Saturday, April 2, 2011

Peter and the Wolf

Recently, T had the opportunity to go see a live performance of the orchestral tale, "Peter and the Wolf."  I loved this story as a kid, and prepared him well for the show.  We have the CD of Patrick Stewart performing it, which is wonderful even if you don't share my love of Captain Picard.

A quick trip to the library revealed a bunch of cool adaptations of the story to print.  The most avant-garde one is by Chris Raschka, who attempts to capture the sound of the music in his song-like dialog.  It's tough to read if you aren't familiar with the tunes, though.  I usually try to match the words to the song when I read this version.  It's got a nice twist happy ending, too, with the zoo veterinarian rescuing the duck.
Peter Malone's version comes with a CD, and has intriguing pictures of the animals playing their instruments on the inside cover.  It also features a happy ending, with the wolf barfing up the duck because its quacking gave him pangs of guilt.
Vladimir Vagin's book has my favorite illustrations, and also ends with the wolf spitting up the duck-- his quacking became too irritating.  The duck goes home with Peter and his grandfather.
Of all the book versions we read, Michele Lemieux's is the only one that ends as Sergei Prokofiev originally wrote it, with the duck swallowed whole and quacking in the wolf's stomach.

T drew his own version of the story, with the wolf ending up in a cage:

We also used a wolf hat and dug through the stuffed-animal bin to find the other characters for acting out the tale.

I found a matching game online, which was useful in helping the boys learn what the instruments they've been hearing look like, and to reinforce their connection to the characters.  Pete's Powerpoint Station has a very nice collection of other Peter and the Wolf resources, to include a PowerPoint presentation explaining the instrument families of the orchestra and some teacher lesson plans.

My mom and I had a fun time coming up with a shadow puppet version of Peter and the Wolf.  We found something for the duck (the goose), bird, and grandfather (the old man) at this website,  We used the wolf from the camping field guide, and the boy in this project gutenberg file.  I never did find a cat you can make with your hands, but you could improvise and use a cut-out version on squidoo.

Here's a wolf coloring page that T enjoyed, too.

Netflix has a bunch of video versions of Peter and the Wolf, to include an Oscar-winning stop-motion animation set in modern day (2006).  Warning: the duck-devouring scene is particularly graphic and may frighten young viewers.
Even though the Elmo version is dated (the hairstyles and clothing give it away), it's useful in correlating the instruments to the characters.

My boys like the classic Disney version best (found in the video Make Mine Music), I think because the bird gets a name (Sonya) and the duck survives.  The latter is a particularly important point for S.

We haven't got around to them yet, but I'm looking forward to checking out the one narrated by Sting and another one featuring Kirstie Alley and Lloyd Bridges.

I'm planning a very ambitious blog entry for next week: we're visiting Chincoteague, and that will be the bookworm theme! Come on back and check it out.


  1. I remember this from when I was a child. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Thanks for sharing this at last week's For the Kids Friday Link Party! This week's party is in full swing. I'd love to have you stop by and join in on the fun!


  2. I remember you making me listen to that Captain Picard Wolf voice years ago!
    P.S. Greg and I watched Star Wars III for the first time last weekend. :)