Review: Fractured Fables
Written and illustrated by: Various
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Softcover, 160 pages, Ful Color, $19.99
At one time or another, we have probably all had the following experience . . . .
There's a book or a graphic novel you've just been meaning to read. In fact, you might eerily feel as though that book is stalking you. You see it in the bookstore. You hear about it from your friends. You find it recommended on Amazon. You've even dream about it! Then, one day, after it has chased you and followed you around -- simply trying to get your attention! -- you finally read that book or graphic novel. That's when you have the "light bulb" or "aha moment" you knew was coming.
Fractured Fables has been following me around. And now I know why.
Brilliantly written and engagingly illustrated, Fractured Fables offers early and middle school readers some hilarious, clever, and just plain entertaining comic versions of about thirty familiar, childhood tales. Readers will find Little Red Riding Hood, Mary and her Little "Spam?", Rumplestiltskin, Little Miss Muffet, "Snoring?" Beauty, and a variety of other characters reintroduced and illustrated for contemporary reading enjoyment.
An excellent text for discussing and emphasizing creative writing retellings, Fractured Fables should be found in every teacher and librarian's literary collection.
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plot: a variety of familiar (and some not so familiar, but new!) comic book retellings of traditional fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables.
Setting: like any good book about fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables, there are a variety of settings, some of which are: castles, forests, an ocean, a giant shoe, the North Poles, and so on.
Major Characters: since this text retells some familiar childhood tales and introduces some new ones there are a variety of characters, which include but are not limited to: Little Red Riding Hood, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, a new set society of Princesses, Little Miss Muffet, Jack and his house, Three Blind Mice, "The People vs. Hansel and Gretel", the Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio, Cinderella, and more!
Themes: Identity, Loyalty, Trust, Belief and Disbelief, Magic, Traditional Stories and New Stories (retellings), Exaggeration, Truth and Lies
Literary Pairing Suggestions: Aesop's Fables, fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, Alice in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll, Pinocchio (1881) by Carlo Carllodi, and any of the numerous versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, the Ugly Duckling, Hansel and Gretel, and the Little Red Riding Hood
Some Teaching Recommendations For Early & Middle School English Language Arts
Suggested Alignment to the IRA /NCTE Standard(s):*
- standard #s correspond to the numbers used by IRA/NCTE
1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate texts.
Recommended Grade Levels: 3rd through 8th
Suggested Guided Reading Lesson Plan:
• Before Reading
Before students read teachers and librarians can ask them if they have ever read a fable, a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. Teachers and librarians can keep a list of student responses on the board. It is recommended that teachers and librarians couple this discussion with questions about the meaning (or theme) behind the stories the students have already read.
• During Reading
At predetermined points in the selected story(ies) from Fractured Fables (and accompanying literary text), teachers and librarians should ask students to stop reading. These stopping points provide prediction reading strategy opportunities.
Teachers and librarians can ask students, "What do you think will happen next?"
It would be beneficial to also keep a discussion list of these ideas on the board as well.
• After Reading
After they read and predict, students can be asked to reflect upon their predictions: "What predictions came true? What predictions did not come true? If these predictions were to come true, how might the story have changed?"
Based on the during reading predictions teachers and librarians can continue to keep after reading notes on the board.
*NCTE/IRA. (1996). Standards for the English Language Arts. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.