Fairy Tale Comics

Fairy Tale ComicsFairy Tale Comics
Written and illustrated by: Various
Edited by: Chris Duffy
Publisher: First Second
Format: Hardcover, 7.5 x 10, 128 pages, Full Color, $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-59643-823-1

Kid tested. Mother approved. Dr. Monnin endorsed.

Sometimes I feel pretty fortunate. Today is one of those days. On my way to my significant other's house – and her two awesome boys – I stopped to get the mail. I still feel like it's Christmas when I see a package in my mailbox. Today's package was a gift from First Second Books. The second installment in their foray into retelling classic stories First Second's Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales By Extraordinary Cartoonists, Edited by Chris Duffy, was my surprise gift today. Thank you Mr. Mailman, I thought and continued my drive to my significant other's house.

Upon arrival both boys wanted to know which book I had sticking out of the top of my bag. Even though I am fortunate enough to receive new graphic novels and comics pretty regularly, I am much more fortunate for my family. And so are my reviews. Aged to my review-writing's perfection the boys are three and eight years old.  

Both boys wanted to read, talk about, and reread First Second's Fairy Tale Comics. So, without further ado that speaks for itself. The review is written. Kid tested. Mother approved. Family-friendly reading at its best Fairy Tale Comics is more than classroom worthy.  It's a family-friendly read that's sure to garner more than conversation and rereading retell requests. Later that night, tucked into bed both boys went to bed pretending to sleep, but, as we snuck up to their door, we heard them actually whispering and retelling the stories they liked the most. Details and all. Reading and writing at its best Fairy Tale Comics is full of family and classroom reading and writing potential. So, parents please share this book with your child’s teacher. And teachers please share this book with your child’s family.    
English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plots: A variety of fairy tale plots are retold by well-respected and well known cartoonists.  

Themes: Retelling, Problem-solving, Tradition, Identity, Good and Evil, Family and Friends, Right and Wrong, Decision-making, Belief and Disbelief

Literary Pairing Suggestions: Aesop's Fables, Grimm's Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Hans' Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen  

Some Teaching Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Early Readers and Young Adult Readers

Craft and Structure*
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
* The number referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)

Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:

The lesson plan for this book is fun to write, for it contains two lesson plan ideas teachers can choose from: teaching early readers with Fairy Tale Comics and/or teaching young adult readers with Fairy Tale Comics.  

The new Common Core Standards emphasize textual features in order to aid students to better understand and comprehend the craft and structure of various types of 21st century literary texts.  

For Early or Young Adult Readers:
Select one of the retold fairy tale stories from Fairy Tale Comics. Ideally each of your students will also have a copy of the text. If not, find a way to project the story onto a screen in your classroom, visible for all students to see. Read the selected story with your students and ask comprehension and prediction questions as you move through the text. [You may want to read the text more than once for greater comprehension]. Finally, either individually or in groups present students with cut out images of the characters, settings, plot, key events, and so on (which you can put in a baggie for student use). Again groups or as individuals offer students a large piece of paper or poster board and ask them to retell the story as they remember it, putting the cut-out images in the order in which they recall them occurring in the story. Lastly, and after given ample amount of time, ask students to share their story recreations with each other.   

For Young Adult Readers:
For young adult readers it may be beneficial to not only read a selected story from Fairy Tale Comics, but also offer them cut-out images of the plot, characters, settings, and key events from another story they have not yet read. Since they are a bit older ask them to piece this new story together given the baggie of context clues you have provided them. When finished students can both share their new story creations with their peers, and, finally, students can enjoy reading the Fairy Tale Comics version of the story you had chosen for them to recreate before reading. 

Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida.  Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014).  When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.