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Poetry and folklore | class #5, fall 2017

Folklore and poetry

For our class on November 1, we will read four books and one article. Since this class only meets six times, we have to double up on some genres. These two go together better than some because they both need to be read aloud.

Successful folklore books must have a strong voice. Folktales and fairy tales come from an oral tradition in which the best storytellers have individual styles, just as singers have their own ways of delivering songs. Poetry, too, needs to be heard to appreciate the sound of the words — and spoken aloud to feel their combinations in your mouth. Poetry also needs to be seen because line breaks, indentations, and even the leading (the space between lines) are important. Each of these four books is expertly illustrated, as well. There is LOTS to analyze and discuss this week!

Representing folklore stand-alone picture books, Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile is a hybrid of two story types: the trickster and the noodlehead. This story probably originated in northeastern Liberia where it was collected by Won-Ldy Pay. The second folklore book is Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal, Paul Fleischman’s compilation of tales from a variety of origins, all of the Cinderella story type — persecuted heroines with supernatural helpers.

Representing poetry, we are reading Poetrees, one of Douglas Florian’s themed poetry books. For our poetry compilation, we have A Kick in the Head, an exhaustive collection of poetry forms compiled by Paul Janeszco. There are plenty of compilations for children that feature one poetry type — haiku, concrete poems, etc. This one has one of everything — or as close to everything as I’ve found for an elementary-aged audience. And speaking of “exhaustive,” books like this are not meant to be read in one sitting. Enjoy each poem on its own, ideally read aloud.

I encourage you to take a look at this blog post about using poetry in elementary school classrooms. I wrote it last year, with lots of help from Debra Smith. In addition to helping me teach this class, Debra is a writer and works in Montessori education.

Finally, we are reading Susan Dove Lempke’s Horn Book article, “Purposeful Poetry” from the May/June 2005 special issue on poetry.

We invite all of you to join our discussion in the comments below.

Note: Students have been asked to research specific book creators and websites and add their findings in the comments.

  • Arienne C. on Won-Ldy Paye
  • Lena J. on Margaret H. Lippert
  • Sedef S. Julie Paschkis
  • Belinda P. on Paul Fleischman
  • Summer X. on Douglas Florian
  • Missy M. on Paul Janeczko
  • Stephen M. on Chris Raschka
  • Jen C. on Cinderella-type stories
  • Tracy C. on Noodlehead stories
  • Damina K. on Trickster tales
  • Nimah G. on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm


Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Sedef Seker says:

    Julie Paschkis:

    From what I read this week, I can say that Julie Paschkis is a very prolific artist who uses a different media of art. Exploring her website, I found out that she has experience working on paintings, children’s book illustrations (obviously!), quilts, cards, embroideries and more. It was especially interesting looking at some fabrics and quilts she worked on because her drawing style and illustrations sometimes reminded me of quilts/patchwork with their amazing patterns and colors. One of Paschkis’ artistic interests is fabrics – and there are some really cool ones online, if anyone is interested in purchasing quilts/fabrics!

    She is a writer and an illustrator of children’s books – she has written/illustrated over 30 children’s book, and is still working. In her online biography she writes, “ My work flows in many directions, but all of the ideas and creations are connected. The work I do in one area inspires the work I do in others. Ideas beget ideas.” I felt the “connectedness” of Paschkis’ work and ideas as I was exploring her different art – she has a distinct style/approach that is evident in all the different media she uses.

    She also sells/showcases her art under the name “Julie Paprika.” On the Julie Paprika website, her work is described as “folkloric, euphoric, bittersweet, and bold.” Having viewed two of her illustrations (Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile and Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal), I think we can agree!

  2. Paul Janeczko:

    Paul Janeczko is an amazing poet. He has written over 40 books in the past 30 years. He has written poetry books, nonfiction books, anthologies, and books for teachers. Janeczko used to be a teacher. He taught english for 21 years in Maine, Massachusetts, and Ohio. He quit the classroom because he wanted to care for his newborn daughter and begin writing poetry! Janezcko has loved poetry since he was a child, but becoming a writer was not on his radar until later in his career. He actually didn’t love reading until he was in college! He now resides in Maine with his wife and daughter.

