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William Steig (1907-2003) [About William Steig]

Ages 5 Up
Winner of The Caldacott Medal 1970

Be careful what you wish. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Sylvester Duncan, a modest donkey, enjoyed collecting pebbles. One cold and rainy day, Sylvester found a pebble that was "flaming red, shiny, and perfectly round, like a marble." Shivering from the cold rain he wished the sun would come out. Just like that, it did! Sylvester thought the pebble was magic and he did a few tests. Yes! the pebble WAS magic.

Frightened and without thinking, he said, "I wish I were a rock." And he was. But when he became a rock, he could no longer hold the pebble and could make no more wishes. How would he get home.

His parents began to search for Sylvester. They were frantic with worry. And then one day, about a year later and quite by chance… [Read the book to find out what happened.]
[Lesson Plan]


Ages 4 Up

SHREK: The Movie [VHS]
Based on Steig's book...
Enjoy them both.


Meet Shrek. "His mother was ugly and his father was ugly, but Shrek was uglier than the two of them put together. By the time he toddles, Shrek could spit flame a full ninety-nine yards and vent smoke from either ear. With just a look he cowed the reptiles in the swamp. Any snake dumb enough to bit him instantly got convulsions and died."

When Shrek was old enough his parents kicked him out of the house to do "his share of damage." He meets a witch who tells this fortune:

"Otchky-potchky, itchky-pitch,
Pay attention to this witch.
A donkey takes you to a knight-
Him you conquer in a fight.
Then you wed a princess who
Is even uglier than you."

It's true! Shrek finds his perfect mate:

"Your horny warts, your rosy wens,
Like slimy bogs and fusty fens,
Thrill me."

Don't miss this book! It's deliciously funny.

See the SHREK Movie Trailer


Ages 5-9

Quentin Blake, Illustrator

“Wizzil, [a witch] is bored stiff. So with a little coaxing from Beatrice, her parrot, she turns herself into a common housefly and heads on over to Frimp Farm to stir up some trouble. Little does she know, DeWitt Frimp hates all breeds of fly, especially Musca domestica, and Wizzil narrowly escapes his swatter. Wasting no time at all, she cooks up a nasty plan to teach DeWitt a lesson -but in the end, Wizzil finds something much sweeter than revenge ... “

Which Would You Rather Be?
Ages 4-8
Illustrated by Harry Bliss

A simple, read-aloud humorous story whose imaginings are brought vividly to life by the outrageously funny drawings of Harry Bliss. The everyday items compared on each page will instantly have readers playing comparison games of their own.

"Which would you rather be? A snake or a crocodile? A Mouse or an elephant? A boy or a girl?"

This book offers the reader an opportunity to ask, "Why?"

Don't Miss:
Spinky Sulks (1991) [childhood feelings]
Pete's a Pizza (1998) [cheering up a child]
The Amazing Bone (1984) [a bit scary]
Brave Irene (1988) [bravery, determination]