The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be
Grey, Mini. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. 9780375926266
Quantitative Reading Level: Reading Level 4.2
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
I would rate this as Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Literary Text”. This book is a retelling / alternate point of view story based on “The Princess and the Pea”. To fully appreciate the story readers would need to have literary knowledge of that story. There is also one flashback in the story.
In this retelling or alternate version of “The Princess and the Pea” we are treated to the pea’s version of events. The pea recalls being grown in the palace garden and then brought to the palace. Instead of being part of a salad though the pea was taken by the queen and put under twenty mattresses and feather beds. The queen was tired of waiting for the thirty four year old prince to find a wife so she decided to conduct a test. Unfortunately, even if the princesses did feel the pea they were too polite to say so. One night, the gardener arrived at the palace. The pea recognized the gardener’s snores and spoke in the gardener’s ears all night telling her how uncomfortable she was. In the morning the gardener honestly answered the queen when asked how she slept. Then, of course, the prince married the gardener and they lived happily ever after. The pea was put on display.
Content Area: Reading / ELA
Content area standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6 Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9 Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
Students can compare and contrast this version of “The Princess and the Pea” with more traditional versions.
Students could try writing alternate fairytales from the point of view of other characters or objects from the story.
This was a very clever retelling. I love alternate versions of fairytales and this one also utilizes an alternate point of view which lends itself to some fun lessons.
High Interest Annotation: “The Princess and the Pea” from the pea’s point of view.