    More about his poetry…
    His poems are usually short- about 6 or 7 lines long. They are often about a variety of topics: nature, seasons, and children. The illustrations paired with his poems vary. Often, they are whimsical and loopy, and other times, they are very detailed and match the text. In the classroom, these short poems lend themselves very well to writing activities. The length of his poems make them easily accessible to young readers. To prospective children’s book writers, he suggests that you read, read read!

    He actually even offers a summer graduate course! It takes place at the University of Southern Maine. It is on poetry in the classroom!

  3. Paul Fleischman (“Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal” author)

    Paul Fleischman has published at least 42 titles spanning young adult fiction, picture books, plays, poetry, middle-grade fiction and non-fiction. He has lived in many parts of the US and currently resides in California. At college, he officially studied English and History, but also read mythology and folklore. He has a particular interest in history and music.

    Paul’s most recent book “First Light, First Life” (2016) shares some features with “Glass Slipper” (2007). Both books weave together stories from various parts of the world. Both books are also illustrated by Julie Paschkis, whom Paul has never actually met.

    Both Paul and his father, Sid, have won the Newbery Medal. Paul has also been awarded a Newbery Honor, been a finalist for the National Book Award, and won awards for historical fiction and other genres.

    Further links:
    • Paul Fleischman’s website:
    • Houghton Mifflin website:
    • New York Times review of Glass Slipper:

  4. Andy Riemer says:

    “A Kick in the Head” was a great read. I only found my love of poetry later in my high school years, but wish that this book was around when I was in elementary school and middle school. I really enjoyed how the illustrations in the top corner of the screen that laid out the syllabic rhythm and mimics the mixed-media-esque pictures throughout. I very much also enjoyed how the poems (and the author) encouraged the students to “break the rules.” I am really interested to hear from the teachers how they would bring this into elementary classrooms and in which grades.

  5. Kiran Bhai says:

    Poetrees by Douglas Florian and A Kick in the Head by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka, were both great reads. Both books seemed to be a combination of information books and poetry. I learned a lot about different parts of trees and different kinds of trees in the first book, and in the second book I refreshed my memory of different forms of poetry in an interactive, engaging way. I feel like these books are entertaining and educational for children and adults, and would be fun to use at teaching tools at home or in a classroom setting. Both books had amazing artwork accompanying the texts. The use of collaging and water colors as well as beautiful patterns really made these books stand out to me.

  6. Janisa Hui says:

    As a girl, it is not surprising that I enjoyed reading princess stories when I was a child. But as a Chinese, I can never relate to any of the princesses because they are usually from the West. “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella” is very interesting to me. I am amazed by how different elements from different cultures are put together and connected as a seamless, classic story. For example, the Kimono dress from Japan, the cloak from China and the Saarong from Indonesia. It also surprised me on the types of animals that participate in the story, e.g. crocodile and king fish. They are all uncommon in a “fairy tale”, but they are special to certain cultures, which is probably why the author brought them to the story. I also like how the book begins and ends with a modern home setting with a globe on the desk. It contextualized the travel around the world feeling very well. This is a perfect book for global citizenship education and I would recommend it to my friends for reading it to their kids.

  7. I was amazed by the folklore book Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal. As Janisa mentioned, the different cultural particularities are put together to a seamless, coherent story. I liked the fact that the story moves forward most of the time but takes short breaks to point out variations in the tale such as “a pair of class slippers” in France, “diamond anklets” in India, and “sandals of gold” in Iraq. The illustrations by Julie Paschkins help the young reader to familiarize with objects and behavior it might not expect in its own reality. Above all, the book shows that apart from all the differences that make people and their stories, they all attend the same wedding in the end where Cinderella finally gets married to her King.

  8. Arlyn Madsen-Bond says:

    I enjoyed reading Paul Fleischman’s Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. It blends many versions of Cinderella into a great new story that incorporates small details from various cultures. Paschkis, the illustrator, uses folk art and textile patterns to ground the reader in the different countries.
    In particular, I liked the page about the food at the wedding.
    Zimbabwe – “She and the Great King were married at the palace, where the guests feasted on mangoes and melons…”
    India – “… rice seasoned with almonds…”
    Ireland – “… beef stew and lamb stew…”
    Food is such an important part of most cultures.

