We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Thief and His Mother
- 620-560 B.C.
Aesop was a slave and storyteller who was believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 B.C.E. This story about a boy and his immoral mother is part of his collection of tales known as “Aesop’s Fables,” which have been featured in children’s literature for centuries.Pair "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" with "The Thief and His Mother" and ask students to compare the morals both tales teach. Is there any similarity between "calling wolf" and never telling someone what they're doing is wrong?
- Saul McLeod
In this article, McLeod discusses classical conditioning, a way of changing a person’s behavior by exposing them to different experiences, and experiments carried out using this method. One 1920 experiment showed that classical conditioning can be used to create a phobia, not only in animals but potentially in humans as well.Pair "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" with "Classical Conditioning" and ask students to compare the famous fable with the modern psychological theory. How does the theory of classical conditioning help explain what happens in the story?
Little Red Riding Hood
- The Brothers Grimm
In the Grimm brothers’ version of the classic folktale, “Little Red Riding Hood,” a young girl disobeys her mother and strays from the path on her way to her grandmother’s house, resulting in an unfortunate encounter with a wolf.Pair “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” with “Little Red Riding Hood” and ask students to discuss the authors’ intentions. What did they hope to achieve by writing these short stories?
The Three Little Pigs
- Joseph Jacobs
In this classic fable, three pigs each attempt to build houses that will protect them from the wicked schemes of a hungry wolf.Pair “The Three Little Pigs” with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and ask students to compare the forms of the two fables. Do they use a similar narrative structure to set up the story and set forth the morals of their respective tales? What do you make of the inclusion of a wolf in both fables? Do you think the wolf represents something more? Is it the same thing in both texts?
Jack and the Beanstalk
- Joseph Jacobs
In this well-known fairy tale, a young boy secures a fortune through bold fearlessness and risk-taking.Pair “Jack and the Beanstalk” with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and ask students to compare the forms of the two fables. How do they use narrative structure to set up the story and set forth the morals of their respective tales? How do any differences in narrative structure contribute to the themes of each piece?
The Night the Ghost Got In
- James Thurber
In James Thurber’s short story “The Night the Ghost Got In,” a speaker thinks there is a ghost in his home, causing chaos to ensue.Pair “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” with “The Night the Ghost Got In” and ask students to compare the claims that the boys make in the two texts. Do students think the narrator in “The Night the Ghost Got In” is “crying wolf” when he claims there is a ghost in the house? Why or why not?
In the short story “Feathers,” a woman is taught a lesson about the negative effects of spreading rumors.Pair “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” with “Feathers” and ask students to discuss how both stories explore the power of words. Why is it important to think before you speak? How are the characters negatively impacted by the lies they tell and the rumors they spread? Who do students think were the intended audiences for these two stories?
The Talking Skull
- Donna L. Washington
In “The Talking Skull,” Donna L. Washington retells a fable from Cameroon about a man who finds a talking skull that advises him to think before he speaks.Pair “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” with “The Talking Skull” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the consequences of careless words. What motivates the main character in each story to speak without considering the impact of their words on others? How might each story have ended differently if the main character had thought about the consequences of their words before speaking?
The Tyrant Who Became a Just Ruler
- Maude Barrows Dutton
In Maude Barrows Dutton’s retelling of the folktale “The Tyrant Who Became a Just Ruler,” a cruel leader decides to rule over his people fairly.Pair “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” with “The Tyrant Who Became a Just Ruler” and ask students to compare the themes of the two stories. How does the boy’s behavior in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” get him into trouble? Ask students to consider the lesson in “The Tyrant Who Became a Just Ruler.” How might this lesson have helped the boy in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” avoid losing his flock?