Red Ranger has lost his faith in Christmas, adults, and their promises until his encounter with an unusual old man.
Why I like this for a read aloud book:
*Based on a personal story
*Red Ranger’s change of heart
*New perspective on Santa
Santa tries to levitate the reindeer. Levitate items from the book. Make a Mobile.
You will need:
A stick, a chopstick, or a pencil
Twine, ribbon, needle and thread
OR white paper and crayons or markers
You may put whatever you like on your mobile. I considered using elves, Amelia, and Red Ranger. Then I decided to go with the tree/bicycle theme.
Draw, color, and cut your mobile items. Click here for the template for my mobile items:
Find a stick, pencil, chopstick, paint stirrer or whatever you have:
Make the hanging items. The trees become 3D by cutting part way through each tree and sliding them together. Put the bicycle together.
OR make your own items.
Tie a string from the stick to each item. (I used a needle and thread.)
More Family Fun
Aunt Vy gives Red Ranger a super hero shirt. Make a Super Hero Shirt.
You will need:
A shirt or pajama top
Fabric or paper
For a Red Ranger shirt, cut a gray piece of paper or fabric and affix it to the shirt. Cut an “R” and center it on the gray. If you use fabric, sew the parts. If you use paper, glue or masking tape the parts on to the shirt.
You may choose to create your own Super Hero shirt. It could be Batman, Superman, or Super ______. (Insert your name!)
Outside Family Fun
All Red Ranger wants is the Official Buck Tweed Two-Speed Crime-Stopper Star-Hopper bicycle. Go for a ride on your bike.
Each Christmas, Red Ranger is sent to Aunt Vy on Vashon Island. Find Vashon Island.
Here is a more detailed picture of Vashon.
Notice that the only way to get to the island is by ferry. There are no bridges and roads. You can see why Red Ranger feels a long way from home. (On the United States map, find New Jersey where his parents live, and Michigan where Red Ranger went to school.)
To the reader:
*Skip reading the beginning note from Berkeley Breathed to your listener. Jump right into the story. After you have read the book, you can summarize Berkeley’s note if you think your listener will be interested.
*This book contains lots of unusual vocabulary–read all the way through the first time. In a second reading, take time to ask listener what he/she thinks terms mean. Using context, help your listener understand the correct meaning. My listeners and I always have a dictionary available for words that truly stump us.
*Here are a few of the terms or phrases that might be unfamiliar to your listener:
Banish, loiter, twaddle, fraud surely afoot, unmask a humbug, blue phosphorescence, grotesque shadows, glowering, infected by an atmosphere of malarkey, appalled, dumbfounded (notice that this is a synonym of flabbergasted), puny, affixed, vile, flabbergasted.
If you refer to a dictionary, there are often multiple definitions. Talk with your listener about which one makes most sense in the context of the book.
To the listener:
*Red Ranger’s mom tells him there is a “natural order to all things and that mine must have been prickliness.” What did she mean? What do you know about him that supports her words? What is your natural order?
*What does Red Ranger mean when he says “I was fixing to get another rug pulled out from below me”? What else has happened to him that reinforced that idea? Think of a time you’ve felt that way.
*Tears came “for more than just a bicycle beyond reach” when he faces Saunder Clos. Why did they come? To what is he referring?
*Did you expect Red Ranger to berate Saunder Clos for failing him? Why didn’t he?
*Why did Red Ranger need to wake his aunt and thank her for the Red Ranger shirt?
*What changes Red Ranger through his interactions with Saunder Clos?
*Take a careful look at the illustrations. What do you learn? How do you think Aunt Vy feels about Saunder Clos? Why?
*How many depictions of Santa can you find–from images on clothes to pictures to the bike fender to Santa himself?
Find this book at your local library or buy it here.