Who Took My Hairy Toe? The title compelled me to peek inside and the pages provided both amusement and another ah-ha moment. The author, Shutta Crum paired with illustrator Katya Krenina, has created a picture book that supports middle school reading and writing of folk tales. Teachers looking for student-centered learning would do well to utilize this text to increase the likelihood that every student can easily access the concept and then work with more complex texts, to rigorously extend their knowledge.
Though the 550 Lexile score makes the tale easy to independently navigate, this story is a perfect October read aloud, filled with the right mix of familiar and less familiar vocabulary (holler and ruination) and illustrations that both lends to understanding and encourages creative thought. The plot line presents a framework for students’ original creations thus making it a mentor text from which individual and group folk tales can be created. Teachers will also have an easy time of constructing an exemplar text. Before students delve into their writing, share the encouragement found in the Author’s Note, “Enjoy this tale. Make it your own. Pass it on. Let it live for hundreds of years more.”