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Once upon a time there was a story called "The Gingerbread Man" and a little girl who loved to hear the story every night at bedtime. Each night at bedtime, the little girl's kind father would tell the story to his little girl. He knew how much his daughter loved the story and so he was happy to tell the story over and over and over again, well ... almost. One night when the dad, whose name was Jon, was asked for the fifty gazillionth time to hear "The Gingerbread Man" story, a funny thought occurred to him. This time he would instead tell the story of the Stinky Cheese Man making it up as he went along. Well the little girl was certainly surprised by the new twist on her favorite tale. Instead of protesting and insisting that her dad go back to telling the story the way she'd always known and loved it, she simply laughed and listened contently to this new version which she proceeded to request night after night. Little did Jon Scieszka know, but his gift for re-inventing bedtime stories would lead to many more adventures in story telling. That's right, "The Gingerbread Man" story was not the only story twisted by Mr. Scieszka. With the help of his side-kick and illustrator Lane Smith, Jon Scieszka has made an entire book out of his unusual versions of favorite fairy tales. Perhaps you'd like to hear the tale?
Our story begins with the duo's first big hit, a twisted tale called The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. As the book grew in popularity, Scieszka and Smith began to receive many invitations to speak at schools about their story. The only problem was, that even though they were able to keep their audience entertained with their humor, they only had the one book to talk about and soon realized that they needed more material. (Marcus 2) One day Scieszka brought along a folder of his old fairy tales that he'd played around with and can you guess what happened next? The Stinky Cheese Man suddenly had a whole new audience- and not just at bedtime anymore! Only now that a few years had gone by he had lots of friends with him. There was Cinderumplestiltskin, Little Red Running Shorts, Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk," and even more twisted fairy tale characters than you could count with the fingers on your ten toes.
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"The Stinky Cheese Man & Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Feb 2020
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Not only were the characters of this new book unconventional, the design of the book itself had to be unique if it was to truly capture the rambunctious humor that Scieszka and Smith wanted to have in their story. They called on a friend of theirs who was a designer to give them a hand. Molly Leach, a friend of Scieszka's wife from work, also lived in the same building as the Scieszka family. Not long after they met, Molly Leach and Lane Smith began to go out together. With Molly being a neighbor and very good friend of Jeri Scieszka, it is no wonder that the two couples often spent time together. (Marcus 2) Now the duo working on the book had become a trio. They had lots of zany ideas that they presented to editor Regina Hayes. She liked the book, but said that some of the special effects they'd had planned would "cost a million dollars" (Marcus 3) and had to be re-worked.
After two months of the trio working very hard, the book was finally ready. People of all ages could now enjoy this new book; which became even more popular than the Three Little Pigs story had been! You can enjoy The Stinky Cheese Man & Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka too! Just go to your local library and check it out!
Hedblad, Alan. Something About The Author: Facts and Pictures about Authors and Illustrators of Books for Young People. Vol. 105. The Gale Group, 1999
Marcus, Leonard S. A Collaborative Effort. Publishers Weekly, 16 July 2001, Vol. 248, Issue 29