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Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


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Previously PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
Previously is a very clever book with lots of humor.
• It is an imaginative twist as to what happened before each fairy tale.
Previously gives young children a chance to think about history, to understand that something "came before".
Sweet Book Summary:
This book is quite clever. Allan Ahlberg has written a story about fairy tales in which he cheerfully surmises about what happened before each tale. Fairy tales are very important as children are acquiring literacy while at the same time they are also learning that life can sometimes be complicated. Some of us may dismiss them as old-fashioned, but that would be a mistake. Fairy tales become very familiar to children, and as they enjoy them they help them to become more literate. If a child is familiar with a story, it can be used to teach many elements important for the aquisition of reading skills, including story-telling, sequencing, character development and so on. Fairy tales are also often used in preschool and kindergarten classes as jumping off points to other areas of curriculum. For example, the Three Bears may be used to do math activities involving measurement. If your child is not familiar with The Three Bears, they may not get the most out of that lesson.

In Previously Ahlberg take it a step further. He has taken the traditional fairy tales and made a story about what happened "before". For example, Ahlberg surmises that before Goldilocks was breaking someone else's chair, she was "having a little skip by herself in the dark woods...where she had bumped into a hurling and older boy named Jack." He also surmises that after Jack and Jill fell down the hill, they saw a little frog wearing a crown, sitting on their windowsill. Would it surprise you to hear that previously the frog was a prince who fell in love with Cinderella? Ahlberg proposes many creative ideas and weaves the fairy tales together to form this charming story. Bruce Ingman's illustrations make a witty backdrop to this already amusing tale.

An important teaching element of this story is the idea that it explains about what occurred before the story even began. History is a hard, abstract concept for young children. But this story helps the young reader to grasp it, to think about the things that happened previously, to think about the origins of the stories. In order to make the most of this clever story, a previous knowledge of fairy tales is essential. OR you can just enjoy it as a funny read-aloud.
Author: Allan Ahlberg Illustrator: Bruce Ingman Published: 2011, 32 pages
Themes: Excellent Read-Aloud, Exquisite Illustrations, Humor, Imagination, Fairy Tales
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Which fairy tale is your favorite? Why?
Do some fairy tales frighten you? Why" Do you understand that they are not real?
• Do you have a story you love to read again and again? What is it?
• If you do, can you think about the start of that story and then imagine what happened before?
• Can you write your own Previously story?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
A First Book of Fairy Tales, Mary Hoffman
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Emma Chichester Clark
Falling for Rapunzel, Leah Wilcox
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

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