  9. Jennah M. says:

    “Perhaps [teachers] have been turned off to poetry themselves by years of deconstruction in school, and by the feeling that understanding poetry is a lot of work with too many pitfalls.”

    Susan Lempke perfectly summed up my hesitation towards poetry, both as a reader and a teacher. Fortunately, “A Kick in the Head” was a game-changer for me when I was student teaching: through this clever book, I could help my students appreciate the wide variety of forms a poem could take. I love that each page in this book is dedicated to a different type of poem, has a simple description of what makes that style unique, and is coupled with an engaging illustration. As Lolly pointed out in her introduction to this week’s readings, this book becomes even more fun if the poems are read aloud, and not done all in one sitting. There are so many possibilities for fluency and writing with “A Kick in the Head” as a starting block! There is something in this book for everyone, even those of us who were “turned off” to poetry as students ourselves.

  10. Arienne L. Calingo says:

    Won-Ldy Paye is an award-winning children’s book author, multi-talented artist, and performer from Tapita, a town in Liberia, West Africa. He is a member of the tlo ker mehn, which means “a person who plays story” in the Dan language. This group consists of professional performers who have various skills, believed to enhance their storytelling abilities. Thus, in addition to being an accomplished storyteller, Won-Ldy is a trained musician, dancer, actor, and entertainer. Growing up, his grandmother trained him to remember and retell the stories of the Dan people.

    He has authored the following picture books of Dan folk tales: “The Talking Vegetables” (2006), “Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile” (2003), “Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia” (2002), and “Why Leopard Has Spots: Dan Stories From Liberia” (1998). Won-Ldy received, among other awards, the 2003 Notable Children’s Book Award from the American Library Association for his book “Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia.”

    He founded the Tlo-Tlo Artists Workshop, the fourth-largest theater company in Liberia to train young storytellers. Won-Ldy has continued to promote Liberian culture and share his captivating stories to thousands of school children in Seattle and Connecticut. His dynamic storytelling includes the use of musical instruments, dance, and masks.

    Further links: (This is his official website that includes more detailed information about his background, performances, classes, books, and more.) (I enjoyed reading this article from the Christian Science Monitor about Won-Ldy’s storytelling. Halloween is mentioned in the article—a relevant reference for this week!) (This link includes a short, interesting biography about Won-Ldy that shares some more information about his interests and work in the United States.)

  11. Douglas Florian (author of Poetrees)

    Douglas was born and raised in New York City and now lives there with his family. He has three children that he uses more as a springboard for his poems.

    Educated at Queens College and the School of Visual Art, Douglas was a cartoonist for the New Yorker before a chance encounter with William Cole’s anthology of children’s verse, Oh, That’s Ridiculous (1977), inspired him to try his hand at the art.

    His illustrated poetry books for children often incorporate elements of collage, watercolor, and gouache on a surface of primed paper bags. He frequently takes the natural world as his subject, using wordplay, neologisms, rhyme, and humor to engage young readers.

    He has held 9 solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions.

    Some interesting facts about him:
    1. As an author of children’s books, his favorite fictional hero is Peter Pan.
    2. The word he likes to use the most is HUMONGOUS.
    3. His favorite book is always the one he has just finished.

    To see more of his drawings, get his resume and contact,é
    To know more about his books,
    To learn more about his words to a would-be children’s author:

  12. Stephen MacLellan says:

    Chris Raschka:
    The winner of two Caldecott medals, Chris Raschka almost became a doctor. For a life that has been full of “almosts” (including medical school and a crocodile farm in India), he leads a life full of order and precision. He wakes up at five every morning, with breakfast specified by the day of the week. On his walk to his studio, he always checks the tide at a particular point in the Hudson River. This level of order and control in his life has allowed him to be extremely prolific, having published over sixty books.
    For someone whose life is so carefully ordered, his artistic style is decidedly not. His expressive use of paint and is guided by broad, sweeping brush strokes and washes of color. We read Daisy’s Ball for class, but his work ranges from biographies of jazz musicians to a novel.

  13. Nimah Gobir says:

    The Grimm brothers

    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau, Germany. Volume 1 of Children and Household Tales, their first book, was published in 1812. They are two of the best-known folklorists in the western world, situated at the origin of familiar stories (and Disney movies!) such as The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and Snow White.

