The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Poly Bernatene

Synopsis from the publisher's website: “There's been a terrible mix-up in the royal nursery. Priscilla the princess has accidentally switched places with Pigmella, the farmer's new piglet. The kindly farmer and his wife believe it's the work of a good witch, while the ill-tempered king and queen blame the bad witch-after all, this happens in fairy tales all the time! While Priscilla grows up on the farm, poor yet very happy, things don't turn out quite so well for Pigmella. Kissing a frog has done wonders before, but will it work for a pig? Sure to hog all the attention, this story's frequent nods to well-known fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Princess, and Thumbelina-plus hilarious illustrations-will delight readers of any age”

This rollicking fractured fairy tale has quite a bit of opportunity for classroom discussion, especially when considered as the culminating book of a fairy tales unit that includes the mentioned books. The comparison of text themes and inferences between multiple pieces of text is excellent for critical thinking and analysis with teacher guidance.
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Genre: Fractured Fairy Tale
Age: Advanced first grade through fourth grade
Pages: 32
Themes: Honesty, Family Love, Jumping to conclusions
Thank You to Bloomsbury Marketing for my advanced copy
Publisher: Walker
Date: September 2011
ISBN: 978-0802723345
BUY The Princess and the Pig HERE 

Here are some ideas for using the text critically:
(Please note that all page numbers are estimated as my publisher copy did not have page numbers)
P. 1-2: What can we tell about the farmer? (He is kind because he took a piglet that nobody wanted)
P. 3-4: Why does the farmer stop under the castle? (It is a hot day and he uses the castle’s shade to rest)
P. 5-6: What can we tell about the queen? (She is not very kind because she let her baby fall from the balcony)
P. 9-10: How does the king compare Sleeping Beauty to the pig/daughter? (Students need background knowledge on Sleeping Beauty to understand that the fairies in Sleeping Beauty interfere. The king thinks this has also happened to his daughter)
P. 11-12: How does the farmer’s wife compare Thumbelina to the daughter/pig? (Students need background knowledge on Thumbelina to understand that the fairies in Thumbelina interfere. The wife thinks this has happened to the pig)
P. 19-20: What does the farmer think has happened? (Student’s need some background knowledge on The Prince and the Pauper to know that the farmer thinks the pig and the princess have been switched).
P. 21: Why does the farmer’s family decide to tell the king and queen? (They are honest people).
P. 22: Predict what will happen after the king and queen have heard the farmer’s story….
P. 23-24: What do the king and queen think the farmer’s family is trying to do? (Trick the rich, like Puss in Boots – again some background on the story is necessary)
End: How is this story different from The Frog Prince? (When the creature was kissed, she didn’t turn into a princess)

Author Jonathan Emmett not only writes children's picture books, he is also a talented pop-up book maker. He lives in England. You can read more about him here. You can read more about the illustrator, Poly Bernatene, here. ____________________________________________________________
© 2007-2011 Cheryl Vanatti for
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The Man in the Moon by William Joyce - The first in the Guardians of Childhood series

I must have been living under a rock to miss all the hype surrounding The Guardians of Childhood series. With thirteen scheduled books, in a mix of both picture and chapter formats, and a DreamWorks movie, starring Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law, how could anyone overlook it? Yet, when the big book version of the first book in the series arrived on my doorstep last week, I sort of pushed it to the side. I had lots of more important books to read. Then I saw quotes from two of my favorite living writers: “It instantly became my children's favorite book” - Michael Chabon, “A fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairytale world. Dark. Mysterious. Stunning!” – Maurice Sendak. Those two literary gods alone were enough hype to turn my attention!

Author William Joyce has been working on the idea of telling the histories of childhood icons for twenty years. The first release in the series is The Man in the Moon is an origin story, explaining not only how the man in the moon came to be, but also why the earth’s moon glows. The book is chock-full of gorgeously luminous illustrations and a whimsical fun. Yet, The Man in the Moon also has a sinister mysteriousness about it.

While The Man in the Moon makes for a fantastic read aloud, it is not an easy picture book to read. Though listed as appropriate for four years+, I assert that the four year old would need to be quite advanced to understand the intricacies of the story. My educated guess would place miM at the primary level of six years+. As for independent reading, and I have not actually leveledThe Man in the Moon,my educated guess would be third grade+. Even then, some vocabulary will be troublesome.

The Man in the Moonis the first of six picture and seven chapter books by William Joyce. They will tell the stories of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny and Jack Frost. The DreamWorks movie, Rise of the Guardians, is due November of 2012 and rumored to be in 3-D.

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Genre: Fantasy
Format: Picture Book
Age: 4 - 8
Pages: 56
Themes: Friendship, Courage, Love
Character Development: Fair - I think more will come as the series progresses
Plot Engagement: Good
Originality: Excellent
Believability: Good
Thank You to the publisher for my advance copy
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Date: September 2011
ISBN: 978-1442430419
Check out the fabulous Book Site HERE

Here’s the book trailer to further your interest:


The next book in the series is a chapter book titled Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. You can read the first chapter HERE. 

William Joyce is well known for the Rolie Polie Olie books and animated series which won him three Emmys. In addition his named is attached in one way or another to the animated movies Toy Story, Robots, A Bug's Life and Meet the Robinsons. You can read more about him HERE. ____________________________________________________________ © 2007-2011 Cheryl Vanatti for
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Every Day On Earth: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours by Steve Murrie & Matthew Murrie

I always have a hard time effusing over nonfiction books. This is why I have never joined the Kidlitosphere's popular Nonfiction Monday.  I like nonfiction well enough, but that 'you must go read this now' element is just not there in my writing. So when I tell you about Every Day On Earth: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours, please don't think it lacking. It's a great book and a great follow-up to the popular Every Minute On Earth. Would it be enough to say that I believe that both should be in every 4th -8th grade classroom?

Like its predecessor, Every Day On Earth is a non-fiction categorized book of facts. Boy, I sure made it sound boring.... when it is anything but. The Every Minute On Earth. and Every Day On Earth books both have that elusive 'wow' factor that nonfiction books need in order to pull a reader inside. Both books have huge kid appeal with random factoids to make them ponder the enormity held within just one minute or day on our planet. Every subject is covered and math is handled especially well. A list of sources at the back provide jumping points for further investigation. Natural curiosity and reflection are a given when reading this book. Perfect for the 8-12 crowd!

A 9-11 Lesson from Tom Brokaw on "A Society Just Going About Their Business"

9-11-2019 Updated
I wasn't going to do a 9-11 post. There would be too many, "here's a list of 9-11 books" posts; I was sure. A post detailing my, "where were you" moment (teaching a 6th grade class) would hold little attention when compared to what others were doing (loading bombs onto fighter jets - like my husband). But then, I saw the New York Times/YouTube collaboration and stumbled upon Tom Brokow's reflection. Not his reflection on his own place in history, but his reflection on where he thought we would go and where we have gone.

My teacher wheels started spinning..... and I threw together this quick lesson plan with Mr. Brokaw's help:

Serendipity Saturday

Haven't been good with the Serendipity Saturday thing this year. I am here to rectify that! In case you are a newbie to Reading Rumpus, Serendipity Saturday is where I rant about bookish (and sometimes personal) things.....

Here are some books that I have, but need to read:
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin