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                                                                                                 Fractured Fairy Tales

                                                                                                          Study Guide

***Click here...For my workshop hand-out on "Fractured Fairy Tales" and the comprehensive version Fractured Thoughts

Stories - The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

               - Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen

               - The Frog Prince Revisited by Marilyn Kinsella (only available on-line)

Students will gain a deeper understanding of the fairy tale genre by reading fractured versions of familiar tales.
Standard: Students will compare and contrast the fractured tales to the originals.

Before Reading
First Is Best?
In order for students to fully appreciate the fractured nature of these fairy tales, they must be familiar with the originals.

  1. Hold a class discussion about fairy tales. There are many definitions of a "fairy" tale. But, many genres can be used to fracture - tall tales, myths, legends, fables, folk tales, etc. Discuss the various genres and what they have in common and what sets them apart from others. See my workshop paper Folktales From Simple to Complex
  2. Ask students to name fairy tales with which they are familiar; record the titles on your chalkboard.
  3. Talk about the oral history of the tales. Ask students what lessons or morals might be learned from each of the tales listed on your chalkboard.
  4. Discuss the plots of  "The Three Little Pigs," Sleeping Beauty, and " "The Frog Prince."

   5.   Make a Venn diagram of the three stories and list likenesses.


   6.    Ask students to think about ways that these stories could be retold with a humorous bent. This includes - point of view, modernizing the place and time, different attitudes, expanding the story beyond the traditional ending, and taking a character from the story and telling it's story (see Fractured Thoughts for more ideas). Explain that authors sometimes like to use these familiar tales with a new twist. Ask if they are familiar with any such retellings. Tell or read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka, "Sleeping Ugly" by Jane Yolen and "The Frog Prince Revisited" by Marilyn Kinsella. Elicit from the class the techniques the authors used to fracture a tale. Provide several examples for your classroom library. (See below)

   7.  Write a class version of a tale using your students' suggestions.

In order to retain ties to the original, a fractured tale must share some similarities with its originator. Make a Venn diagram. List the similarities of two tales in the middle and differences on the right and the left of the Venn.   

                                                                                    Venn Diagram

Using what they've learned, have students create their own fractured tales.

  1. Have each student select a favorite fairy tale.
  2. Set aside a certain amount of class time and ask students to start twisting their tales! They will rewrite their chosen fairy tale, giving it unique twists.
  3. Have students invent new titles for their tales using the original title as a guide.
  4. Post students stories on a classroom bulletin board after reading or telling them aloud (if time allows).

"New" Fractured Tales:

Now you have all the elements for a story - 2 main characters, a setting, a hook (saying), and a conflict.  It is up to your creative juices to combine these into a story.  Sometimes the elements can be put together to make a funny, fractured tale.  Other times, it may fall short of your expectations, but it will still be a funny, fractured adventure.


For a great website that lists many, many traditional tales and their fractured versions go to  Folk and Fairytales - Tongue-in-cheek Versions.


Traditional Tale                                     Fractured Tale

Cinderella                                     Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson.

                                                    Cinder-Elly by Frances Minters

                                                    Cinderella and the Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman

                                                    Cinderella with Benjy and Bubbles by Ruth Perle.

Jack and the Beanstalk                   Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne                     

                                                    Jack and the Meanstalk by Brain and Rebecca Wildsmith

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears             Dusty Locks and the Three Bears by Susan Lowell

                                                    Jim Henson Presents Goldilocks, Miss Piggy's Dream by Louise Gikow

                                                    The Three Bears by Cindy West

The Frog Prince                             The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka.

Little Red Riding Hood                   Ruby by Michael Emberley

The 3 Little Pigs                           The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell
                                                    The Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellogg
                                                    The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall
                                                    The Three Little Pigs and the Fox: An Appalachian Tale by William Hooks
                                                    The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by EugeneTrivizas                                                                                                                                                            The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

***Click here...For my workshop hand-out on "Fractured Fairy Tales" and the comprehensive version Fractured Thoughts

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