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I spy a fairy tale

Today I shared ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ with a small group of children; all eager to discover the treasures that lay ahead and more than capable of voicing their opinions in a focused manner.
As we read the gentle rhymes together, the children (a mixed ability group of 5-6 year olds) devoured the beauty of the illustrations, eagerly searching out the hidden characters. They loved it, as I had guessed. How can you not adore an Ahlberg creation?
What occurred to me was that this seemingly simple text is, in fact, a sophisticated read. Not in terms of the rhyme or vocabulary as such, but because of the meta- fiction within it. All children (in my opinion) can take something wonderful from this book, but in order to gain a full understanding of the little nuances, the reader needs a lot of prior knowledge.
Children need to be familiar with a range of fairy and traditional tales to get all of the visual jokes. I realised this morning that this knowledge is not a given for every child, as it is dependent on their experiences. I feel like part of my future task is to enrich children with a diet of the traditional tale, alongside the modern.
I wonder how many other modern classics on our shelves are semi-reliant on the traditional stories and nursery rhymes of time gone by? What be in your top 5?


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