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Stories

Thumbelina
ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a woman who was sad because she
had no children. Seeing her unhappiness, a neighbor gave her
a magical seed and told her to plant the seed in a flower pot and
watch what happened.
The woman planted the seed that very evening. The next
morning, she noticed that a beautiful plant had grown in the pot
overnight. The plant had a lovely flower, like a tulip, but it was
closed up tight in a bud.
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2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

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Fingerplay
Pause when you read
about Thumbelinas
size. Look together at
your thumbs and talk
together about a little
girl that small. Have a
conversation between
thumbs!

What a beautiful plant, said the woman, and she gently kissed
the flower. When she did, the petals opened wide. There, in the
middle of the flower, sat a tiny little girl, no bigger than my thumb.
The woman gasped with delight. What a sweet child you are,
she said. I will call you Thumbelina.

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Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

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Stories

Thumbelina lived a comfortable,


contented life with the old woman.
At night, she slept in a cradle made of a
pretty polished walnut shell, with blue violet
leaves as her mattress and a rose petal for her
cover. During the day, she sailed about in a saucer
of water with a large tulip leaf as her boat.
Then, one night, everything changed. A fat mother toad
hopped through a broken window into the house and landed right
beside the sleeping Thumbelina.
What a beautiful wife she would make for my toad son!
exclaimed the mother. So she picked up the sleeping Thumbelina
and carried her away to the garden outside.
There she spoke to her son of her plans. Dont make a noise or
you will waken and frighten her, said the mother toad.

THUMBELINA
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org

While we prepare for the wedding, we will place her on a water


lily leaf in the middle of the river so that she cannot escape. And
that is just what they did.
Poor Thumbelina awoke the next morning and found that she
Whats
Happening?
Ask your child to recall
what has happened so
far to poor Thumbelina.
Why is she crying in
this picture?

was no longer in her cozy walnut shell bed. When she looked about
her and saw only water everywhere, she began to cry. Soon the
mother toad and her son appeared on
the river bank, which only made
Thumbelina cry harder and
harder. The mother toad and
son left her alone and
continued to make
wedding plans.
But Thumbelinas
cries had not gone
unheard. The little
fish in the river felt
sorry for the poor little
girl. They nibbled at the lily

Explain It
Water lilies root in the
soil at the bottom of a
lake or pond. A long
stalk reaches from root
to the leaf, which floats
on the waters surface.
Talk It Over

pad stalk beneath the water until the leaf


broke free and floated down the river, carrying Thumbelina along
with the current.
Thumbelina floated down the river, far, far away from the
mother toad and her son. It was summertime, and she spent the
next several months drifting peacefully from place to place along
the river. She ate wild berries for food, listened to the birds chirping
in the trees above her, and made friends with the butterflies who
floated on the breeze nearby.

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2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org

Stories

THUMBELINA
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org

Talk It Over
Use the words of the
story and the picture
to help your child
answer this question:
Why was Thumbelina
so cold?

Before long, though, summer came to an end, and the cold chill
of winter filled the air. There were no more berries for food. All the
birds and butterflies had disappeared. Poor Thumbelina! She was
cold and hungry and all alone. And then it started to snow. She
wrapped herself up in a leaf, curled up under a mushroom, and
tried to keep herself dry. Still, she shivered with cold.
Not far away, a field mouse was gathering some last bits of
wood to burn in her fireplace during the winter. When she saw
Thumbelina, she said, My poor dear, you are nearly frozen with
cold. You must come home and spend the winter with me. I have
plenty to eat, and my home is warm and dry.

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Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

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Stories

Thumbelina gratefully accepted the


kind field mouses invitation. She spent
the rest of the winter in the mouses
snug underground burrow. Every day
Thumbelina helped the field
mouse with her housework, and
then they would spend the rest
of the day enjoying a cup of tea
and chatting before the fire.
Thumbelina soon grew very
fond of the field mouse. She was happy to have found such a good
and kind friend.
Now it so happened that the field mouse had a wealthy neighbor, Mr. Mole, who started spending quite a bit of time in the
evenings with the
field mouse and
Thumbelina. He and

Pause at
a New Word
Take a moment to
talk about the word
wealthy, which
means rich and
describes someone
who has a lot of
money.

