State-of-the-art CGI, the fabulously feisty Helena Bonham Carter Fairy Godmother , and the stunning Cate Blanchett evil stepmother combine to bring the magic of the beloved story to larger-than-life. I walked in expecting several ingenious plot twists to accommodate a politically-correct feminist narrative in the new Disney tradition of Brave and Frozen ; there were none.
The film stayed refreshingly true to the original story. And it charmed the socks off the largely female and juvenile audience. But that isn't supposed to happen, is it? Ever since Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm began collecting and publishing folktales from the German countryside some years ago, fairy tales have come under so much flak that it is a wonder they have even survived, let alone thrived. First, even though the folktales they became 'fairy tales' only when they were published in English many years later were targeted at adults, people objected to the high levels of violence and sex in them in the original Snow White , it is her mother, not her stepmother, who orders the huntsman to kill her daughter and bring her liver back for her to eat wait, what?
Hitler added his two pfennigs to the mix by urging every German child to read the Grimm tales the sanitised, for-kids version, i. Years later, students of Jung and Freud saw what else but shades of female sexual awakening which begins with fear and disgust and ends in joyful ecstasy in the transformation of the Beast to the handsome prince, and the struggle of the adolescent female to break free from a loving but controlling mother in the stepmother-stepdaughter conflicts. In the seventies, American feminists burnt the books metaphorically speaking along with their bras non-metaphorically speaking , after their research uncovered a patriarchal conspiracy roiling beneath the stories' flat plotlines.
Women everywhere bought into this interpretation — yet another stick to bash the men with! Go, sistahs! Here's the thing, though. Fairy tales, and especially princess fairy tales, have endured. So what's going on? Are the women in the audience completely missing the subtext? Or is it that we've been looking at fairy tales all wrong, and the bad rap the stories get in the sexism department is somewhat undeserved? There are some very good reasons to favour the latter argument. For instance:.
What do you think? Is this oversimplifying, glossing over, reaching? A little. But nothing like challenging the stereotypes about stereotypes to shake things up a little, wot? Roopa Pai 04 May For instance: From the very titles of the more popular princess stories — Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel — it is clear that they feature girls in lead roles.
How many Bollywood or Hollywood movies can claim to do that? In fact, making a Princess movie seems to be the shortest route to casting a female lead. Any men that feature in the stories would not even qualify for a 'Best Supporting' award, so completely marginal are they to the story. Also, most have to work to win the heroine's favour — the Beast has to become less of a boor; Cinderella's prince uses up unconscionable amounts of taxpayer dollars in canvassing the length and breadth of the kingdom with a glass slipper; Rapunzel's prince gets a serious workout each night climbing the tower, of course — what were you thinking?
Guess who's wearing the pants in those relationships! What are some other things fairy tale spiders might have to wear pants with eight legs? How would a spider ride a bicycle? Would it catch a ball using its web? Write a fairy tale about a spider, and remember: everything that you do with two arms and two legs, a spider has to do with eight legs. Twiddle Little Boy Narrator: Once there was a very powerful emperor.
He ruled over a huge land. But there was something that he was secretly embarrassed about. He didn t have one single hair on his head. The Emperor felt that he needed to wear wigs. He had more than a hundred of them in a special closet. They were the finest wigs and could easily be mistaken for real hair. One day a traveling salesperson showed up at the Emperor s castle with a very unusual product. Emperor: What are you selling today?
Make it quick, because I have a huge empire to run. Salesperson: Oh, great Emperor, I have traveled here today with an amazing new product. It s called Hair Today Magic Potion. That s not all! Emperor touching his wig : Why would I need it? As you can see, I have a full head of hair. Salesperson: Yes, your hair is very nice indeed. But perhaps you have a friend who could use this potion.
I used to be bald myself. Emperor: I ll take a hundred bottles. It s for my bald friend, of course. Each night before he went to bed, he d take off his wig and put three drops on his very shiny head. Each morning, he d talk to his two advisors, Mr. Twiddle and Mr. They were the only people the Emperor trusted. He d ask them if the Hair Today Magic Potion was working. Twee wanted to make the Emperor happy. They wanted to keep their jobs. So they told the Emperor what they believed he wanted to hear.
