Thursday, August 05, 2010
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School
by Candace Fleming
This collection of stories takes place throughout the school year at Aesop Elementary, a most unusual institution filled with punnily-named teachers and occasionally very strange occurrances, particularly in the grade 4 classroom, with its new teacher...
Each of these tales is a way of retelling one of Aesop's famous fables, or telling a story that while set in a modern school, winds up at the same moral as one from an ancient fable. The moral is spelled out at the end of the chapter, but this doesn't feel preachy because of it, and it doesn't seem that it would turn kids off. Instead, they might find themselves trying to guess what the lesson will be.
The stories, with their often strange and sometimes supernatural elements combined with the school setting made me think of the Sideways Stories from Wayside School series, or maybe even the Bailey School books.
Fun, a little silly, and light-hearted, but not without its little life lessons, either.