    The Grimm Brothers became popular during the German Romantic period in the 1800s. As Napoleon and his French troops occupied Germany, many Germans felt the need to preserve their culture; they found solace and affirmation of their nationality in the Grimm brothers’ fairytales. After finding that folklore provided insights into a culture’s founding narratives, the Grimm brothers also collected stories from distant lands.

    Though several of the original Grimm tales are violent and graphic, they were read by children in the 19th century and continue to be popular among young students today.

    209 tales collected by the brothers Grimm:

    More background information:

  14. Mahima Bhalla says:

    I absolutely loved Glass slipper, gold sandal! To me, the concept of the book seemed brilliant and diverse in the true sense. It was wonderful to see a childhood fairytale being represented from different parts around the world, that too through such artistic and creative illustrations! I think the illustrations and patterns drawn were really beautiful and added to the book’s value – it would be a visual treat for both kids and adults.
    Also really enjoyed the poetry books! I thought ‘Poetrees’ was really creative and interesting. The poems and the illustrations complemented each other very well and the word-play brought a smile to my face. ‘A Kick in the Head’ was another interesting read. I wish I had read a book like this when I was younger, to have greater appreciation for poetry. I really liked the concept of the book, and believe it would be a great tool to engage young students in poetry.

  15. Gaelle Pierre-Louis says:

    Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile exemplifies the best of folklore. The beautiful illustrations are simple yet indicative of the text. The illustrations allow you to see the chicken leaning over the water and the crocodile under the water almost as if you are watching a movie. The use of onomatopoeia in the text illuminates and dramatizes the text. This book excited me because it shows what compassion and a desire to find similarities instead of differences amongst each other can lead to freedom. It also shows that the grass is not always greener on the other size and sometimes we must learn to accept our lifestyle no matter how small the “puddle” may seem. The chicken see its difference and smaller size compared to the crocodile, but instead does not choose to ignite hate but tries to justify why the crocodile should not eat the chicken by trying to prove how they are “sisters”. This is a means for survival and also a way to tell the crocodile that they are “one”. It is this compassion that we lack as a society today. In life, there will always have tricksters in society but it does not mean that we cannot overcome obstacles. I also enjoyed the compilation of poetry exemplified in A Kick in the Head. It showed me the different kinds of poetry that exists and lead me to expose other possibilities for my songwriting outside of class.

  16. Hye Jeong (Lena) Jeong says:

    Margaret H. Lippert:
    Margaret H. Lippert is an award-winning author who goes by both Meg Lippert and Margaret H. Lippert!
    To discuss her writing career first, she has written more than 20 books – most of them having won awards. Often derived from her own traveling experience, her books draw from various folklores and stories from various countries such as Africa, Latin America, and so on. One of my favorite storybooks of hers was “Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Libera,” which has beautiful illustrations that somewhat resemble the vivid colors of African art. An interactive activity that Meg Lippert created for this storybook is decorating puppet cut-outs, cutting each pieces out, mixing it with other people’s pieces, and making an entirely new puppet! It seemed like an amazing multicultural activity for young readers.

    She is also a storyteller – going by the name Meg Lippert – and even holds storytelling workshops! As she currently teaches at University of Washington and Lesley University (so close to us!), she emphasizes the importance of a bringing different people together to tell and listen to stories. She believes the power of stories can create communities!

    Further links:

  17. Marion Cunningham says:

    Of this week’s reading, I loved the elegant way in which the global versions of the Cinderella story were woven into a single story. My expectation had been that there would be several different individual re-tellings of the story, but synthesizing them into a single tale reinforced their similarities and the “call-outs” that have been mentioned by my classmates were wonderful ways to highlight the culture-specific differences.

    I really enjoyed the art in Poetrees. In fact, one of the things I am extracting from the course is the level of artistry in many of the illustrations. However, this book, in particular, was an interesting juxtaposition to the poems in A Kick in the Head and the central idea of Susan Dove Lempke’s article, “Purposeful Poetry” because I was not always sure that the poetry was of the same caliber as the art. In fact, some of the poems in Poetrees seemed a bit forced to underscore the theme of the book. In this sense, they were a little too “purposeful.”

