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Peter and the Wolf

Last updated Monday, August 28, 2006

Author: Vladimir Vagin
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0590386085
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2006

Synopsis: European comics artist Miguelanxo Prado describes his two life passions as "listening to and inventing stores, as well as painting." In this adaptation of the classic folk tale by Sergei Prokofiev, Prado combines these passions into a glorious work of art. The soft, shadowy colors give this redition of Peter and the Wolf the look of something from another time and place. The book begins with two full-page paintings. The first is Peter, the duck, the cat, and the bird staring into the dark woods; the point of view is from behind them, with the reader staring into the woods with them. Turn the page and you'll see the same scene from the opposite point of view, from within the woods, looking out at them. The depiction is powerfully stirring, and as Prado himself says in his introduction: "While folk tales are usually meant for children, they nonetheless possess a fascinating, evocative power for adults." Whether Peter and the Wolf is for you or your child, Prado's version is a great addition to your bookshelf.

Note to readers:
•  At Esperanza (and maybe other schools) the Saturday reading clubs will include a musical performance. This may tie in with this story. Volunteers should be looking for ways to tie the music in to their story time.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Before this story was a book, it was a piece of music. The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote his symphony Peter and the Wolf to tell the story of Peter and to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. In the symphony, each of the main characters is represented by a different instrument and a different melody. Ask the children if they have heard or seen any of the following instruments: violin, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, French horn, kettle drum, flute.
•  Where is Russia, where this story takes place? Find Russia on the map.
•  There are four animals in this story: a duck, a bird, a cat, and a wolf. Discuss with the children how these animals might move and which are hunters and which are hunted.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Does Peter obey his grandfather? Why not?
•  What do the bird and the mouse disagree about?
•  What kind of place does Peter live in? What kinds of toys does he have (use the illustrations)?
•  Is the wolf bad or just hungry and doing what wolves do?
•  What do you think of Peter?s plan to capture the wolf? Is Peter brave? Why is he brave?
•  Why doesn?t Peter want the hunters to kill the wolf?
•  Is the zoo a better place for the wolf?
•  How does Grandpapa feel about Peter at the end?

Craft ideas:
•  Have children move like the various animals.
•  Act out the story of Peter and the Wolf with the kids wearing their masks.
•  Have the children make the sounds of the characters and create a ?choir? of their voices.

Special activities:
•  Make a mask of one of the characters (Peter, the wolf, the duck, the bird)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!