Plotting a story can be a difficult task for young writers, so many times teachers of writing recommend that young writers get experience rewriting familiar stories first. A fun variation on rewriting the familiar story is the fairy tale “take-off.”  Students choose a familiar fairy tale, then change one element of the story.  They then rewrite the story, varying the events and characters as needed to stay in keeping with their original big change.

Elements to change (pick one):

  1. Point of view change:  Switch the good guys/bad guys.  (Example: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas.)
  2. Setting change: Change the setting of the story.  Also change character and story details as needed to reflect the new setting. (Example:  The Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark by Donijee Laird, The Three Little Cajun Pigs by Berthe Amoss.)
  3. “After the end” change:  Tell what happened after the story ended.  (Example:  The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka, Rumpelstilskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley)

Of course you’ll want to read, discuss, and analyze several fairy tale “take-offs” prior to students writing their own.  Besides the ones cited above, there are dozens of others.  Ask your librarian to recommend his/her favorites.

For samples of student fairy tale “take-offs” click here.


From the Writing Curriculum Files of Children’s Author, Suzanne Williams