I love books that take familiar stories and flip them into something new.
Coraline (a creepy Alice in Wonderland) by Neil Gaiman
Ophelia (Hamlet from her perspective) by Lisa Klein
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
And Holly Black’s Tales of Faerie aren’t the ones from my childhood – they’re wonderfully darker!
These types of books are popular with my students as well. The boys love the Young Bond/ Alex Rider series and my girls can’t put down Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm. Perhaps this is because they already have the schemas in place, so their comprehension is clearer and they just need to adapt it for new knowledge.
As a class we’re currently reading the first book in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief. The odds that you could walk through my classroom at any given moment and not encounter a discussion about Greek Mythology are slim to nonexistent. In fact, today, despite the fact that it’s Halloween week, the Phillies are in the World Series, and it was SNOWING (yeah, it was a fun day…), the students begged me to read more during bus dismissal. They’re captivated.
And more impressively, they’re voluntarily doing research at home so they can know more about the gods, satyrs, and heroes. A few excitedly reported that they’d dug a VHS of Disney’s Hercules and watched it over the weekend.
So when I saw the book Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesey while I was popping around on Amazon (always a dangerous thing to do), I had to buy it. It’s touted as the start of a hilarious new series set in ancient Athens. Sounds promising and a delightful twist on familiar.
P.S. I also bought two other books that came highly recommended from friends. Scott Heydt’s O.Y.L. and Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. (I told you Amazon was dangerous – I never get away with less than three books!)