grapes. Fox is also not shy about pointing out that Bear is a bit thick (the kids love how I read him; slowly with a lot of head scratching) or that Possum is homely. He will not listen to anyone else’s ideas and by the end of the book, he’s given up on those grapes; they were probably sour anyway. Students live the repetitiveness of this story.
Along similar lines is The Three Silly Billies. Palatini has taken a story almost everyone knows and tweaked it. I haven’t read it this year, so my memory may be rusty, but the troll runs a toll bridge and the three billy goats gruff need to cross. The goats are driving a jalopy–which is a new word to kids–and plan to go surfing, but can’t pay the toll. Help comes from some other familiar fairytale characters and the troll gets quite a surprise at the end of the story.
Earthquack! is another humorous re-telling of an old favorite. The earth is rumbling and crumbling! It must be an earthquake! Anyone who has heard Chicken Little will quickly see where this story is headed.
Willy and Wally Wolf are bad boys. Oh yeah, they’re bad, bad, really really bad. They are also hankering for some lamb chops. The boys dress up in sheep’s clothing and join the flock. The sheep around them aren’t terribly smart, but in the end they manage to get rid of the wolves with some bad haircuts…they’re bad, bad, really really bad. (Kids love the repetition of the wolves’ tag line.)
Willy and Wally are back! This time they want some chicken. When offering to become handymen around Mrs. Chicken’s coop, she jumps at the chance for a day off and leave them with a huge list of chores and a whole lot of chicks. Willy and Wally aren’t very good at babysitting and the chicks have the upper hand almost immediately. The wolf brothers aren’t going to become family men any time soon after these chicks are done with them.
In the last installment of the Bad Boys series, Bad Boys Get Cookie!, Willy and Wally want to treat their sweet tooths to a cookie. Too bad this cookie is cunning and smarter than them. Kids love the new twist on an old favorite.
Join me tomorrow for another installment on Margie Palatini!