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The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Stupid Fairy Tales

Last updated Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Author: Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Date of Publication: 1992
ISBN: 9780670844876
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2011

Synopsis: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales retells--and wreaks havoc on--the allegories we all thought we knew by heart. In these irreverent variations on well-known themes, the ugly duckling grows up to be an ugly duck, and the princess who kisses the frog wins only a mouthful of amphibian slime. The Stinky Cheese Man deconstructs not only the tradition of the fairy tale but also the entire notion of a book. Our naughty narrator, Jack, makes a mockery of the title page, the table of contents, and even the endpaper by shuffling, scoffing, and generally paying no mind to structure. Characters slide in and out of tales; Cinderella rebuffs Rumpelstiltskin, and the Giant at the top of the beanstalk snacks on the Little Red Hen. There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart--just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love.

Note to readers:
•  The book you are about to read is a collection of 10 familiar stories which are similar to the traditional fairy tales most of us have heard, but they each have a special twist to them. The book is very comical and entertaining. It contains many elements, which make the reader want to turn the page to see what the author will come up with next. The narrator, Jack, takes one through the book, and in and out of the odd fairy tales. While he is trying to narrate the book, he runs into difficulties with some of the characters. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales does not have the structure of a traditional book. For instance, the Table of Contents is found after some of the stories have already been told. Also, there are blank pages throughout the book due to problems Jack had with some of the characters. The illustrations are very funny and do not have very much structure just like the story.
With all this in mind, it is left to YOU the reader to decide what and how much of the book you would like to read to the kids. There is no right or wrong decision; there are just so many possibilities. This book truly challenges the imagination of all age groups. It is truly a picture book for all ages. SO HAVE FUN!!!

Discussion topics:
•  Who are the characters in the stories?
•  What happens in the beginning of the story?The middle? The end?
•  What is your favorite part of the story? Why?
•  Who is your favorite character?Why?
•  Is there a character in the story you dont like? What makes you dislike this character?

Vocabulary Selection:
•  PATHETIC -- causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful;
•  SLIME -- any ropy or viscous liquid matter, especially of a foul kind;
•  NARRATOR -- a person who gives an account or tells the story of events, experiences, etc.
•  SQUASHED -- to press into a flat mass or pulp; crush; to suppress or put down; to silence (someone).
•  DUCKLING -- a young duck.
•  ILLUSTRATOR -- an artist who makes illustrations; a person or thing that illustrates.
•  TORTOISE -- a turtle, especially a terrestrial turtle; a very slow person or thing.

Craft ideas:
Bring magazines & fabrics to cut pictures & make collages like the illustrations, such as:
- regular ducks & a crazy looking duck
- draw a frog with a big tongue & paste small pictures of insects on it
- phrases for your own story like Jacks
- use cut up strips of fabrics for the mattresses & Cinderellas dress
Have the kids make puppets using their own unique interpretations of the characters from the stories.
The shell for all puppets is as follows:
1. Look at your paper bag. It should be closed and flat like a piece of paper. Just like when they are brand new.
2. On one side, it's all smooth. This will be the BACK of your puppet. It's important that all the kids get the back and front straight at the beginning!
3. On the other side there's a flippy tab (which is typically the bottom of the bag when you're carrying your lunch around...) This flippy tab will be the puppet's HEAD.
4. Lift the flippy tab up a bit. Underneath of the FLAP will be the puppet's mouth, When the child puts her hand in the bag, she'll be able to make the puppet talk.
5. Look at the rest of the front of the bag. (The 3/4 or so of the bag below the part with the flippy tab) This will be the BODY.
6. Look at the sides of the bag. There should be a SIDE FLAP of paper. We'll be slipping the arms into this flap. (If the kids goof and glue the arms onto the front or back of the bag, it is not a big deal.)
Once the basic shell for the puppet is complete, then each child can decorate using its own unique interpretations of the characters from the stories.

*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!