Writing compare and contrast essays is an activity that students need to repeat over and over.
In Chapter 2 of The Secret Garden, Mrs. Medlock tells Mary about her uncle. Mary is reminded of a French fairy tale called “Riquet a la Houppe.” This fairy tale was new to me, so I investigated. “Riquet a la Houppe” is French for “Ricky of the Tuft.” While reading it, I was reminded of “Beauty and the Beast.” This “Compare and Contrast” set of handouts contains the three stories as well as printables containing guided questions to compare them.
Common Core State Standards for Comparing Fictional Texts
Comparing fictional pieces is part of the Common Core State Standards throughout the elementary grades. By changing the focus, this activity could be used to teach this Common Core skill in several grade levels.
Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)
Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
If you would prefer to go with the video versions of “Ricky of the Tuft” and “Beauty and the Beast,” you will find them below.
Summary of Ricky of the Tuft
A fairy gives the ugly Prince Ricky the gift of being able to give intelligence to the person he loves best.
One day Ricky comes to a kingdom with two princesses. One of the princesses is beautiful but not intelligent. The other princess is not beautiful yet intelligent. The beautiful princess becomes upset because her ugly sister receives more attention than she does. She goes for a walk in the forest to comfort herself. There she runs into Ricky. He has already fallen in love with the beautiful princess from her portraits. Ricky asks the princess why she is so sad. After she explains that she is upset because she lacks intelligence, Ricky gives her the gift of intelligence in exchange for a promise of marriage.
A year later, Ricky comes to collect on the promise. The princess tells Ricky that she cannot keep a promise she made before she gained wisdom. The princess then tells Ricky that the same fairy that gave him his gift also gave her a gift. She can make the person she loves beautiful. When the princess thinks about Ricky’s good qualities, he transforms. The two wed.
Youtube Video Based on Ricky of the Tuft
This eleven-minute video was created by students.
Summary of Beauty and the Beast
A wicked enchantress casts a spell on a young prince and all his servants. She turns the prince into an ugly Beast and the servants into statues. The prince will remain a beast until he learns to love and someone loves him in return.
A widower merchant has six children. Belle is the youngest and most beautiful daughter. One day the merchant loses his wealth and moves his family to a cottage in the country. Belle’s two older sisters have a difficult time adjusting to a simple life.
One day the merchant learns that one of his ships is coming in with goods. When the older daughters learn their father will once again have money, they ask for expensive gifts. Belle asks for a simple rose. During his return trip from the ship to home, the merchant is lost in a storm. He takes shelter in a castle. On leaving the next morning, the merchant picks a rose for Belle from the garden. The owner of the castle, the Beast, takes the merchant prisoner for this offense.
Belle goes to the Beast’s castle after she learns the Beast has imprisoned her father. The Beast frees the merchant in exchange for Belle staying with him. The two get to know each other. After several months, Belle begs the Beast to allow her to return home for a visit. He agrees that she may go for one week.
When the week is up, Belle’s sisters hold her hostage. This causes the Beast to think Belle will not return. He grows weak and is on the verge of dying when Belle returns. When she sees he is ill, she tells the Beast that she loves him. At this moment, the curse lifts. The Beast transforms back into a prince. The servants come back to life. The two marry and live happily ever after.
Youtube Video of Beauty and the Beast
This twelve-minute video provides a good condensed version of the story.