Fairy tales are children’s stories about magical and imaginary beings and lands. They are usually short and simple, yet they can teach children about how stories work. In contrast, a fractured fairy tale is one that has been modified to make us laugh at a surprising twist or change in character, plot, or point of view.
It is just this kind of twist that made the makers of OFF!® Repellents wonder what would happen if fairy tale characters chose not to leave the house for a new adventure. So, they developed The Never Starting Tales, a collection of reinterpreted fairy tales that get kids thinking about how moving the story setting from outside to inside stops the adventure altogether.
The Never Starting Tales are free, full-color digital storybooks that your students can experience in several ways. Students can read the e-books online, complete with “turn the page” animation. Teachers can share the e-books on their digital whiteboards. Teachers, students, and families can also download the books as PDF files to devices, adding to your digital libraries.
Additionally, the stories are available in free audiobook form on the Never Starting Tales homepage or on Spotify. At 4-6 minutes each, they are just the right length of time to capture students’ attention and kick off a lesson.
We especially like how the Never Starting Tales serve as a super fun way to get kids thinking about how setting affects characters, plot, and outcomes. It also helps kids think about how staying inside means you’ll miss some great adventures. Here’s how we suggest using the Never Starting Tales in the classroom.
Fairy tales remind us that life is meant to be an adventure. They are the perfect foundation for understanding many literary techniques and parts of a story. As you read the story with your class, be sure to point out and define things like character and setting. As a way to introduce fractured fairy tales, ask them things such as: What do you think would have happened if Cinderella kept on cleaning and never went to the ball?
While your students are reading the corresponding Never Starting Tale, have them jot down the differences they see between the Never Starting Tale and the original fairy tale. Use these fractured Cinderella tales to give them other examples.
3. Analyze and discuss the differences between the original fairy tale and the fractured fairy tale.
Create a chart that has story-structure categories or anything else you want to compare. Then ask students to fill it in together and talk about their choices. Push them further by asking them to think about how and why all stories can be altered simply by changing the setting (the environment where it all takes place). Get them thinking about how going outdoors is what starts every adventure.
This quick video gives you a helpful summary of the Never Starting Tale based on Jack and the Beanstalk:
Are you ready for your free set of Never Starting Tales? Click the orange button below to get started.