Here is my first blog of the summer. Since I haven't been around much this year, my goal is to post at least three times a week until I start back to work in August. There, I have written it and will be sending it out into blogging land, so I am committed. Feel free to remind me of my ambitious plans in mid-July when I am in danger of falling far short of my goal.
Matt reminded me of a book recently that Isaac giggled over repeatedly when we checked it out of the library. This book is one that we still talk about even though we have not read it in about two years. Ivan the Terrier by Peter Catalanotto is a gem of a children's book. Adults and kids alike can appreciate the humor and it is a great introduction for young children to classic folktales.
Ivan is an adorable dog who loves a good story. He loves them so much that he runs right in and takes them over, interrupting the plot and wreaking havoc with the characters.
Catalanotto (try typing that three times fast) begins this book as a retelling of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff", but Ivan runs onto the page soon after the retelling has begun and chases the goats away. The narrator begins a new story, this time "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," with the same results. This sequence is repeated with "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Gingerbread Boy."
Ivan's antics had Isaac asking for this book every night while we had it checked out. Fractured folktales are often a hit with children because they take a well-loved story and turn it on its head. But typically this sub-genre sticks with one story per book.
Catalanotto doesn't retell the stories as much as he uses them as background for his lovable dog, but the familiar characters add to the humor because the reader's expectations are replaced by new twists and turns determined by Ivan.
Isaac and I will be visiting the library often this summer and we will be scanning the stacks for this book. I think it's time for a re-reading.