Emperor: What do you think, my trusted advisors, Twiddle and Twee? Do you think the potion is working? Twiddle: Oh, I do. I definitely notice a difference. Twee: Yes, you are starting to grow just a few hairs. Emperor: Only a few? Twee: Well, when I say a few, I mean, like, maybe twenty. Twiddle: Or maybe fifty. They re very nice-looking hairs, I might add. Emperor: Yes. I see them, too. Narrator: The Emperor continued to use the potion.
And his two trusted advisors continued to tell him that the potion was working. As the days went by, they began to tell more and more extravagant lies to the Emperor. Soon they even began to believe the lies themselves. Is the potion working yet? Twiddle: Is it working? Are you kidding? You have grown a thick head of beautiful hair. Twee: Yes, your hair is thick and straight and brown Twiddle: Well, I would say it s more wavy than straight.
And it s more golden than brown. Twee: But you have a lot of it. It s thick, no question. Twiddle: Yes, you can throw away your wigs. You don t need them anymore. Twee: In fact, if I do say so myself, Emperor, you need a haircut. Emperor: A haircut! How wonderful. My hair is long and thick and black and curly. Twee: Actually, it s golden and wavy. Emperor: So it is. It s long and thick and golden and wavy. Twiddle: And shiny. Emperor: And shiny. It s long and thick and golden and wavy and shiny, and I need a haircut. Fetch me the imperial hairdresser at once. Narrator: Twiddle and Twee ran off to find the imperial hairdresser.
When they found the hairdresser, they described the Emperor s new hair in great detail. By now, they were so caught up in their lie that they completely believed it themselves. And soon, they had the imperial hairdresser convinced that the Emperor had long thick golden wavy hair that needed to be cut. Imperial Hairdresser: Oh, Emperor, what a fine head of hair you have.
Emperor blushing : Thank you, thank you. Right now, there s a bit too much of it. It s just a little too long and thick and golden and wavy and shiny. Imperial Hairdresser: It will be a pleasure to trim it. I will make you look fabulous! The haircut required many hours of snipping and clipping and fussing and worrying and blow-drying. But at last, the imperial hairdresser was finished. Imperial Hairdresser: Well, what do you think? Emperor: Maybe just a little more off the back.
Narrator: The imperial hairdresser carefully clipped the scissors near the back of the Emperor s head. Imperial Hairdresser: Now what do you think? Emperor: Perfect! Twiddle: What a great style! Twee: Everyone in the kingdom will want to get the same haircut. Imperial Hairdresser: You look fabulous, Emperor, absolutely fabulous! Twiddle: We should have a parade to show off your new hairstyle. Twee: Yes, it will be inspiring for the people to see an emperor with hair that s so long and thick and golden and wavy and shiny. Narrator: And so Twiddle and Twee arranged an elaborate parade.
There were jugglers and soldiers and horses. At the tail end of the parade, the Emperor marched proudly. He wasn t wearing his crown. He wanted everyone to gaze at his wonderful new hairstyle. As he passed through his empire, Twiddle, Twee, and the imperial hairdresser called out to the townspeople. Twiddle: Everyone, behold the Emperor s new hair. Twee: Look at how golden it is! Look at how thick it is! Imperial Hairdresser: The Emperor looks fabulous!
Have you ever seen such fabulousness? Little Boy: He doesn t have any hair. Townspeople: And shiny! The Emperor s hair is very shiny. Little Boy slightly louder : He doesn t have any hair! Townspeople begin to chant : The Emperor s hair is fabulous! The Emperor s hair is fabulous! Little Boy loudly : Can t you people see? The Emperor doesn t have a hair on his head! Townspeople gasping : The Emperor doesn t have any hair! Emperor: I don t have any hair!
Narrator: At first, the Emperor was embarrassed. But he was also glad that someone was honest enough to tell him. He called for the little boy to come out of the crowd. Emperor: Little boy, you were the only one who was brave enough to tell me the truth. Little Boy: Well, you are still very handsome, Emperor. You look cool without any hair. Emperor: Thank you. That s very kind. Narrator: The Emperor asked the little boy to walk beside him in the parade. The little boy became a trusted advisor and true friend to the Emperor. The Emperor stopped using magic hair-growth potions.