  18. Stephen MacLellan says:

    Links for Chris Raschka:
    A fun interview, including his favorite curse word:
    A great piece written by his wife about his work habits:
    A short background biography:
    A video interview with him at work:

  19. I thought Poetrees was particularly beautiful and captured the natural wonder of trees in such a creative way. Turning the book on its side made appreciate the grandeur and it was fun to really enter the world of all these trees that are so different from another and also share similarities. Reading it before and after A Kick in the Head, I was more aware of the different types of poems. This poetry book could also be used in a natural science unit, geography unit perhaps and also global citizenship; the way the book includes trees from around the world could be tapped into in a variety of ways, e.g.cultural significance of the tree. It would be a great addition to a class library.

  20. Jen Curtis says:

    Cinderella stories have been around for over a thousand years. The tradition began orally with the story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo in around 7 BC but likely with older origins. This tale centers around a female slave who eventually marries the king of Egypt, and sets us up to understand the key trope of the “Cinderella” story: an oppressed heroine eventually is rewarded for her virtue by marrying someone of a superior social status. The most feminist story? No (though check out my childhood favorite Cinder Edna for a delightful modern retelling). Regardless, the story resonates with readers, and almost every country/culture has a version.

    In the United States, children are visit introduced to the story through the animated Disney classic. In other countries, the oral tradition still dominates. Picture books are an especially popular medium for telling the story, including this week’s “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal,” which tells the story of Cinderella inventively by borrowing elements from many different cultures. For those interested in exploring these different Cinderella stories more exhaustively, check out this resource: It includes versions from 20+ countries, including Scotland, Serbia, Kashmir, the Philippines, and the Zuni culture.

    For more information, head here:

  21. A kick in the head is a great book to introduce students to all the many different forms of poems from the Clerihew to Opposites and classics like the couplet, sonnet and ballad. Paul Janeckzo’s explanations of the poem in small font at the end of the page as well as the glossary in the back offers a clear definition and interesting information about the poems and Chris Jackenzo’s water color, ink and torn paper illustrations bring the poem subjects to life.

  22. Personally, I really appreciate the design and illustrations of Poetrees. Children will find so much fun in turning pages vertically. All the poems center on the theme of trees and they are elaborately arranged based on the shape of the tree. The diversity of trees in this book reminds me to think of cultural diversity across the world. The poetic voice leads me not only into a world of natural science but a world of cultural communication.
    The Worldwide Cinderella is also appealing to me as it pieces together cinderella stories from 17 countries across the world. Not only children can read Cinderella story from a fresher perspective, but they can indulge deep into the rich cultural diversity this book presents. The illustrations enhance the cultural and traditional elements in this book, bringing a stronger feeling of intercultural integration.

  23. Sophie Mortner says:

    I agree with what people have said about the enjoyment of reading both Poetress and a Kick in the Head. Both books were informational and fun and I too particularly liked that Poetrees was meant to be read vertically. What is unique about these books from previous books we have read in this course is that they are not linear stories. Each page is it’s own story and it is able to stand alone. This made me think about how these stories can be read and how this book may be used differently from other types of picture books. With a Kick in the Head, I would assume it is most enjoyable if it is read in parts rather than one sitting. Both books might be better approached over time. I am wondering about how this may change a child’s relationship to a book. Where each time they pick it up they are hearing something completely new rather than reentering a story they loved for the second or third time. I love that with these alternative types of books we can expose children to different ways of interacting with books and acquiring knowledge.

  24. Medina Roshan says:

    It comes as no surprise that there is a strong market for purposeful poetry. Many educators would love to use poetry that helps students remember certain processes, such as photosynthesis or fits into the curriculum in some other manner. However, one wonders if this takes away from the artistic value or authenticity within poetry.

    Another idea that stood out is the idea that adult writers need to walk in a child’s shoes or focus on shared interests. This is seemingly a difficult task and not as simple as remembering back to one’s own childhood. It would likely require a lot of observation and picking a child’s brain.

