Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Grades 3-4 Book Discussion: The Tale of Despereaux

For March's Book Club, we read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Anthony, Avery, Cameron, Clare,  Madison, Maida, Quinn, and Reagan were present. This is what we discussed, guided by

Think back to the moment of Despereaux's birth when his parents and siblings first laid eyes on him. What was unusual about him? Do you think the author gave Despereaux these unusual traits for a reason? What might these features symbolize about Despereaux’s character? 

-His eyes were open when he was born, so he was way different.
-He had big ears
-He was tiny
-I think the author gave Despereaux these features on purpose because they make him special and stand out
-I think he was born with these traits. His tiny body and his big ears help him; nimble body helps him get around quicker and the big ears might help him in the dungeon
-It proves that he is a good listener because he could hear the music from far away  

In the beginning of the story, Despereaux reads a fairy tale to himself in the library. In what ways is the book you just read like a fairy tale? In what ways is it like real life? 

-It has talking animals. That's not like real life.
-It's like a fairy tale because Despereaux is like the knight who saves the Princess (Pea)
-The queen was frightened to death, which doesn't usually happen
"The story begins"
-There are rats in dungeons and mice in walls. Usually mice have a lot of children, which happened in the book. 
-There's a castle and there are castles in read life.
-Usually mice and people would live in castle dungeons, which happens here.    

List three mice rules that Despereaux breaks in the beginning of the story. What punishment does he receive from the Mouse Council? 

-He goes to the dungeon to be eaten by the rats
-He can't let humans touch him
-He talked to a human
-He was sitting by the foot of the king (don't be seen by humans)

Imagine you are Lester at the moment the Mouse Council votes to banish Despereaux to the dungeon. What, if anything, would you say to convince the council not to send Despereaux away? Why do you think Lester remained silent? 

-Because he did something bad in the mouse world. They could have given him one more chance.
-If I was the father, I would take my son's place and go in his stead in order to save him.
-He might have remained silent because he was speechless.
Why isn’t Miggery Sow afraid as she stands in the dungeon with Gregory’s meal? 

-Because she can't hear well and she can't hear all of the rats. She had too many clouts to the head.

Miggery Sow tells several characters that she is going to be a princess. Compare and contrast their reactions to Miggery’s statement. What does each character’s reaction tell us about him or her?  

-Most of the people said "no one cares what you want"
-Princess Pea was one of the only ones who said that she could be whatever she wanted 
-The Princess Pea was really understanding of Miggery's predicament
-Miggery's "Uncle" says that no one cares what Miggery wants. Roscuro doesn't care what Miggery wants.  

What does Botticelli tell Roscuro will happen if he goes up into the light? Was his prediction accurate? Explain your answer. 

-Botticelli said that Roscuro wouldn't be able to survive in the light and with people but that wasn't true
-Botticelli said that the upstairs is the domain of the mice
-Botticelli was wrong and when Roscuro went up there, he was okay

Was Roscuro a "bad guy"?

-Roscuro didn't mean to kill the queen and the Princess Pea didn't mean to cause the circumstances that led to the queen's death

Describe Despereaux’s dream about the Knight. How does the dream help Despereaux on his quest? 

-He doesn't see anyone in the suit of armor and so he's really the only one to go in the empty suit of armor (metaphorically) to save the princess
-It made him feel brave
-It gave him self-confidence 

Despereaux encounters the cook on two occasions. How is the cook’s attitude toward Despereaux different during their second meeting? What do you think is the reason for the change in her attitude? 

-She was making soup and so she was happy. She knew that the mouse could talk and tell the king but he didn't choose to do so. Usually, she wants the mice to be dead. The best mouse is a dead mouse.
-The cook was happy because she made soup and she was happy. She had a better attitude during their second encounter
-Cooking soup was against the law but she saw an ally this time in the mouse because they were both doing something against the rules
-She let Despereaux go by because he could have told the king about what she was doing but he didn't  
-The cook was glad that Despereaux wasn't a human who found her out. 

Describe the relationship between Miggery Sow and the Princess Pea. What do they have in common? What are their differences? 

