Monday, August 13, 2007

Finding Myself in the Classroom Library

I haven't seen my class list for this coming year, but I am almost sure to have students from Mexico, Japan or Korea, the Indian subcontinent, and perhaps several more countries or cultures. It is a struggle to make sure that every child I teach can find him or herself in the books in my classroom library.

Several new picture books from Marshall Cavendish will help me with this goal.

The Furry-Legged Teapot by Tim Myers is a version of a Japanese folktale in which a tanuki (a Japanese raccoon-dog) transforms himself into a teapot. In Myers' tale, the tanuki gets stuck in teapot form until he meets the Emperor and his grandson.

The Three Cabritos by Eric Kimmel is an original retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, "with a Texas twist." A cabrito is a "young goat" in Spanish, and the monster under the bridge in this tale is a chupacabra, a legendary "goat sucker" or vampire monster first reported in Puerto Rico.

I'll have to get some help from my students (if they are literate in Spanish) or our ELL teacher with Sopa de Cactus, also by Eric Kimmel. This one is written in Spanish! In the author's note (Nota del autor) I see something something Revolucion Mexicana, something something Pancho Villa y Emiliano Zapata. So besides being what appears to be a folktale, perhaps a Stone Soup variation, this one might have some Mexican cultural and political history woven in.


  1. Glad I found you guys! I have put a link to you on my blog. Hope you don't mind!

  2. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Is that Alfred E. Newman on the cover of Sopa de Cactus?

  3. Anonymous10:47 PM

    Cece (Bell) once made a pop-up version of the folktale that inspired Furry Legged Teapot. (Being Cece she made it huge and unwieldy and impossible to even submit to a publisher.)

    It was a whacked-out story as I recall, so it's pretty neat that someone has done something with it. Hope it catches on...


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