Thursday, July 14, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday ::: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship


As of today, I have one little munchkin that has finished her summer reading program at the library. (Here she is, cheesy grin and all, sort-of holding up her completion certificate). She was on-fire to finish it this summer and since she is a pre-reader that involved a lot of mama-read-aloud time.

The last book that we read for her list was a new one to us: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. It's one that I had seen on the Caldecott shelves at our library (the 1969 winner), but had passed over numerous times. This time, on a mission to get some new books in our bag I threw it in and I'm so glad I did. The book is based on a Russian tale and those are some of my favorites - stories from other cultures, letting my children know that the world is a much broader place than our little corner of middle-class America.

The story is about a fool, who really isn't such a fool as his family thinks he is. The first page of the book says: "... this is a story that shows that God loves simple folk, and turns things to their advantage in the end." Our hero has two older, "smarter" brothers that his parents think very highly of ... and not-so-much of the fool. The Czar offers a contest - whoever brings him a flying ship can marry his daughter. The older brothers think that this will be a breeze and head out to tackle this quest and never return. After a while the fool begins to think that he would like to try as well. Without so much as a decent send-off from his parents, he begins the journey and meets an ancient old man. This man gives him some wisdom about how he can obtain the ship and also a word of advice. After he obtains the ship, he need to make sure and give a lift to anyone he meets as he travel on toward the Czar.

I'll leave the rest of the book for your discovery and enjoyment, but all ends well for our young fool. Compared to the normal picture books that we pick up, this was much longer (the pages were chock full of text!) so a younger reader might need two sittings to get through this one. For my 5-year-old, it was perfect. I'm going to keep this book in the back of my mind when/if we get to a country study of Russia this year as we meander our way through her Five-in-a-Row books.

For more Read Aloud Thursday, visit my friend Amy at Hope is the Word!



  1. How interesting that you wrote about this book! The author wrote a series that I am reading aloud to the kids -- Swallows and Amazons. I recognized the author's name and checked it out of the library, never having heard of it or seen it before. We loved it, too! We are still working on finishing up our library certificates and my pre-reader is always hard for me to fill that one, too!

  2. This book looks really good. I'll definitely keep it in mind for when we reach our studies of Europe. (or is it the Asian part of Russia?)

    I love the picture! That's one excited library patron!


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