Monkey, A Trickster Tale from India: Gerald McDermott

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India

Author/Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 2011
Brief Summary: The clever monkey tricks the crocodile into giving him rides to the mango trees.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss trickster tales.  What are their characteristics?  Read other trickster tales by Gerald McDermott.
  • Is there a moral to this story?  What did the monkey say to the crocodile at the end?  What did he mean?
  • If you were the monkey, how would you cross the river?  Play a game with the students where they have to cooperate with each other to solve the problem.  For example, give teams of students the same objects like a rope, a scooter, a beach towel, etc., and challenge them to get their entire team across the river (the playground or the classroom) without touching the ground or the “water” (unless they want to be eaten by the crock!).  Teams who touch the ground by accident must start over. What does this game teach us?  Creative problem-solving, teamwork, etc.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  

Accessed at: Capilano Library

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Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business: Esphyr Slobodkina

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business

Author/Illustrator: Esphyr Slobodkina
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Year: 1987
Brief Summary: A peddler loses his collection of caps to a group of mischievous monkeys.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Talk about different color/pattern caps…give children each a cap template and have them design the caps.
  • Math – counting number of caps; make a number pattern with the different caps.  Given four different colors, what kind of patterns can the hats be arranged?

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.   

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Gator Gumbo: Candace Fleming

Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-hot Tale

Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Sally Anne Lambert
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publication Year: 2004
Brief Summary: An aging alligator cooks up his maman’s recipe for spicy gumbo, getting no help from the skunk, possum, or otter.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

 Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
  • Science/cooking: Use the recipe in the back of the book and cook it in a crock-pot.  (Give students’ a week’s notice so they can sign up for ingredients.)  Instead of possum, skunk and otter, what can we use as substitute?
  • Does this story remind you for another story?  (Little Red Hen)  What are some similarities/differences in…Plot? Setting?  Characters?  Ending?
  • Discuss swamp animals — students can research animals mentioned in the book and write about special characteristics
  • Swamps — what are the characteristics of this setting?
  • Social Studies: Louisiana/Cajun culture.  Facts, food, people, history, etc.

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Art, science, social studies connections
  • Text-to-text connections

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Duffy and the Devil: Harve & Margot Zemach

When Clay Sings

Author/Illustrator: Harve & Margot Zemach
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publication Year: 1973
Brief Summary: In this Cornish version of Rumpelstiltskin, Duffy makes a deal with the devil and has to go with him unless she can guess his name.

Awards, Honors and Prizes: Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1974 Winner United States

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
  • Discuss folktales.  Does this one remind you of another classic folktale?  (Rumpelstiltskin) Read Rumpelstiltskin by Paul Zelinsky and see which version you prefer.  Can you point out any similarities/differences?

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Language Arts: folktales
  • text-to-text connections

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.

Accessed at:  Signal Mountain Library

Zomo the Rabbit: Gerald McDermott

Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa

Author/Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Publication Year: 1992
Brief Summary: Zomo the Rabbit goes out in search of wisdom.  In his quest, he meets Big Fish, Wild Cow, and Leopard.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:

  • How is Zomo the Rabbit clever?  What tricks does he play to get what he needs?
  • What does the Sky God think of Zomo’s tricks?  Does he think Zomo’s wise?  What lesson does this story try to teach us?
  • Have you ever played a trick on someone?  Write/illustrate about what happened.
  • Introduce folktales and their dual functions: teach moral and explain something in nature.  In addition to the lesson it teaches, what does this folktale explain? (why rabbits are fast)

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Text-to-self connections
  • Language arts: folktales

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at:  Signal Mountain Library

Just a Minute: Yuyi Morales

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Author/Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Year: 2003
Brief Summary: Learn how to count in English and Spanish as Grandma Beetle stalls Senor Calavera, who arrives to take her way on the day of her birthday.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:

  • counting in English and Spanish; have kids make a bilingual number mini-book
  • look into Mexican culture…how does this family celebrate a birthday?  How is this different from how we celebrate birthdays?  Do you have special birthday traditions in your house?

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Social studies: Mexican culture
  • Math: counting

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library