He gave away his wigs to a family of traveling circus clowns. From that point forward, the Emperor worked to run his empire kindly and wisely. No one cared that he didn t have any hair. In fact, most people thought he looked quite handsome. Twiddle and Twee even shaved their heads to look just like the Emperor.
Andersen was a Danish writer who lived during the nineteenth century. The fractured version of The Emperor s New Clothes and the original share the same themes. In both, everyone is afraid to tell the Emperor the truth. But a little boy speaks up and is rewarded for his honesty. Vocabulary Boosters This story contains several words that may be new to your class: emperor noun : the leader of a kingdom or a large territory batch noun : a group or set of things extravagant adj. Discussion Starters In The Emperor s New Hair and in the original , matters get out of hand when people are afraid to tell the truth.
Is it important to tell the truth? Can telling the truth also be dangerous? Ask your students if it s possible to get into trouble by telling someone the truth. How does one decide when to tell the truth and when to spare someone s feelings? What if you could create your own magic potion? What would you call it and what would it do? Create an advertisement that describes the benefits of your potion. Create your own fractured version of The Emperor s New Clothes.
He was getting old, so the farmer told him it was time to retire. The donkey had always dreamed of being a rapper. So he decided to run away to Brementown to try to make it in the music business. He walked along the road for a while and came upon an old hound dog. Donkey: How are you doing?
Dog: Not so well, not so well. I m tired of living out here in the middle of nowhere. Donkey: You should come with me. I m on the way to Brementown. I m going to become a rapper. Dog: I d love to come along. If we re going to be rappers, we should start talking real cool. And we need new rapper names. I ll be Donkey MC. Dog: I hear you, my donkey. From now on, you can call me Fun-Luvin Dawg. Narrator: The donkey and the dog continued to walk down the road. And they had cool new walks now, too. The donkey used to walk in a slow, tired way.
Now Donkey MC galloped like a prize stallion. The old hound dog used to drag his belly on the ground. But Fun-Luvin Dawg walked in a sly way, like a fox. Soon the two friends met up with a mangy old cat with messy fur and drooping whiskers. Donkey MC: How s it going, my fine feline friend? Fun-Luvin Dawg: Yo, cat. Can I get a me-ooooow! Cat: What is with you two? You re acting weird. Donkey MC: We re going to Brementown.
We re going to become rappers. Fun-Luvin Dawg: This is your chance to be a cool cat.
Cat: That sounds fun. I m certainly not enjoying being a farm cat. The farmer says I m getting too old. I d love to visit Brementown. Donkey MC: Come along with us, then. But first you have to think of a cool rapper name. Cat: From now on, you can call me Kitty-O. Narrator: The three animals walked down the road.
The cat had a new walk now, too. Instead of being a scurrying furball, Kitty-O started to slink like a tiger. Pretty soon, the animals ran into a rooster. Donkey MC: How s it crowing, my fine feathered friend? Fun-Luvin Dawg: Yo, rooster. Can I get a cock-a-doodle-doooo?! Kitty-O: What s up? You three are acting really, really weird. Fun-Luvin Dawg: This is your chance to strut your stuff. Kitty-O: Hey-o. Rooster: That sounds fun. The farmer says I m getting too old to wake him up with my crowing. He just bought a new alarm clock. I ll show him! Donkey MC: Come along with us, then, but first you have to give yourself a cool rapper name.
Rooster: From now on, you can call me Da Roosta. Narrator: The four animals continued down the road. Now the rooster also had a new walk. Instead of lurching awkwardly around the farmyard, Da Roosta walked with a proud strut, like a peacock. But it was a long way to Brementown. Soon night was falling. The animals were growing tired and hungry. There was a house in the distance with lights on. The animals walked up to the house.
There were robbers sorting through their loot. Spread out on the table was all kinds of delicious food. Donkey MC: Yo, check out those hoodlums. Fun-Luvin Dawg: Let me at em. Da Roosta: They re going to regret the day they met Da Roosta. Kitty-O: I m hungry! Donkey MC: Hush.
