Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fractured Fairy Tales

If there is one thing kids know, it's how the story goes.
You know, the story you've read to them several times,
and that they've heard at school, and maybe at the library.
The story, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or The Three
Little Pigs, that they've seen in cartoons, or in a puppet show,
or even acted out themselves.
And kids with autism really know the story, down to the hair
on its chinny chin chin. And kids with autism don't like change, so you don't change the story. Ever.
Except when you do. And they love it.
That is, you don't accidentally read the wrong word, 
because that is upsetting and may require some 
discussion and some serious calming actions. 
You can deliberately change the story and that just might be the funniest and best thing ever if your kid thinks that changing just one word in a well known phrase is a terrific joke (mine does).
And when you get Mo Willems getting all meta with Goldilocks
and introducing Norwegian dinosaurs into the mix you get a pretty great book. 
And Corey Rosen Schwartz manages to keep up the rhymes
for her entire silly riff with the three pigs and their foray into martial arts-and you know how important rhyme can be to a kid with autism.
And Ahlberg finds half a dozen ways to get Goldilocks into trouble with tabs to pull and flaps to lift and who doesn't like doing that?
(warning: this book seems suited to a gentle, not overly physical reader)
Have I mentioned before that I was convinced my son did not have autism because the article they gave me said kids with autism did not have a sense of humor? Well, these books exactly suit his (supposedly nonexistent) sense of humor, 
and may do so for your kids too. 
Here are that boy's reviews and the full title of Ahlberg's book:

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz Illustrated by Dan Santat
"There once were three ninja pigs. The first one took beginner aikido. The second one took jujitsu and learned how to block and punch. The last one chose the art of karate. Near the end, they learned that ninjas rule! They devoted themselves to their training."

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
"There once were three dinosaurs. They cooked three bowls of chocolate pudding. Goldilocks came to the dinosaurs’ house.  She thought it was the bears’ house. She ate the chocolate pudding that was too hot. She ate the chocolate pudding that was too cold. All three chairs were too tall. I think the book is strange because it’s different from the original story. It’s funny."

and the Three Bears
and the 33 Bears
and the Bliim
and the Furniture
Words Allan Ahlberg  Pictures Jessica Ahlberg

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Autism Blogs.


  1. I've just finished Huff and Puff (another take on the 3 little pigs for smaller children)by Claudia Rueda and Wolf Wolf by John Rocco a story of the boy who cried wolf set in a Oriental setting. Nice. I can't get enough of the retold fairy tales.

  2. Just wrote about Huff & Puff today, great pick for little ones or beginning readers who want to read a whole book by themselves: