Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables


Written by: Jon Scieszka Illustrated by: Lane Smith

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Before diving into the zany fables in Squids Will Be Squids, take a moment to look at the cover and illustrations in this story. Ask questions like:

Make Observations

What do you notice on the cover?

Make Predictions

How do you think the squid is feeling? What do you you think might have caused her to feel that way?

{Flip to the fable Termite, Ant & Echidna} What do you imagine is happening in this story?


Activate Prior Knowledge

Talk about Fables

Ask your child if s/he knows what a fable is. Say that a fable is a short story, usually featuring animals, that is meant to teach a lesson, or a moral. Give examples of fables and the morals that they teach. For instance, provide the example of The Three Little Pigs. Ask, "What happens in the story of the Three Little Pigs? What do you think the moral of that story is?" You can also mention the ancient Greek philosopher, Aesop, as he is mentioned in the Serious Historical Foreword. Say that he was known for writing many fables, including the Tortoise and the Hare.

As You Read

This story includes some name-calling, specifically in the fable "Horseshoe Crab & Blowfish". If you object to any of the language used, feel free to skip over that section or alter the language yourself. You may also choose to use this opportunity to discuss name-calling and why it isn't appropriate. 

Guess the Moral

Before reading the moral of a story, ask your child what s/he thinks can be learned from each fable. For example, after reading "Straw & Matches", ask"What do you think this fable is trying to teach?" This shows you what your child learned from the story and will make the moral provided seem even sillier.  


Make Connections

Your child may find him/herself relating to some of the characters in the fables, so find ways to connect the story to your child's own experiences. 

For example, after reading "Straw & Matches", ask, "Have you ever played with someone who always wanted to be in charge and play the way s/he wanted to play? What did you do? What does this story teach us?"

After Reading

Take this opportunity to discuss the book with your child and address any final observations or questions that your child may have. Ask questions like these to start off the discussion:

Discuss the Fables and What S/he Learned

Which story was your favorite? Why?

What are some of the morals that you learned in this book?

{Read Afterword} Why shouldn't we talk about people behind their backs? 

Activity: Create Your Own Fable: Mad-Lib Style!


Inspired by: Scholastic

Supplies: paper, pencil, and your favorite fable

Create your own silly fable by turning it into a Mad-Lib that you and your child can fill out!

1. Choose a classic fable like  "The Tortoise and the Hare" or one of the fables you've just read in Squids Will Be Squids.  Either print out a fable or scan/re-write one of the fables from the book.

2. Circle key words including character names, settings, other nouns and verbs.

3. Ask your child for words to replace the ones circled and write those words above the circles. Encourage your child to choose silly words to make the fable more amusing. Give hints such as, "What is a silly animal or name that we want to use?" For older children, you may use this as an opportunity to review the concepts of nouns and verbs by saying, "Alright, what verb should we use? Remember that a verb is an action like hop or run."

4. Once all of the circled words have been replaced, read the full fable out loud to hear your silly creation.