the field mouse


enjoyed listening to
Thumbelina sing
to them.
One evening
Mr. Mole invited
Thumbelina and the
field mouse to come
his house. They followed him down
a hole and into a

THUMBELINA
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org

deep, dark underground passageway. As they made their way along,


they passed a bird lying in the middle of the passageway.
Pay no attention, said Mr. Mole. This swallow had a broken
wing and took shelter here this morning. But she has not stirred all
day, and she has surely died. The mole and field mouse hurried
on ahead, but Thumbelina lingered. She gently stroked the birds
feathers and laid her head against his side.
I wonder if you are one of the swallows that sang to me during
the summer, whispered Thumbelina.
Suddenly she felt the bird twitch. She realized he was just cold
and hurt, not dead at all. Thumbelina promised the bird that she
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Stories

would return with food and blankets. And, for the rest of the winter,
she secretly visited the swallow each day, bringing him food and
nursing him back to health.
When spring and warm weather arrived, the swallow felt
well again, and he began to make plans to fly away. He asked
Thumbelina to come with him, but she said no because she felt that
she could not leave her kind friend, the field mouse.
The spring and summer months passed. Thumbelina enjoyed
being with her friend, the field mouse, but it soon became clear that
Mr. Mole wanted to marry Thumbelina. Thumbelina was horrified.
She did not care for Mr. Mole. In fact, she had always been a little

What Kind of
a Girl is She?
After you have read
how Thumbelina took
care of the bird, ask
your child what kind
of a girl she must be.
Help her find words
to describe her: kind,
thoughtful, loving,
caring, friendly.
A New Word
Take a moment to
talk about the word
horrified. It means
surprised and upset.
Thumbelina did not like
the idea of marrying
Mr. Mole! Has your
child ever felt horrified?

frightened of him, but out of respect for her friend, the field mouse,
she had always been polite to him.
But her friend, the field mouse, was in favor of the marriage.
She told Thumbelina that she should be happy, since Mr. Mole was

THUMBELINA
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

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so rich. Together Mr. Mole and the field mouse made plans for his
wedding to Thumbelina.
Thumbelina became more and more unhappy. She didnt know
What Does
Talk
Over
ThatItMean?
Use
the
words
the
Stop to be sureofyour
story
thewhat
picture to
child and
knows
help
your child
answer
weeping
means.
this
Ask question:
her what Why
she was
Thumbelina
cold?
would soundsolike
if she
were weeping. Help
her know it means
crying.

what to do. But she did know that she did not want to marry the
mole. She sat outside the field mouses door one autumn day, quietly weeping. Suddenly a dark shadow came over her. She looked up
and, much to her surprise, there she saw her friend, the swallow.
Thumbelina, said the swallow. I am flying south to warmer
countries for the winter. Wont you please come
with me now?
This time Thumbelina agreed.
She was sad to leave the field
mouse, but she knew that it
was the only way that she
could escape from
marrying the mole.
She climbed upon the
swallows back and off
into the air they went.
They flew for
many days. Finally, the
swallow landed in a place
that Thumbelina had never
seena lovely little spot, filled with flowers.

Make Connections
Look back together at
the picture on the previous page to help
make the link between
Thumbelinas flower
and the flowers on
these pages.

Thumbelina looked at the flower next to her. She watched the


petals slowly open. There, in the
middle of the flower, sat a little man with a golden crown.
He was the same tiny size as Thumbelina!

10
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org

Stories

THUMBELINA
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

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Another Word
Amazement is
another word for
surprise. Help your
child understand by
showing each other
a facial expression of
amazement.
Happy Ending
Talk with your child
about why Thumbelina
has finally found a new
home. How many
different characters
wanted to marry her?
Why does the king
seem the best for her?

Thumbelina watched in amazement as all of the other


flowers opened, and each had its own tiny person inside.
The little man with the crown said, Welcome, Thumbelina.
You have found a new home at last. Here you shall be my queen.
He placed a tiny golden crown on Thumbelinas head and fastened
a pair of beautiful pale wings to her shoulders. They made a happy
and loving pair.
And so Thumbelina and the king lived happily ever after in the
land of the flowers and the fairies.

The End

12
2008 Core Knowledge Foundation

Thumbelina Preschool Read-Aloud

Available only from coreknowledge.org