I got a plan. Narrator: Donkey MC s plan was to make up a rap song. The animals practiced in a whisper so that the robbers couldn t hear them. Donkey MC, Fun-Luvin Dawg, Kitty-O, Da Roosta loudly : Yo, yo, we come from da farm And it s cause for alarm We re the animal crew And we re here to tell you If you re a robber or crook You re just no good in our book You best run home to your mamas And put on your pajamas Narrator: The robbers were startled by four farm animals rapping very loudly.
They ran out of the house in a fright. After they were gone, the animals went inside and feasted on the food and slept in the beds. The next day, they walked into Brementown. When they arrived, they were surprised to learn that they were heroes. People had heard about how they scared away the robbers.
The four animals were immediately given a record contract. They made a video that played on MTV and also on various nature channels. They even went on tour with a group of robots who had formed a heavy metal band. The Brementown Rappers went on to have five number-one songs. Bray, bray, bray! Who let the Hound out? Bark, bark, bark! Who let the Cat out? Purr, purr, purr! Who let the Rooster out? Crow, crow, crow! It also features a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster. They are tired of life on the farm and feel underappreciated by their owners.
The four set off to Brementown to make their fortunes as musicians. Along the way, they encounter a band of robbers. They scare them off with their singing. The fractured version differs by having the animals become rappers. Another twist: they become famous recording artists, whereas the original Brementown musicians merely lived happily ever after.
Vocabulary Boosters This story contains several words that may be new to your class: feline adj. Discussion Starters Before they became rappers, the four animals were not respected on their farms. The farmers thought they were too old. Ask your students if they have encountered similar situations, in which other people did not believe in their abilities. What kinds of things can be done to shake things up? Is it good to try something new like the Brementown Rappers did? The four animals adopted nicknames when they became rappers.
Inquire whether any of the students have nicknames. Do they like them? What s the secret to coming up with a good nickname? Writing Prompts Think of some other rapper names for various animals. Write down rap songs these animals might sing. The story featured rapping farm animals. Imagine a different kind of animal adventure.
Maybe a group of animals could form a football team or put on a play. Write about their adventure. When the elephants grew old enough, they went out into the world to live on their own. The first little elephant built a small wooden shack. One day, there was a knock at the door. Big Bad Mouse: Knock, knock, knock. First Elephant: Who s there? Open up at once!
First Elephant can t hear the mouse : Hello? Is anybody out there? First Elephant mutters to self : That s strange. Someone knocked on my door. But whoever it was, they seem to have gone away. Narrator: The Big Bad Mouse was frustrated. So he wrote a note and slipped it under the elephant s door.
It read: Squeak, squeak, squeak. I m the Big Bad Mouse. I ll rip up your garden. I ll tear down your house. I ll tug on your tail. I ll pull on your ears. I m mighty and mean. I m the worst of your fears. Later that day the elephant found the note. Oh, no. I ve never seen a mouse. But it sounds very scary.
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel
I imagine that it must be giant, much larger than an elephant. I ll bet it has big yellow eyes and long sharp teeth. Oh, no! There s a Big Bad Mouse on the loose! I must run away before it comes back to my house! I must run for my life! Narrator: The elephant ran through the wooden shack, tripping over tables and bumping into chairs. The terrified elephant left through the back door and ran all the way to the second elephant s house. The second elephant lived in a brick house.
It was larger than the first elephant s wooden shack. It also had a doorbell, which the first elephant rang. Ring, ring! Second Elephant: Hello? Who s there? First Elephant: It s me. I am so scared. There s a mouse on the loose. Can I stay at your house? Please, please! Second Elephant: A mouse! I imagine that a mouse must be gigantic with a long tail and sharp claws.
Come inside quickly and lock the door behind you. The two elephants sat in frightened silence. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. The two elephants looked at each other and their terror grew. Who could it be? First Elephant: I m not answering it. Second Elephant: Don t look at me. I m not answering it either. Narrator: The Big Bad Mouse kept ringing the bell, but no one answered. Finally, he grew frustrated and slipped a note under the door. Second Elephant reading note : Oh, no! This is terrifying! Now the Big Bad Mouse has come to my house. First Elephant: Oh, no! What will we do?