  25. Among the four books we read this week, I especially enjoy reading the two poetry books. As Lolly suggests in the discussion page, poetry needs to be heard to appreciate the sound of the words, and also needs to be seen. The designs of the two poetry books are extremely delicate. The vivid illustration and special layout of the text can really engage its readers. For both books, there are also glossaries at the end of the book, which provide rich information on the topic. Overall, the two poetry books are not only visually attractive, but also rich in information.

  26. Katie Torrisi says:

    My favorite of the books we read this week was Poetrees. I especially loved its use of concrete poems, like “Seed,” and “Tree Rings”. The book’s design is immediately striking, with how it opens vertically instead of horizontally. The integration between the text and visuals is stunning– for example, the poem “Baobab,” a poem about a very thick tree, is placed on the tree’s trunk. That’s how wide it is! I also liked how “Monkey Puzzle Tree,” which is about how monkeys find it difficult to climb back down once they’ve reached the top, is placed above the tree’s canopy, again emphasizing its great heights. All in all, I think this is a great book to use to teach students about both trees and concrete poems.

    On that note, I also found “Purposeful Poetry” and Lolly’s accompanying blog post to be quite intriguing, particularly how they highlighted the disturbing trend of of writing and/or teaching mediocre poems that match a day’s lesson in place of excellent poetry that may not easily fit thematically. I wonder, would teaching a poetry unit help fix that problem? However, is it better for students to read poetry regularly throughout the year instead of in one intensive unit? These are questions I look forward to discussing with my book group on Wednesday.

  27. Nezile Mthembu says:

    I enjoyed reading “Poetrees” by Douglas Florian. The play on words “poem” and “tree” in the title caught my attention. The calendar style layout of the book made each poem seem as if it was in a separate book, which was nice because it felt like the reader is moving from scene to scene, book to book. My favorite poem was “Coconut Palm.” I liked that the poem was written from a personal perspective because it made me think about why I could be “nuts” about coconut. I thought, yeah, I love chocolate and that’s why “I am nuts about the coconut.” The rhyme scheme gives the poem its kick and its humor. This book is a shelf keeper.

  28. Xinyu (Cynthia) Wang says:

    Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile was a folktale that originated in Northeastern Liberia in Africa as it was noted on the book jacket, and it was written by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert along with illustrations by Julie Paschkis.

    The story is about Mrs. Chicken who wants to see her reflection in the river because the puddle is not big enough for her to see herself clearly, encounters the toothy hungry crocodile. In order to avoid becoming the dinner of the crocodile, Mrs. Chicken said that she was the sister of the crocodile and switched their eggs to outwit the crocodile. The plot twist is really engaging and there is also a delicious irony throughout. Paschkis’ colorful drawings perfectly complement the story.

  29. Among the four books of this week, I enjoy Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile most. I believe this book will bring a lot of fun for kids. At least, I imagine that my son will laugh at the silly crocodile. Even I myself smiled while reading it. Also, I think children may well pick up some thing from reading this book, like they should stay cool and find solution when they are in danger. They may not come up with concrete solution, but at least, they could have the awareness of thinking about a solution and do not be panic if something bad happens.

  30. Amy Ng Tsz Ying says:

    The books on poetry are the books I like most this week. Back in high school I used to hate poetry because I can never figure out what do the authors want to say – the teacher’s interpretation is always different from mine. Later on as I tutor my student, I find that they have the same frustration. I love the delicate illustrations in the books in that they should provide children with a good and attractive start to get in touch with poetry.

  31. The trope of the Trickster is a common usage in fables and fairy tales across different cultures and traditions. Here are some links that reveal the characteristics, functions, trends and patterns that are commonly associated with this particular motif:

    A deep and yet concise piece on the qualities of the Trickster:

    This writing touches on the temporal and spatial qualities of the Trickster and the many forms it has taken throughout time and place:

    A discussion on how “the Trickster” is distinct from other archetypes, like that of the “The Messianic Archetype”, “The Fool”, “the Nominal Hero” and “the Jerkass”. It also provides the various forms of the Trickster figure:

    A brief overview on the issue of “morality” in Trickster Tales, particularly in fantasy literature:

    This blog post touches on the Trickster figure in Native American and Caribbean cultures:

    This resource presents summaries of Trickster Tales in a variety of Native American traditions:

    An excellent resource and teaching guide for understanding (and teaching) Trickster Tales and fables:

  32. Sanya Sagar says:

    I have always struggled with poetry, and continue to struggle with it even today. But if I had read more books like A Kick In The Head, I am certain I wouldn’t have been as intimidated by the art form. I really enjoyed learning about poetry and absolutely loved the illustrations. I will definitely be using this in the classroom in the future. I also loved the theme behind Glass Slipper and would like to know if there are other books that present diversity in a similar way.

