The Children's Book Compass

Two Stories to Connect

Posted on: October 21, 2010

Ugly Pie by Lisa Wheeler.  Illus. by Heather Solomon.  Harcourt.  Pages not numbered.  Grades Preschool- 4.  Picture book.

It’s fall and the perfect time for a book about making an apple pie.  The first lines of this book capture the reader’s attention.

“Ol’ Bear woke up one morning with a hankerin’ for pie.  Not just any pie.  Ugly Pie. But the only ugly thing he had in his kitchen was some gooey sweet molasses.  It tasted just fine, but it wasn’t what Ol’Bear was itchin’ for.”

Ol’ Bear then goes through his neighborhood asking for “Ugly Pie.”  Each neighbor invites him to try some pie, but none of them are “Ugly Pie.”  So Ol” Bear keeps on his quest.  As he continues the neighbors give him some “ugly things” – raisins, apples, walnuts.  Finally he has enough to make his own “Ugly Pie.”  As he goes from house to house, he sings a fun song:

“Got the apples of my eye.

Ruby raisins-not too dry,

sweet molasses, my-oh-my!

But I’m still itchin’,

twitchin’, wishin”

for some Ugly Pie!”

O’ Bear finally makes a delicious “Ugly Pie” to share with a passel of neighbors.  The rich, lilting, rhythmic language will have children singing along with Ol’ Bear.  Solomon’s humorous illustrations add to the fun of the story and enhance the characterizations.  The perspectives in the pictures vary showing close-ups and bird-eye views of the action.  Best of all after enjoying the story children will want to make their own “Ugly Pie” from the recipe at the end of the story.

Wolf Pie by Brenda Seabrooke.  Illus. by Liz Callen.  Clarion Books.  48 pages.  Grades 1-4.  Beginning Chapter Book.

Connect Ugly Pie with Wolf Pie for more enjoyment.  This beginning chapter book is for accomplished second grade readers and those that love to hear a humorous story read aloud.  The story begins with three pig brothers building a new house.  While clad in a proper business suit with bow tie, James Pygg, is working hard on the brick walls.  His brothers, Marvin and Lester, are reading a book, “The Three Little Pigs.”  They build their house, strong and sturdy to keep out the wolf.  But Mr. Wolf comes anyway and threatens to blow their house down.  However, all his huffing and puffing doesn’t work so Mr. Wolf decides to not let the pigs out if they won’t let him in.  Throughout the winter he watches through the window while the pigs play games and read stories together.  He even joins in, asking questions about the stories and giving clues to answer the riddles.  When spring comes he begs to live with the pigs.

“I learned to sing.  I like your games and riddles and stories.  I don’t want to eat pigs anymore.  Your food is better. Please let me live with you.  I’ll be a good wolf, I promise.  I’m reformed.”

The pigs and the wolf become friends and live together.  They even fend off an attack from a pack of wolves.  Seabrooke has created a rollicking yarn.  Solomon’s comic illustrations comic illustrations add to the fun.  Children may want to create their own new versions of folktales.  Can the Three Billy Goats Gruff discover a peaceful co-existence with the Troll?

1 Response to "Two Stories to Connect"

Marilyn told me about this book around Thanksgiving time. I bought it and read it to my kindergarten class after Thanksgiving break. We talked about pies we had eaten for Thanksgiving and we graphed our favorite pies. They loved the patterned bear comments and recipe at the end. Next year, I want to make the pie with my kids and have a taste test! Gorgeous illustrations!

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Pointing the Direction to New Books for Children and Teens

Marilyn Carpenter, PhD.

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