We Met Jon Scieszka

Stinky Cheesefrank einsteinBattle BunnyTrue Story Pigs

In 1991, my good friend from college introduced me to Jon Scieszka books.  She was taking a Children’s Literature course for her degree in Early Childhood Education.  I’ve followed his career for over twenty years.  I consider him the father of the “Fractured Fairy Tale” subgenre.  I’m sure others penned these types of tales before him; but his book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs was the first I read.

Several months ago, I learned he was visiting our local bookstore on August 25th to promote his new book.  I hesitated for a second… 7 pm after the first day of school.  Might make our day extra crazy.  Sanity returned.  I thought, “Who cares?  Jon Scieszka doesn’t visit a bookstore half a mile from your house everyday.”

ML’s book club read The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales for their second meeting.  I drove four girls from the club to the event.  With the windows rolled down, they were singing at the top of their lungs some pop song out the window to the high school guys playing basketball at our local park.  I love second grade girls.  Free as can be, not worrying about what others think.

That’s what I love about Jon Scieszka too.  He didn’t follow the conventions of children’s literature in the nineties.  All you have to do is read The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.  This book includes the words stupid and ugly.  Various fonts and different sized text are used.  Common these days; but rare last century.

I love the timelessness of his books.  I am confident his new series will continue this trend. Frank Einstein and The Anti Matter Motor is the first book.  Five more books to come. “Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual.”  The series  “takes readers from Matter to Energy to Humans to Life to Earth and on through the Universe – from the smallest objects (atoms) to the largest (the cosmos).” (Quotes from Frank Einstein’s website.)

When we meet authors or illustrators, I always purchase a book to be autographed.  ML chose Battle Bunny.  I stood in line while she and her friends perused the children’s books.  Each girl begged me to buy them a Rescue Princess book.  I said, “I’m not buying any more books tonight.”  In unison, they begged, “Please, please, please.”  I told ML, “You’re welcome to use your money to buy the book and share it with your friends.”  She did.  I asked Jon Scieszka if he could “Battle Bunny” it.  Not sure what this means, check out mybirthdaybunny.com.  I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover; but I am princessed and fairied out.  Want to “Battle Bunny” a book, print up a copy of Birthday Bunny, get out your pen, and go to it.

He has so many other great books for kids, especially boys.  I featured his Time Warp Trio on the Series Fiction for Elementary School Boys post. I can’t wait to read some of his Guys Read books.  I discovered them a few days before the event.

Finally, here’s proof we met him.  After, I told him about ML’s book club reading The Stinky Cheese Man, he started calling them “The Stinky Cheese Club.”

Scieszka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Your Typical Three Little Pigs

3PigsBadWolfAliens3Fish

My introduction to fairy tales told from a different viewpoint was in the early nineties. In my opinion, The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs By A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith is one of the best books from the 20th century.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague follows the traditional tale somewhat. However, there is perfectly legitimate reason the Wolf is running around town huffing and puffing houses down. He’s hungry. The donut shop is closed. . . the hot dog stand is locked. . . and the pizza parlor will not let him in.

Some fairy tales follow the same plot but have different characters. In The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara & Mark Fearing the robot meeped, “Then I’ll crack and smack and whack your house down!”

In The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist and Julia Gorton, it’s all about the fish and their finny fin fin. The shark doesn’t huff and puff. He munches and crunches.

What’s your favorite fairy tale with a twist?