Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum

Originally, I had chosen Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse for one of my 10 books. I love that book so much. I may still choose that book by Kevin Henkes as it is one of my favorites. First graders love Kevin Henkes books. My personal favorite though is Chrysanthemum. She is such a great character, she feels like a wilted flower in this book. School is not a great place, and when my first graders come in to school I am sure they feel like her. They relate to her and the way she feels as a student, even though she's a rodent. Here are some of the teaching points that I gained from the text:

1. Repetition: I am finding that this is a must in children's books. I can't wait to discuss this with my students. Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum!

2. There is an epilogue, students will be introduced to this.

3. The author describes the way Chrysanthemum feels in flower-like characteristics. She wilts, she blooms, she beams, they smell her, they pick her, etc.

4. I could use this book when we have discussions about paragraph writing. On page 3, the author says, "Chrysanthemum loved her name."
On page 4 and 5 the author goes on to support this statement, "She loved the way it sounded when her mother woke her up. She loved the way it sounded when her father called her for dinner. And she loved the way it sounded when she whispered it to herself in the bathroom mirror."
Closing sentence, "Chrysanthemum thought her name was absolutely perfect."

My most favorite thing of all about this book: It has antagonistic and heroic characters!!!!!!

Antagonist: Victoria and her posse Jo and Rita. They tease Chrysanthemum and make fun of her name. They are really disliked by the end of the book. Also, in the epilogue, Victoria goes down in the class musicale, she forgets all her lines as the "dainty Fairy Queen." Chrysanthemum giggles throughout the entire performance. The students love this. It's redemption for Chrysanthemum.

Hero: THE TEACHER- Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle! The author builds her up as "an indescribable wonder." The children tease Chrysanthemum and Mrs. Twinkle puts a stop to this immediately! (If you don't know, Kevin Henkes paints teachers out to be just wonderful people, understanding, and heroic).

I always share this book with my students during the first day of school, along with Tikki Tikki Tembo, another book on my list. We do some name activities for Math and Literacy. I can't wait to use it throughout the year for Reader's and Writer's Workshop!

1 comment:

Vivian Mahoney said...

This is one of my favorite picture books. Kevin Henkes is pure genius how he can capture so many emotions in a picture book. Great choice!