When Greed Won't Let Go

Greed is on my mind today for two reasons.  The first is a Michael Josephson Commentary that's got me reflecting.  Click here to read and/or listen to The Monkey Pot, a compelling story about how greed trapped a little monkey and the bigger lesson about why it's important to let go.

The second is because I was recently reminded about one of my all-time favorite read-alouds.

Title: Rotten and Rascal - The Two Terrible Pterosaur Twins
Author & Illustrator: Paul Geraghty
Publisher & Date of Publication: Barron’s Educational Series - February 1, 2006 (Fiction)
Suitable For: Kindergarten – 3rd
Opening Page: 65 million years ago the world was a deafening place. There were thunderstorms. There were volcanoes. There were landslides.  And there were earthquakes. But most of the noise came from Rotten and Rascal.
Brief Synopsis:  Rotten and Rascal, two baby pterosaurs who quarrel constantly, find themselves fighting over a single fish.  Shouts of “It’s mine!” enrupt and the battle begins.  Friends come along and try to help the twins settle their dispute, but, trapped by their greed, the T-Rex ends up putting an end to their squabbles.
Links To Resources: Check out the enrichment activity ideas at the Playing By The Book blog and see my suggestions below.
Why I Like This Book:  First of all, its alliteration and emotive force make it SUCH a fun read-aloud.  These two siblings are seriously squabbling! Kids get such a kick out of the ridiculousness of their battle (Mrs. Gruener, why don’t they just SPLIT the fish?).  Secondly, I just LOVE the friends who try to help solve their problem by throwing out this random criteria about who ought to get the fish because it launches SO perfectly into a discussion about fairness. Finally, the metaphor that greed can eat us alive is an excellent springboard for a discussion not only for how things could have been different, but also for the things that we might get greedy about that we really could do without.
Be warned:  Your students won't believe the shocking ending, simply scripted to drive home the point that greed and inflexibility really can eat us alive if we're not willing to let it go

An interesting self-reflection for both of these tales might be to ask yourself what's something that you really ought to let go of?

As a follow up, have students rewrite the ending. What would happen to the twins had they done something differently before their untimely meeting with the T-rex? What could they have done to change the problem and how would that change what happened to them? Where are they now? What are they doing? How are they feeling? Are they getting along or still fighting? How did this situation affect the way they make choices now? In other words, what, if anything, did they learn from this challenge? Encourage them to let their imaginations fly and see what changes, if any, they make so that they're able to enjoy life.

You can also check out these three titles that tackle this same topic:

So I'm linking up with Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday; why not head that way and do the same?

Click image for today's PPBF!


  1. This book sounds just perfect for my youngest one who's stuggling with sharing at the moment. I love the idea for the excerise on writing an alternative ending. Thanks for the wonderful review Barbara!

  2. All of these titles look and sound interesting, Barbara. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I love the idea of having the kids create alternate outcomes for the book. Perfect!

  4. Great suggestions! I love your contribution to PPBF because what parent or teacher doesn't want to share books with kids that teach character in a fun way?

  5. I just love how you use books to teach character!
    Conversations in Literacy

  6. What a great book to teach the concept of how greed can cause all sorts of trouble. I like that you promote books with a message. Bravo! Great follow up activity as well.

  7. This is great, Barbara! Love all that you added, and now I really want to read the book! Also love the suggested other titles to go along with! Thanks so much! Adding you and your book to the archive page right now! :)

  8. Thanks for the book recommendations!

    forever in first

  9. What a cool book! Sibling quarrels and pterosaurs? Who could ask for more? I've never heard of this one, but I will add it to our list.

  10. The cover and title had me. What a fun way to teach kids about dinasaurs and history at a young age. And, I really enjoyed your creative activities.

  11. This sounds like a book that some members of my class could really benefit from! We even have twins!

    rubber boots and elf shoes

  12. WOW! Dinosaurs...sharing...sibling rivalry...and with a strong message for kids...a winner on every level! Thank you, Barbara...this looks like another I will have to add to the shelf. :)

  13. Great books, Barbara!! I have two kids in my class who would REALLY benefit from hearing this story.
    Thank you :)

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  14. This sounds awesome. Thanks for all the books you mentioned. Can't wait to read them.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!