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Twisting Tales

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By Celia Warren and Brenda Williams

These five poems provide a different slant to some traditional and well-known tales: Sleeping Beauty; Pinocchio; Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book; J M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy; and Tarzan of the Apes written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Burroughs’ book was published in 1914. In it, Tarzan, whose real name was John Clayton, was marooned on the African coast and raised by apes after his parents died. Jane Porter was later stranded in the same place. When she left the jungle, Tarzan followed her and they eventually married.


These teachers’ notes accompany the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS Ages 7 to 9, May 2008.

Before reading

Discuss favourite characters from traditional stories and what is liked about them. If the characters are from other cultures, indicate their origins on a world map.

Reading and responding

‘Beauty Sleep’

  • Discuss the title. What is meant by this expression? List words used for sleep – eg, forty winks or shuteye. Use a thesaurus to find more.
  • Who is speaking in the poem? Why is her finger sore?
  • Can the children find the alliteration in this poem?
  • Discuss the layout and rhyming pattern (a b c b). List the rhyming pairs of words.
  • Use the context to explore the meaning of the verb carp.
  • Discuss what kind of poem this is. How does the poet make it humorous?
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