-At first, they were nice to each other. Toward the end of the story, Miggery wanted to switch places with the Princess so that she could become the princess
-Miggery Sow wasn't trying to hurt the Princess Pea; she just wanted to switch places with the Princess
-In the beginning, they were kind of friends. Toward the end, they were kind of enemies. By the end, they became friends again
-The relationship was like a semi-circle.  

Which characters help Despereaux overcome the challenges he faces on his quest to save the Princess Pea? 

-Mice that helped Despereaux were the Threadmaster, the Cook, his dad changed his tune toward the end to help him

Imagine you have broken a rule and have been banished from your community. What would you miss most? If it meant you could return to the community, would you say you were sorry, even if you felt you had done nothing wrong? 

-I would miss my friends and family the most. And I would miss the library. And my dog. I would say I was sorry to get back
-I would miss the library and I wouldn't say I was sorry because I hadn't done anything wrong. Could I make it up by doing something good as opposed to saying sorry?
-I would miss books, family and friends the most. I would say that I was sorry 
-Depending on how good the soup was.
-We talked a little bit about ridiculous laws  

Did you like the way the story ended? Why or why not? Now imagine the Kingdom one year after the story has ended. Do you think anything has changed? 

-The conversation went on for a bit, so I stopped typing to allow for free-flowing thoughts on this.

For April's Book Club, we will read Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.

"While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack."

Book Club will be held on Wednesday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up a copy of the book at the Circulation Desk and be sure to register so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to buy! 

April Book Club Suggestions

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. 

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 

When he finds a lost beagle in the hills behind his West Virginia home, Marty tries to hide it from his family and the dog's real owner, a mean-spirited man known to shoot deer out of season and to mistreat his dogs.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Grades 3-4 Book Discussion: The Seventh Wish

For February's Book Club, we read The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner. Cameron, Cassidy, Claire, Gwyneth, Madison, Maida, Quinn, and Reagan were present. Here's a little bit of what we talked about.

What was Charlie’s motivation for ice fishing? 

 -She wanted to show that she is brave enough
-She wanted to raise money for her dress
-She wanted to make money through Make a Wish to make money for her dress

At first, Charlie seemed undecided about whether to believe in the magic of the wish fish. What do you think? Why? 

-Charlie didn't believe in it as first. People often don't think that magic is real.
-She didn't believe in the magic because you don't often catch a magical fish
-She didn't believe at first because she thought magic wasn't was real
-I would put the fish in a bucket full of water, put it in a fishtank and keep getting wishes

As Charlie contemplated making a second wish, she evaluated the difference between selfish and selfless wishes. How would you classify her wishes? 

-I would say that they are not as descriptive as they need to be. They aren't thought out well. And that's how some things go wrong with her wishes
-Her wishes were mainly selfless because she used them to help her sister and Dasha and Drew
-Selfless because she was thinking of others.


Did Charlie grow too attached to the wish fish? Explain your opinion. 

-Yes, because she would go out on the ice just to get that fish and get a wish
-I think she was attached to the wishes but also to getting more money for her dress
-When she first found the wish fish, she wanted to go out deeper and not be afraid.

Charlie grew to resent all of the attention that Abby gets when she was presumably sick (and later, when her true issue was revealed). Was Charlie justified in these feelings? Why or why not? 

-She wasn't being a mean sister
-She was justified in feeling resentful because she feels that her parents dropped everything for Abby
-Abby needed the help

Abby was pretty absent from Charlie’s life while she was away at college. Did she deserve Charlie’s loyalty? Should Charlie have kept her secret? 

-It could have been more than that and she shouldn't have kept the secret

What might you want to say if Abby were your older sister? 

-Why did you start heroin
-Your friends are horrible
-You should not have started heroin

Charlie had an image in her head of who a drug user was. How did her perspective change throughout the book? 

-She thought that people were greasy and dirty but then she realized that anyone could be a drug addict 
-There's no one look to how a drug addict looks

Charlie keeps referring to “old Abby.” Are there really two Abbys? 
-There's one person; she changes mentally and emotionally
-There's 2 sides to Abby; one is the angel and one is the devil
-She has 2 sides; the old Abby would be nice and take her places. The new Abby is an addict who lies.

Charlie had wished on the wish fish with good intentions. Were Charlie’s wishes helpful? Explain why or why not. 