Where will we go? Second Elephant: There s a gigantic, frightening, fierce mouse on the loose. We must run for our lives! Narrator: The two terrified elephants stumbled out of the house, tangling up their legs, and tripping over one another. They left through the back door of the house. They didn t stop running until they arrived at the third elephant s house. The third elephant lived in an enormous mansion. It had a long driveway and a swimming pool. The two elephants rang the doorbell and James the Butler answered.
As soon as he opened the door, they ran past him, shouting and waving their arms wildly. First Elephant out of breath : Oh, my! It s horrible! It s terrifying! Second Elephant out of breath : Help us! Do something! Call for help! Call the police! Call the army! Now slow down and tell me what you re so frightened of. First Elephant and Second Elephant: A mouse!
Third Elephant: A mouse?! Why didn t you say so! But I imagine a mouse would be humongous, larger than this mansion. I think it might have scales and it might breathe fire. Narrator: The three elephants huddled in fear. They remained very still, listening with extreme care.
After a few minutes, the doorbell rang. Third Elephant: Don t answer it, James. James: Why not, Master Elephant? Third Elephant: It s a mouse, James! A humongous, terrifying, scaly, fire-breathing mouse! James: Don t be ridiculous. Mice are tiny furry creatures that scurry about and eat seeds and berries. Narrator: James went and opened the door. The three elephants were so frightened now that their eyes were popping out and their ears stood straight out from their heads.
James: Well, what have we here? A little tiny mouse. Big Bad Mouse in a tiny voice : Would you please deliver a message to the elephants? Please tell them: Squeak, squeak, squeak. I ll tug on your tails. James: Elephants. Come here. You must face your foe. I must say, he is not especially scary. The first and second elephants were looking over the shoulder of the third elephant. The three frightened elephants stared at the doorway, but no one appeared to be there besides James the Butler.
They looked to the left. They looked to the right. They looked up. Then they looked down. There, on the doorstep, stood a little tiny mouse.
First Elephant: But you re so small! Second Elephant: We ve never seen a mouse before. Third Elephant: You re really not very frightening at all. Mouse in a tiny voice : You re so huge. I did not know that this is the way you looked. You re very, very frightening. Eeeek, elephants! Narrator: And with that, the mouse scampered into the woods. At last, the elephants had seen that a mouse was very small.
They were never frightened of mice again. At last the mouse had learned that elephants are very large. The mouse never again threatened to rip up an elephant s garden or tear down an elephant s house. Everyone lived happily ever after. The tale was passed along for many years by oral tradition before anyone bothered to write it down.
Even so, there is no definitive telling, credited to an author such as Hans Christian Andersen. Instead, a huge variety of versions are to be found in various collections of children s stories. But most versions agree on the major points. Three little pigs are harassed by a big bad wolf. The wolf blows down a straw house and a house of sticks before the pigs are able to find safety in a brick house.
By contrast, this fractured version presents three elephants harassed by one very small mouse. They move to larger and larger houses until they are forced to confront the object of their terror. Vocabulary Boosters This story contains several words that may be new to your class: fierce adj.
Discussion Starters Elephants are rumored to be afraid of mice. Do you think this is true? Do you have any ideas or theories about why an elephant would be afraid of such a small creature? In the story, three huge elephants are afraid of one tiny mouse. But once they actually see the mouse, they aren t scared anymore.
Multicultural Fairy Tales -- The Stuff of Magic
Do you think that people often behave in a similar fashion? Are people often scared of things that they don t understand? Writing Prompts In the story, the three elephants lived in three different types of houses a small wooden shack, a large brick house, and a mansion. What types of things do you think would be inside an elephant s home? Choose one of the three houses from the story and describe it in detail. Everything is the opposite in this fractured fairy tale. The elephants are big and frightened.
The mouse is small and brave. Write a story full of opposites: tiny mountains, huge raindrops, friendly wolves, or mean bunnies. Each day, Mr. Cone parked his ice cream truck near a busy playground. Kids were everywhere. They loved to buy ice cream and other treats from Mr. Cone s truck. One day, a woman asked for an orange Popsicle for her little baby. Cone reached into his freezer and pulled one out. To everyone s surprise, just as Mr. Cone was handing the Popsicle to the lady, it started to move.
