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Traditional Literature
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Book Reviews - Genre 2

Downard, Barry.  2004.  The Little Red Hen.  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  ISBN:  0689859627.


This version of The Little Red Hen is a modern day story because of the illustrations, which show the animals in real life photos.  The photos are realistic because they are not drawn but actual photos of the four animals.  This particular version shows the animals with modern day features.  The hen wears glasses, the cat has on earphones and the pig is wearing a baseball hat.  Then the pig, the duck and the cat are all wearing sun glasses while they sunbathe and they play games on a pool table and with a checkered board.


Downard creates illustrations that show the animals wasting their time goofing off while Little Red Hen does all the work.  The illustrations of her are great because she is so busy working away trying to accomplish her goal of making the bread.


Downard shows evidence of using the characteristics of traditional literature.  It is a simple story but shows how the one that works hard is the one that reaps the benefits in the end.  The Little Red Hen is the only one that gets to enjoy the bread because she has worked hard.


Another example of a modern day feature is a picture of a pig with round glasses in a picture frame that says HAIRY TROTTER.


The illustrations add humor and life to an old story.  The Little Red Hen is portrayed as a brainy do gooder and the pig is seen as a lazy goof off.  One sees this while he is playing pool and cards with his laid character wearing a baseball cap.


The language is repetitive and predictable.  This is a good story to help to teach students dialogue and how fluent reading should sound.  It reads almost like a song.


Perrault, Charles.  1999.  Cinderella.  Loek Koopmans.  New York & London:  North-South Books Inc.   ISBN:  9780735810525


Loek Koopmans’ illustrations of Cinderella and her stepsisters have a child like innocence about them.  The drawings of the girls look as if they are young and possibly pre-teen age.  In this Cinderella story, the stepsisters do not look ugly or mean.  On the other hand, the fairy godmother looks like an old woman that has witch like qualities.  One can tell what Cinderella is feeling and thinking because of the smile or lack of it on her face.


Loek Koopmans uses vibrant and rich colors.  Loek uses the colors to create a particular atmosphere along with Perrault to tell the story.  This is seen in the scene where Cinderella goes down to the kitchen to get warm by the ashes, which is how she gets her name.  One can see and feel how cold the kitchen is because of the colors used on these pages.  In most of the two pages, grays, greens and light blues are used to create the chill in the room.  In the same scene Loek adds color only to the right corner where the fire place sits.  One can see and feel the warmth coming from the fire because of the combinations of yellow, orange and red colors. 


One of the characteristics of traditional literature is the use of the number three.  One example would be when Cinderella visits the ball three times.  In this particular version of Cinderella, she only goes to the ball twice and it is on the second night that she looses her slipper because she is delayed because she stays at the ball too long.  As she is running out of the ball her clothes turn to rags and her slipper is left behind.

Scieszka, Jon. 1991. THE FROG PRINCE CONTINUED. Johnson, Steve. New York: Viking. ISBN: 0670834211

Jon Scieszka continues to entertain people with his funny stories of what happens after the original fairy tale stories end, for example THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE BIGS, which describes the wolf's side of the story. As in the STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLYSTUPID TALES, are stories that resemble fairy tales everyone has heard before but with a name or plot change. Among the titles are CHICKEN LICKEN, THE REALLY UGLY DUCKLING, THE OTHER FROG PRINCELITTLE RED RUNNING SHORTS, JACK'S BEAN PROBLEM and CINDERUMPELSTILTSKIN.

THE FROG PRINCE CONTINUED is a continuation of the princess who kissed the frog and turned him into a prince. We find out what happens after they were to live happily ever after. After all, the prince was a frog before so it is hard for him to give up occasionally flicking his tongue at flies, which just bugs the princess. She is tired of the prince's frog like behavior and the prince can't handle the princess's nagging behavior.

The prince decides to go back in the forest to find a witch to turn him back into a frog. He thinks this will solve his problem with the princess. As he enters the forest, he runs into different witches from the fairy tales SLEEPING BEAUTY HANSEL AND GRETEL and the fairy godmother from CINDERELLA. The godmother doesn't have experience in turning men into frogs but she tries. The only problem is that she turns him into a carriage and the prince gets stranded in the middle of the deep dark forest. Then the clock strikes twelve and he is a frog again.

The Frog Prince then runs home realizing that his life is not so bad after all. The princess is glad to see him because she was worried about him being late. When he arrives, she kisses him and they both turn into frogs and hop off happily ever after.

Steve Johnson's photos contribute to the story by creating images of the small frog size man, the scary forest where the witches live and the dark forest where the prince gets stranded. This gives depth to Jon Scieszka's entertaining funny version of a well-known fairy tale.

Jon Scieszka's once again follows the characteristics of traditional literature by teaching a lesson. Jon Scieszka's style always puts a twist on well know fairy tales. His stories are predictable because of ones background knowledge with fairy tales but yet no one knows what will happen at the end because of the twist Jon puts on his stories.

Schwartz, Alvin. 1991. SCARY STORIES 3 MORE TALES TO CHILL YOUR BONES. Gammell, Stephen. New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 0439518326

Stephen Gammell draws chilling pictures to support the chilling stories retold by Alvin Swartz. Swartz creates a vivid picture through his words while Gammell chills your bones with his illustrations in the book SCARY STORIES 3 MORE TALES TO CHILL YOUR BONES. The part of the title that says TO CHILL YOUR BONES is fitting because when one reads and sees the pictures, it really does chill one's bones.

This book is an easy read with a collection of chilling stories of things that have happened in the past or told as an urban legend. Although these stories have been told before, they are still chilling when read. Some were even predictable. One story was about a man that meets a woman at the bus stop and gives her a ride home every night and starts falling in love with her. Then, one night that they had a date, she didn't show up at the bus stop. Thinking something had happened to her, he goes to her home, where he had dropped her off every night. An older woman comes to the door and lets the man in the house. The man introduces himself and wants to know where the woman is that he has given a ride to every night. The older woman explains that Joanna is her daughter and was killed at that same bus stop but only twenty years earlier.

Stephen Gammell draws chilling pictures to match the horrific stories being told. In this book the illustrations are all done in black and white colors. The black and white colors help the stories come to life because they are such morbid drawings. The scary looking pictures tell the stories on their own and they do chill your bones.

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