Teaching students to compare and contrast is an important cross-curricular skill. Furthermore, the application of this skill, specifically to fiction stories, can greatly improve a student’s ability to analyze texts. So, today, I am going to describe some of the Best Books for Compare and Contrast! Below, all the links to books are affiliate links to Amazon!
Comparing & Contrasting Stories from DIFFERENT Authors
Little Red Hen & Little Red Elf
First, Little Red Hen and Little Red Elf are great fiction books to compare and contrast!
Little Red Hen is the classic tale that taught us that we reap what we sow. This is the story of a little, red hen who wants to make a cake. She asks for help when she plants the wheat; when she waters it, cuts it, grinds it, and even when she bakes the cake. However, not one of her friends agrees to help her with the hard work along the way. So, when it comes time to eat the cake, Little Red Hen enjoys it all herself!
Little Red Elf is a Christmas-themed retelling of “The Little Red Hen” is about a busy little red elf and her lazy friends: the hare, the penguin, and the reindeer. It is the perfect paired book for “The Little Red Hen.” When the little elf asks for help planting a pinecone, none of her friends want to pitch in! So, after planting, watering, and cutting it herself, she brings the Christmas tree inside to enjoy. She decorates it herself. She even puts out cookies and milk for Santa on her own. So, when she wakes up on Christmas morning, there will be a lesson learned by her friends!
Cinderella & The Rough Faced Girl
Next, Cinderella and The Rough-Face Girl are both stories of young girls who deserve more than their families provide. It is nice to compare and contrast these stories, focusing on how the setting affects each.
Cinderella tells the story of a beautiful young girl, who is in the care of her evil step-mother. Her stepmother and step-sisters treat her cruelly, making her work day and night. After being told she cannot join them at the Prince’s ball, Cinderella is visited by a fairy godmother who helps her get to the ball, but only until midnight!
The Rough-Face Girl is a young girl who is scarred from working by the fire in her village. Her step-sisters are unkind and the people of the village don’t look at her, for she isn’t “beautiful.” There was an invisible being who was rich and powerful. All of the young women want to marry him. However, you had to prove that you had seen him in order to marry him.
Little Red Riding Hood & Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten
Sometimes, the best books for comparing and contrasting are fractured fairy tales! These two book versions of Little Red Riding Hood will help your readers see the events from two perspectives!
Little Red Riding Hood is a well-known fairy tale about a girl who goes to visit her grandmother in the woods. But, when she arrives, she is shocked by her grandmother’s sharp teeth and cunning eyes. When she discovers a wolf in her grandmother’s place, she runs to head back down the path she came.
Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten is a fractured fairy tale that gives you the wolf’s perspective of this story. A funny retelling, this story will let you take a look at a classic story with spin. Who do we believe? Little Red Riding Hood? Or the Wolf?
Reading Beauty & Sleeping Beauty
Using a classic fairy tale with an updated plot can help your readers see how stories change over time. You can compare and contrast these two books while looking at how each of the main characters display their traits.
Sleeping Beauty is the fairy tale of a princess who pricks her finger and is cursed to sleep for a hundred years. An evil queen is the mastermind of her curse and Sleeping Beauty cannot be awoken without a prince.
Reading Beauty is an updated version of this fairy tale. The kingdom is threatened by a fairy’s curse of eternal sleep that can be brought by paper cut. A brave, space princess, Lex, is on a mission to break the spell so that her kingdom and people can read books again, without fear.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas & Goldilocks and the Three Bears
These are two more books that will encourage your students to compare and contrast how a setting can affect the plot of a story! Plus, they are greatly entertaining for your readers!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is the classic tale of a young girl who comes upon an empty house. She enters, anyway, and finds porridge on the table. After deciding to try some, she finds it is too hot. So, she tries the next. Too cold. The last one she tries is just right. She doesn’t just try the porridge, though. She tries the chairs, which are too big, too small, and just right. And, the beds. Too hard, too soft, and you guessed it, just right. That “just-right” bed is “just right” enough for Goldilocks to fall asleep. And, she learns her lesson when the three bears come home!
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas Goldy Luck’s mom asks her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors, the Chans. Only, they aren’t home. So, Goldy decides to try some of their rice porridge, Then, she sits in their chairs and even lays in their beds. hat doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds. This funny story has a disastrous twist that helps Goldy learn the responsibility for her own actions and it is great for comparing to the original!
Comparing & Contrasting Two Books from the SAME Author
In addition to comparing similar stories, we can use books by the same author to practice compare and contrast. Our focus will shift to similar plot elements, problems, characters, etc. The following are some of the best books for comparing and contrasting stories by the same author!
Jumanji & Zathura
Jumanji is the story of a game that comes to life. Judy and Peter find the game and decide to play before fully grasping the instructions that state: “VERY IMPORTANT: ONCE A GAME OF JUMANJI IS STARTED, IT WILL NOT BE OVER UNTIL ONE PLAYER REACHES THE GOLDEN CITY.” Thirty years later, the game is found and the game continues. With twists and turns, this book is action-packed and fun to read!
Zathura is another Chris Van Allsburg story that brings fantasy to life. In fact, on the last page of Jumanji, you can see Walter Budwing with a game called Zathura tucked under his arm. Danny and Walter Budwing are always fighting. But, as the two decide to sit down to play an unknown game, they will be forced to work as a team to overcome wild, intergalactic challenges!
The Mitten & The Three Snow Bears
The Mitten is a beautiful Ukrainian retelling of a story of a young boy who loses his mitten. He had dropped it in the snow on a walk through the woods. And while he didn’t notice it was missing, the animals sure did notice it was there. One by one, the animals crawled into the glove. Each animal is bigger than the one before. While the text tells the funny story of the mitten, the illustrations tell the reader what Nicki, the young boy, is up to throughout the day!
The Three Bears is the story of an Inuit girl who was ice fishing when she noticed her sled dogs drifting away on an ice floe. So, she sets off to save them but comes upon an empty igloo along the way. Similar to Goldilocks, Aloo-ki decides to go inside while the polar bears, who live there, are away. She eats soup, tries on boots, and takes a nap. The polar bear family swims out to rescue Aloo-ki’s dogs, all while she is fast asleep in the baby polar bear’s bed.
Wemberly Worried & Chrysanthemum: Final Best Books for Compare and Contrast Set
Wemberly Worried is a classic Kevin Henkes story about Wemberly, who worries. She worries about everything! However, she must start school, which is something that worries her, too. Coincidentally, she learns that she isn’t the only one who worries when she meets a new friend at school. Finally, she is able to build a connection and spend her time having fun, instead of worrying!
Chrysanthemum is a story about acceptance. This story is about a sweet girl who absolutely loves her name until she starts school. Her new “friends” tease and taunt her, making her question her own acceptance and self-esteem. Teaching a valuable lesson about compassion and kindness, Chrystanthemum is a great read-aloud for your classroom!
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