The Big, Bad. . .Bunny?

Have you ever noticed how many picture books use animals as main characters?  Oftentimes, these animals are identified with well-established traits.

Take the wolf, for example.  He’s big, bad, and ready to sink his sharp teeth into the innocent little girl traipsing through the forest. 

What about a bunny?  Fluffy, gentle–I mean, Peter Rabbit’s caught stealing and trespassing in Mr. McGregor’s garden and we STILL think he’s adorable!

Jot down a few words to describe these following animal characters:

  • Fox
  • Pig
  • Rooster
  • Monkey
  • Bear

Good, now that you’re aware of these stereotypical behaviors, write a story using them.  That is, IF you want a typical, predictable boring story. 

However, what if your Mr. Fox isn’t so clever?  What if your Little Red Hen is never busy–she’s lazy instead?

Brainstorm a few what ifs?  for your story. 

What if Mr. Wolf wasn’t so big and bad?–as in Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Apparently in this version, Alexander T. Wolf was framed.  He was only trying to borrow a cup of sugar to make his sweet granny a  birthday cake–not so bad after all.

You get the idea.  The point is to think OUTSIDE THE BOX.  Your what ifs? may lead the story to an ending that’s both surprising and satisfying.

For a follow-up, brainstorm a list of stereotypes for people.

  • policeman
  • doctor
  • baker
  • movie star

Add an unexpected twist to your character and you’ve got yourself a more interesting idea.

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