It was Popsicle Boy! Popsicle Boy wriggled free, jumped down from the truck, and started to run away. Little Baby crying and reaching out : Wah, wah, mine. My pasittle. Wah, wah. Popsicle Boy: You can whimper and whine till you re I m the Popsicle Boy and you ll never catch me. A girl who was jumping rope saw him and licked her lips hungrily. Jump-Rope Girl: It s my lucky day! I m tired from jumping rope. But here comes an orange Popsicle running right toward me.
Narrator: Popsicle Boy was running very fast now and he ran right past the jump-rope girl. Jump-Rope Girl: Wait! It s so hot, and you look so cool and tasty. Popsicle Boy: You can jump double Dutch till you re Narrator: There was a boy riding his bike around the playground. He was hot and tired, too. When he saw Popsicle Boy he was sure he could catch him on his bike. Boy on Bike: That has to be the fastest-moving Popsicle I have ever seen. But it s also my favorite flavor orange.
There s no way he can outrun my bike. Narrator: By now, Popsicle Boy was streaking through the playground at tremendous speed. The boy on the bike could not keep up. Boy on Bike pedaling hard : Wait! Hold on! No fair! It s so hot, and you look delicious!
Popsicle Boy: You can pedal around till you re Narrator: Popsicle Boy had run almost to the end of the playground. Suddenly, he was spotted by a dog. The dog began to chase after Popsicle Boy. Dog: Woof, woof, woof! Woof, woof, woof! Narrator: The dog got the closest to Popsicle Boy of anyone. In fact, the dog got close enough to take one big slurp.
But then even the dog could not keep up. It stopped running and started to pant underneath the hot sun. Pant, pant, pant. Popsicle Boy: You can slobber and howl till you re Narrator: Popsicle Boy had outrun everyone in the playground: the little baby, the jumprope girl, the boy on the bike, and the dog. He was free at last. He walked through the city for a while. Then he got on a bus. He rode out to the beach, where he lay down in the sand. Popsicle Boy: I will lie on this beach till I m I m the Popsicle Boy.
No one will ever catch me. Narrator: Popsicle Boy lay on the beach. The hot sun beat down on him. For a while, he enjoyed it. He thought perhaps he d get a good tan. But then he began to notice that something very strange was happening to him. Popsicle Boy: Please, oh, please.
Somebody help me! I m the Popsicle Boy and I m melting quickly. Oh, me, oh, my. Won t someone save me! I m a Popsicle Boy. I ll be wasted, you see! Narrator: All afternoon, the sun kept shining brightly. All afternoon, Popsicle Boy melted away. By the end of the day, all that was left of him was his stick, which was stuck in the middle of a bright orange pool. In the original, the Gingerbread Man jumps out of a pan and runs away.
He runs past a cow and a farmer. Each chases after him, hoping to catch him and eat him. But he escapes, saying, You can t catch me, I m the Gingerbread Man. But then the Gingerbread Man meets up with a fox who offers to help him cross a river. The fox tricks the Gingerbread Man and eats him instead.
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In this version, Popsicle Boy outruns everyone at the playground: the baby, the girl jumping rope, the boy on the bike, and the dog. But Popsicle Boy also gets tricked. He lies down on the beach and gets melted by the sun.
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Vocabulary Boosters This story contains several words that may be new to your class: whine verb : to complain in a childish way streak verb : to move very fast pant verb : to breathe quickly when one is tired or worn out Discuss these words with your students and invite them to use each in a sentence. Discussion Starters The Popsicle Boy outran everyone at the playground. But then he melted and was wasted. Did he make a mistake?
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Does this story teach any lessons about the importance of being true to oneself? What if different food items could talk? Ask your students what types of personalities different foods would have. Would onion rings be fun and acrobatic? Would green beans be serious and boring? Writing Prompts The Popsicle Boy always speaks in rhyme. Use the same style and have Popsicle Boy tell his life story. Who were his mother and father?
Maybe they were ice cream cones. And what are his favorite snacks? Remember to write Popsicle Boy s story in rhyming verse. Popsicle Boy is the story of a snack that tries to escape. Write your own story about a runaway food item. It can be anything, such as a pizza boy or a doughnut girl.