The Original Style of Jon Scieszka

The Original Style of Jon Scieszka

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The Original Style of Jon Scieszka


Jon Scieszka has an original style that is all his own. Many of his books such as The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and The Frog Prince Continued have led several people to believe that he has created a new genre of children's literature: using unique perspectives to retell classic fairy tales. But what motivated Scieszka to become an author? And how does he come up with his innovative ideas? I will answer these questions by discussing Scieszka's many inspirations including his teaching career, students, and his family.

Scieszka began his love for books early on in his life when he and his mother spent time together reading. It was during these times that one of his favorite authors emerged. Dr. Seuss stood out because "he was the first author that I realized was a different person - that there actually was a person who wrote the book" (Scieszka). It was then that he decided that creating books for others to read would be entertaining. He did not give this idea much thought until after he became an elementary teacher. That was when he reconsidered the idea of writing children's books.

As a second grade teacher he learned many things about children including what kind of books they enjoyed and which ones did not even keep their attention. As Scieszka himself said, "...there's nothing more discriminating than a group of second graders sitting on the floor. And they'll tell you if they don't like it, or if it's boring, or if it's stupid, or if it doesn't make sense" (Scieszka). This helped to shape his ideas as to what would be interesting and fun for children to read.

Students have done more than just inspire him to write. Many have helped give him ideas. In Math Curse after her teacher tells her that almost everything has math involved in it; the narrator discovers how true the statement is as her world explodes into a giant math problem. Scieszka credits this idea to some of his "less accomplished" students and how they perceive math (Scieszka).

Another source for his ideas comes from within his own house. His own daughter has unknowingly inspired him on at least one occasion. When she was small she enjoyed the popular story of The Gingerbread Man. After an endless amount of times of rereading the story Scieszka wondered: What would happen if the lady ran out of gingerbread and had to make him out of something else?

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That one question led to the birth of The Stinky Cheese Man (Scieszka).

In conclusion, there are many people to thank for Scieszka's unique style. His teaching career, his students, and his family have all played an important part in his writing. Without these many influences the zany stories we know today as Scieszka's could be something entirely different; they may not have even been written.

-Barbie Herbst-

Works Cited

Scieszka, Jon. Interview with Diane Leipzig. WETA: Reading Rockets. 2003. 20 April 2003. <http://www.readingrockets.org/transcript.php?ID=42>.
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