Publishing: Viking, New York, 2007
Description: Scieszka and Smith have teamed up to write seven stories about the friendship between an octopus and a cowboy. The stories contain the same offbeat humor found in The Stinky Cheese Man. The story line might not be quite as strong, but I think kids will still appreciate the humor and take away the morals hidden within it. The illustrations appear to be done as a collage, with cartoon-like images of the octopus and cowboy, but real pictures of items such as the baked beans and lettuce. The endpapers even complete the theme with one page of dusty brown symbols for the cowboy and one page of blue sea shells for the octopus.
Programming: This website does a better job of providing thorough teaching connections than I ever could.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Publishing: Viking, New York, 1992
Awards: Caldecott Honor
Description: This book is hilarious. Even the cover and endpapers buck traditional storytelling, and I was laughing from the moment I opened it until the moment I closed it. Scieszka and Smith have created several anti-fairy-tales that are extremely entertaining to read. They utilize every aspect of the book, from font size and placement to the end papers and title page to continue their theme. Even the author’s bios on the end flap are humorous. I only feel sad that I did not read this book sooner. This will definitely go on my top 100.
Programming: This would be good to read after reading some of the traditional tales, such as Jack and Beanstalk and the ugly duckling. Have students compare how the versions are different. I’m still brainstorming other programming ideas…suggestions welcome…