  33. Casey Carlson says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. Paul Fleischman thoughtfully includes details from a variety of cultures and countries on every continent. Using the foundation of a story familiar to most children who grow up in the United States, this unique narrative can serve as a conversation starter for curriculum around global citizenship or social emotional topics such as perspective-taking or empathy. From basic discussions about differences in clothing or food, students can move into broader conversations around cultural norms and even how other books assume (or don’t assume) into American norms. For example, students may read a story such as School’s First Day of School and consider what details are U.S. specific, and how it might be different if it took place in another country. Students can consider these perspectives and cultural contexts with all subsequent analyses – both of picture books and later with chapter books.

  34. Reading Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile really brings me much joy. Never thought there could be such an intimate friendship between a chick and a crocodile, to the extent of exchanging babies. I would assume the story will be a great read-aloud source to young readers, especially with vibrant words like “snap” and “bok” that make the actions alive. The texts are a bit more heavier in some pages than I thought for juvenile poetry though.

  35. Camila Garcia Enriquez says:

    Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Pay was very fun to read! It is one of those stories in which “it is OK to lie and fool others”, which is usually very exciting for children. This is also a story on how to get oneself out of danger, even when our counterpart is bigger and stronger than us. In that sense, Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile is an analogy of David and Goliath, calling upon the fact that physical strength does not always overcome intellectual strength. Because this is a read-aloud, I dot think the story would be difficult for children to understand, especially if dramatic reading is performed Lastly, as I was reading it I imagined different scenarios for encouraging participation, such as asking children “What is the hen doing?!” right before reading the description of the exchange of the eggs.

  36. Tracy Cheng says:

    Noodlehead stories are generally short and simple stories that focus on the silliness and awkwardness side of characters – think funny stories about “fools.” Examples would be a character that takes everything way too literally, or a character who pocesses good intentions but not common sense. They are usually entertaining and targeted at younger children, but can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Examples can be found from very old folklore across many different cultures around the world, to very recently published story collections and chapter books.

    Examples of noodlehead stories:

    Noodlehead Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read & Tell by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss (2006)

    Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (2013)

    Noodles, Nitwits and Numskulls by Maria Leach (1979)

    The Book of Noodles: Stories of Simpletons or Fools and Their Follies by William A. Clouston (1969)

  37. I was most surprised by my enthusiastic response to Poetrees because the book combines two things I couldn’t be more apathetic about: poetry and trees. In fact, I usually can’t stand poetry due to my allergy to whimsy. (And I’m not exactly a nature person.) BUT I found myself devouring Florian’s words and kept wanting to Wikipedia all the trees and tree-related phenomena he was writing about. I even pored over the glossary at the end to reinforce what I had learned through his lyricism. I had actually visited General Sherman at the Sequoia National Park this summer without really understand the context or significance of the tree and I appreciate now having more insight into a world I had long forgotten after elementary school science lessons.

  38. Like Robyn, Sanya, Amy, Nezile, Katie, Cieo, Sophie, Michelle, Dima, Medina, Sally, Marion, and Kiran, I spent the more time unpacking/digesting/unearthing the poems in the poetry books this week. Needless to say, I loved both.

    My partner and I read parts of A Kick in the Head to our daughter and then I spent more time solo exploring Poetries. The illustrations in each were fantastic. Chris Raschka’s style reminded me of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Both books also included an eclectic array of different poems that were connected by conistent art even when the words travleded to different parts of the page. It was also helpful that they each had a glossary (the Glossatree & Notes on the Forms). It think it important to balance the informative aspect of these books with the engaging/artistic aspects of the poems. (Found Poem, Blues Poem, Senru, there was so much I didn’t know) Ipitaph for Pinnoccio reminded me of Mark Twain humor, and the limericks reminded me of Alice in Wonderland/or Where the Sidewalk ends.

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