-The aftermath of her wishes turned out to be better than the wishes themselves


Why couldn't Abby make the promise Charlie wanted her to keep? 

 -She is addicted and she sees herself now as an addict.

Ranking from 1-5

-Seven 3s
-One 4s
-One 5

For March's Book Club, we will read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.

"The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin."- summary

We will meet on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure to register for the session and pick up your book at the Circulation Desk.

March Book Club Suggestions

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he'd seen it all. But he's never met a cricket before, which really isn't surprising, because, along with his friend Harry Cat, Tucker lives in the very heart of New York City―the Times Square subway station. Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. He'd be there still if he hadn't followed the entrancing aroma of liverwurst right into someone's picnic basket. Now, like any tourist in the city, he wants to look around. And he could not have found two better guides―and friends―than Tucker and Harry. 

A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home 

by Henry Cole

Celeste is a mouse who is looking for a home.
Is it nestled in the toe of a warm boot?
In the shirt pocket of Celeste’s new friend Joseph, who is Audubon’s apprentice?
Or is home the place deep inside Celeste’s heart, where friendships live?

The Tale of Despereaux : Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January Grades 3-4 Book Club Discussion: The Isle of the Lost

We had a great book discussion in January about The Isle of the Lost: A Descendant's Novel by Melissa de la Cruz. Avery, Cam, Charles, Claire, Lillian, Madison, Maida, Quinn, Reagan, and Thomas were present.  Please read some of the comments about the book below.

Please use one word to describe your first impression of each of the main characters: Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay:

-Carlos: genius; Mal: crazy; Jay: silent/stealthy; Evie: foolish
-Mal: wicked; Carlos: brainy and scared; Evie: spoiled; Jay: pickpocket
-Mal: mean; Jay: stealthy; Carlos: engineer; Evie: foolish
-Carlos: smart; Jay: stealthy; Evie: foolish; Mal: mischeivous

What's your favorite scene of the story?:

-The whole adventure to finding the Dragon's Eye
-The party
-When Evie's in the closet (because she got out) and when they got the Dragon's Eye
-being inside the castle
-when they were answering the riddles to get in
-When Carlos sends the beam into the dome and the library being guarded by a giant spider
-The party
-When Mal and Jay are trading
-The beam hits the dome or the party

If your parent were a villain, such as Maleficent, would you fight against him/her or help them try to regain his/her power?:

-Help them get their powers back.
-I would stay in my room and avoid everything
-I would probably pretend to help and then mess around with her
-I would help them because she's my mom
-When it's Christmas in Auradon, if I were Carlos, I would help all the villains escape.
-I would fight them because it's what's right
-I would help them because they are my parents
-I would want to help them
-I would help my parents
-I would help them. They would be the best villains ever and they would be famous
-I would fight them because they are villains. Even though they are the parents, they are not very nice to their children.

What did you think about the ending of the book? Would you read the sequel?: 

-I loved it and I would read the sequel.
-I would read the sequel.
-I would read the sequel.

Please rate this book from 1-5, with 5 being the best:

-Six 5s
-Two 4s
-Two 3s

We will meet on February 1 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner.

"Unsure of how to get her family's attention, Charlie comes across the surprise of her life one day while ice-fishing ... in the form of a floppy, scaly fish offering to grant her a wish in exchange for its freedom"-- Provided by publisher.

Please pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk. And don't forget to register!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

February Book Club Suggestions

Moo by Sharon Creech

"Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.
When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.
This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives."

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm 

"In Jennifer L. Holm's novel, life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she's never met. Florida's like nothing Turtle's ever seen before though. It's hot and strange, full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls with love."

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

"Charlie feels like she's always coming in last. From her Mom's new job to her sister's life away at college, everything else always seems to be more important than Charlie's upcoming dance competition or science project. Unsure of how to get her family's attention, Charlie comes across the surprise of her life one day while ice-fishing . . . in the form of a floppy, scaly fish offering to grant her a wish in exchange for its freedom. Charlie can't believe her luck until she realizes that this fish has a funny way of granting wishes, despite her best intentions. But when her family faces a challenge bigger than any they've ever experienced, Charlie wonders if some things might be too important to risk on a wish."