I went back to read it from a couple of years ago with my fourth grade teacher. Make sure you read blue yonder! The kids loved this book. They both had read and re-read it. I love to hear their laughter and of course encourage their reading. This kept them interested through the end. I use stories to start or end a class. They are usually 5 pages or less and have a twist to them. I call them the Pre-Teen Twighlight Zone. The kids can't get enough. Recently we have used these stories to write our own. Everyone wants to make their own cool story and we can follow Lubar's model to get started.
Another thing the kids like is the section at the back where the author explains where he got the idea. My 9-year-old son love this series. He "devoured" this book. When my daughter first asked for a Weenies book a couple of years ago, I hesitated. She's read all of the Weenies books now and even reads the stories outloud to us. It's great to see books of short stories do so well. These are fun, suspenseful, creepy, and hilarious stories for graders.
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Published on January 16, Published on May 10, Published on December 9, Published on June 2, Published on June 28, Published on June 5, Ionia Froment Top Contributor: Bad things happen when a loud kid gets on a rickety, old carnival ride. See if the students can guess what the name of the ride is turning into.
Have them come up with other alliterative names for carnival booths.
Whatver you do -- don't read this story anywhere near lunch time. When a girl's attempt to cast a spell goes awry, she is forced to speak without stopping. The story is presented as a monologue. Ask the students to think about the advantages and disadvantages of this format. How can the author convey descriptions or conversational responses in a monologue?
A boy is offered the opportunity to join the League of Wishers, which will allow him to get anything he wants. There is, of course, a small catch. As the old saying goes, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. In order to join a group of popular kids, a boy spends the night in a department store. Things go smoothly until the mannequins start to move. The story touches on peer pressure and hazing.
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The main character feels that his intelligence goes unrecognized. Ask the students to think about why he is so eager to join the Wolves. You can use this story to point out that even published auhtors make mistakes. I wrote, "For an instant, the lights flickered off. I should have caught it during revision. Two boys, one from Texas and the other from Mexico, get into a contest to see who can eat the hottest pepper. Ask the students if they've ever gotten into any sort of competition like the one in the story.
The battle of the red hot pepper weenies : and other warped and creepy tales
A girl is given a doll that looks just like her. When her mother starts to treat the doll like a person, the girl decides to get rid of it. By the end of the story, it's obvious that Deb's mother longs for the past. Have the students see how many clues they can find that point to this such as the old-style skirt in the first paragraph.
Note how the the early actions of the doll could possbile have rational explanations. The strangesness builds from the explicable to the inexplicable.
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A boy fears that his vegan relatives will ruin Thanksgiving. The real problems start when the giant turkeys show up. This story is all about tolerance. Note how information, such as the meaning of "vegan," is conveyed through dialogue. See if the students are aware of the ambiguity of the title. Gerald's hand starts growing larger. Things get out of hand. This story pushes absurdity about as far as it can be pushed.
But the world of the story, within which this absurdity plays out, is kept totally real and ordinary. I would have loved to come up with a more powerful ending.
The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies
Ask the students if they can think of one. See if younger students can guess the meaning of "symmetrical" from the context clues. When a boy realizes one of his fellow campers is shooting birds with a bb gun, he decides he has to do something to stop him. This story can launch a discussion of what to do if you see someone with a weapon. A less-than-bright prince does poorly when given the simple task of placing a pea beneath ten matresses. Fractured fairy tales are a great writing exercise.
The story already exists. Often, a nice idea can be found just by playing around with the title.
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That's how this one started. Note how it follows the typical conventions of an actual fairy tale, including the "Once upon a time" style of opening. It uses the reader's familiarity with these conventions to make a powerful and funny last sentence. A boy, walking to school during a fierce storm, accepts a ride from his neighbor, though he is dismayed by the neighbor's gas-guzzling vehicle. The boy decides to leave the car when he sees ghostly dinosaurs.
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