If you teach second grade, you probably know the Common Core literacy standard that reads, “Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.” These books make reading fables fun.
If you’re interested in expanding on this reading, I sell six readers’ theater scripts based on Aesop’s fables. Each is just one page long, designed for grades 1-3.
Lion and Mouse by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
Published by Groundwood Books, 2019
The classic fable is given a few modern twists, and the story doesn’t end when the mouse frees the lion from the hunter’s trap. The two continue to trade favors and become friends over a longer period of time.
The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, 2020
Who was Aesop? This book includes ten fables, but also information about the life of a man who lived much of his life as a slave in ancient Greece, and who learned to speak truth to power through his storytelling. Beautiful illustrations by Caldecott honoree Pamela Zagarenski.
Who Will Bell the Cat? by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Christopher Cyr
Published by Holiday House, 2018
Generally, this story ends with the mice debating which one of them will put a bell on the cat so they can hear it coming. In McKissack’s version, a girl takes care of the bell, but then the mice realize humans may be even more dangerous than the cat. Hmmm…could lead to some interesting discussions.
Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray
Published by Candlewick, 2016
A fun retelling of the classic tale that would make a good introduction to fables for preschoolers or kindergarteners.
The Grasshopper and the Ants by Jerry Pinkney
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015
This is the only Jerry Pinkney fable I’ve reviewed on my blog, but there are plenty more: The Tortoise and the Hare, the wordless Caldecott Medal winner The Lion and the Mouse, and his collection of more than sixty stories in Aesop’s Fables.
The Cat from Hunger Mountain by Ed Young
Published by Philomel, 2016
This original fable explores themes of greed and gratitude, and shows readers that creating fables didn’t end with Aesop. Ed Young’s Caldecott honor book Seven Blind Mice provides another tale with a moral.
Click on the picture above to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers product.