Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September Book Club: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

For September's book club, we read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Abigail, Amelia, Ava, Claire, Fiona, Kathryn, Lauren, Lottie, Luna, Mari, and Truman were present. We used these questions to guide our discussion but allowed ourselves to go off topic!

Fern shows her parents that she is responsible enough to care for Wilbur. What do you need to do to care for any pet? Do you have a pet? 

-You have to feed it and make a bed for it. 
-Wash it, feed it, give it water and let it play outside
-You should walk it
-Feeding it your leftovers (if you had a pig)
-You have to treat the yard for fleas and ticks   
-Take them to the vet

When Wilbur escapes from his pen, he runs about frantically until he lets himself be captured. He thinks, “I’m really too young to go out into the world alone” (chapter 3). Do you ever feel this way? When you are trying something new on your own, do you feel excited, brave, nervous, or frightened? 

-I'm sometimes scared to do new things
-I feel mostly excited and am nervous about doing something wrong
-It depends on what it is

Charlotte’s Web takes place on Mr. Zuckerman’s farm. Which farm animal would you most want to be, and which farm animal would you least want to be? Why? 

-I would be a horse because they would be one of the tallest and biggest animals
-I would be a spider. I would like to make a web and they are tiny so they can go in tiny spaces.
-I would want to be a goat.
-I would not want to be a pig because I don't want to get roasted.
-I would want to be a goat because they can eat trash
-I would be a horse because cows, chickens and other animals get eaten
-I would like to be a horse because you get to jump a lot. I would not want to be a rat because, like Templeton, they eat a lot.
-I would not like to be a pig because I don't want to be bacon. I would like to be a sheep because they're not eaten that often. 
-I would not want to be a spider because of what happened to Charlotte. They don't live very long. And I don't want to be captured by someone and tortured. I would like to be a rat. I would be a good rat and others would like me.
-I would like to be a horse because they don't get killed that often. I wouldn't want to be a pig because of bacon and pork.
-I would like to be an old dog. I wouldn't want to be a chicken because I don't want to be chicken.          

Fern and her brother, Avery, spend their days on the farm swinging on a rope swing, catching frogs, and picking raspberries. Do you think these activities are similar or different to what a lot of kids do for fun today? What activities do you like to do? 

-I go rope swinging.
-I do all.
-I catch frogs
-I pick raspberries, blueberries, etc.
-I usually
-They didn't have technology
-Video games?
-No phones!       
-We all have books

Charlotte is desperate to save her friend Wilbur’s life, and she’s determined to come up with a plan. What are the disadvantages Charlotte faces as a spider trying to save a pig’s life?

-Spiders can get smooshed often and easily. She is tiny. And she can't talk to humans. And most people don't like spiders.
-Wilbur is so big compared to Charlotte. She's tiny but she saves him.

Mr. Zuckerman tells his wife, “Our pig is completely out of the ordinary” (chapter 11). Do you think this is true? Are there multiple characters in the story that are extraordinary?

-The talking spider
-The talking pig
-All of the talking animals

When Charlotte’s plan starts to work, Wilbur becomes a famous pig. Fern is happy that Wilbur will be saved, but finds that now “the barn was not nearly as pleasant—too many people. She liked it better when she could be all alone with her friends the animals” (chapter 11). Would you like to be famous? Why or why not? What do you think are the costs of being famous? 

-I wouldn't want to be famous because then everyone knows your personal information
-I would not like to be famous because they ask stupid questions of you.
-I would half and half. People wait for you to mess up. 
-I would not want to be famous because I would always have to ask questions and I would never be home for dinner and I would miss my family
-People would be following you around all of the time.
-People would be crowding around you all the time and ask personal questions and you'd have no alone time
-I would like to be famous because I would have an entourage. Plus, I'd have my own private jet. I would bathe in money.
-I would like to be famous because lots of people like you and you have bodyguards and then you go to dinners and you can have dinner any place.   

In chapter 13, Charlotte has to complete the difficult task of weaving “TERRIFIC” into her web. She talks to herself as she works until the task is completed. What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished? How did you do it? Did you encourage yourself by talking to yourself or in another way? 

-The most difficult thing I did took me years. It took me a long time to learn to read. I still look up to him. I was trying to read out loud. I had to encourage myself along the way. When I was five, I started to read in my head. And Harry Potter was my breakthrough.
-I used to want to draw like my dad. So I started to draw.
-Climbing a mountain
-My friend from kindergarten was reading a lot and I was watching her. I watched her. And I learned from you.
-One of the hardest things was a competition and there was a trophy you could win for reading the most books.
-Skiing down a really hard mountain
-My hardest thing is to beat the battle of my sister. 
-If I was rich, I could have cookie gun. When we ran of Oreos (and cookies in general).  
-We went to the Alps and there were no ski lifts and we had to climb up the mountain and it was really yard
-I had to face doing a front-flip into a foam pit. I never did it. And my brother.
-Playing soccer

Here are some questions that I had prepared but we didn't get to. We were pretty busy in today's book club!

At first Wilbur is embarrassed that Charlotte is going to write “TERRIFIC” in her web, but eventually he begins to feel that he really is terrific. Why do you think Wilbur’s feelings about himself change?

How has fame affected Wilbur? What is the most important thing in his life? What are the most important things in your own life? Do you think those things would change if you became famous? 

Wilbur blushes when he receives a medal at the fair. Have you ever won an award or trophy? How did you feel (or how do you think you would feel)? 

Charlotte reflects upon her life and tells Wilbur, “By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” Think about ways that kids can “lift up their lives a trifle” by helping others. What can you do to “lift up your own life?”

Charlotte saves Wilbur’s future, and Wilbur saves Charlotte’s future. How does each character accomplish this?

For October's Book Club, we will be reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio, per the club vote.

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.

We will be meeting on Wednesday, October 11 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up your copy of the book and sign up at the Circulation Desk so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to buy!

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