Writing compare-and-contrast essays is an activity that students need to repeat over and over.
Comparing Fictional Texts – The Idea
In Chapter 2 of The Secret Garden, Mrs. Medlock tells Mary about her uncle. This reminds Mary of a French fairy tale called “Riquet a la Houppe.”
This fairy tale is new to me, so I investigated. “Riquet a la Houppe” is French for “Ricky of the Tuft.” The fairy tale reminds me of “Beauty and the Beast.” Comparing the three stories is a great activity to cover some of the more difficult Common Core Teaching Standards.
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.
Comparing Fictional Texts Materials Included
This “Compare and Contrast” set of handouts contains the three stories as well as printables containing guided questions to compare them.
The questions are in the form of charts and graphs to help students easily compare the stories. You will also find answer keys.
The Secret Garden is a novel about an orphan girl named Mary Lennox. She is sent to live with her uncle at a remote estate in England. There, she discovers a secret garden that has been locked up for years. With the help of her friend Dickon and her cousin Colin, begins to revive it. Along the way, she learns about the healing power of nature. The story also focuses on friendship. Mary helps her uncle and cousin heal their emotional wounds.
Ricky of the Tuft is a fairy tale about a young prince named Ricky. He has a tuft of hair on his forehead that sets him apart from others. When he falls in love with a princess, he must overcome his own fears and limitations. Ricky rescues his princess from an evil giant. Through his bravery and heroism, he earns the love and acceptance of the princess and his people.
Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale about a young woman named Belle. She is taken prisoner by a cursed prince who has been transformed into a beast. As she gets to know the Beast, she sees past his frightening exterior. She begins to appreciate his kindness and intelligence. Through her love and willingness to see the good in him, she breaks the curse. The Beast transforms back into a handsome prince. The story teaches the importance of inner beauty. It also addresses the power of love to transform even the most cursed and frightening of individuals.
Based on Ricky of the Tuft
This nine-minute video is a professional reading of the picture book by Will Sarris.
This animated version of Beauty and the Beast is 12 minutes long making it ideal for a compare-and-contrast activity.
These two movie clips from the 1993 version of The Secret Garden show Archibald Craven.