Posts for the ‘Chapter book with pictures’ Category

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

7wonerscoverby Betty G. Birney


Eben longs to see the world, but his father challenges him to find seven Wonders in tiny Sassafras Springs, Missouri in one week in exchange for a train ticket to Silver Peak, Colorado.

Why I like this for a read aloud book:

*All the Wonders have a story
*Eben becomes more aware of all the Wonders around him
*Eben’s willingness to get his chores completed first
*Jeb’s patience with his younger siblings

Family Fun

Aunt Pretty “went through clothespins in a hurry” but not because she chewed them like lollipops as Eben conjectured. Make Clothespin Dolls.

There are all sorts of ways to create your clothespin dolls:

*Paint fish scales design and face, and add fins and hair for this mermaid.
7wondersmermaid(I used construction paper and this pattern for the fin, but foam or a cereal box would also work. I used embroidery floss for the hair.)
7wondersfin*Paint part of the doll and add embellishments like this ballerina tutu.

7wonderstutu1(To make the tutu, wrap yarn around 3-4 fingers. Cut the loops. Cut a piece of yarn and tie loosely around the middle. Fit the clothespin in the middle of the bundle and tighten and tie. Fold the yarn down.)

*Use other supplies to add clothes like pipe cleaners on this skier.
(The skis and pole ends are cut from a soup mix box, and the poles are toothpicks.)

*Use fabric and a clear plastic cup to make this fairy.
7wondersfairy*Using fabric or paint, make a doll of someone you know, like Aunt Pretty did. Can you guess who this is?
7wondersebenYour imagination is your only limitation!!

Music Fun

Eben was drawn into the church when he heard the unusual music created by Cal with a saw and bow. Make Unusual Instruments.

*Make a straw oboe.

Flatten one end of the straw and cut it into a “V”.
7wondersstraw1Cut small holes (make sure your fingers can cover the holes) on the same side as the “V”.
7wondersstraw2Cover the holes with your fingers and blow gently through the “V”, lifting different fingers to get different “notes.”

*Musical Bottles

If you want an entire scale, collect eight 20 oz. bottles.

Fill the bottles with water:
7 oz. (Do)
9 1/2 oz. (Re)
12 1/2 oz. (Mi)
14 oz. (Fa)
16 1/2 oz. (So)
17 1/2 oz. (La)
18 1/2 oz. (Ti)
19 oz. (Do)
Label the bottles 1-8, 1 being the bottle with 7 oz. of water. Blow across the top of the bottles from Do to Do to play a scale.
7wondersbottleTry playing the song, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” by blowing over the bottles in this order:
-1 1 1 2 3
-3 2 3 4 5
-8 8 8 5 5 5 3 3 3 1 1 1
-5 4 3 2 1

If you don’t care about exactness, just fill some bottles with different amounts of water and have fun. Add and delete water to check out the different sounds.

Another option is to fill the bottles with different amounts of water, and instead of blowing over the top to make the sounds, loosely hold a metal spoon or knife and gently hit the bottles to create the sound.
7wondersknife(With this option you could use glasses instead of bottles.)

*Make a Comb Kazoo

You will need:
A plastic comb
Wax paper
Scissors and tape

Cut a piece of wax paper that is a little shorter than the comb and a little more than twice as wide.
7wonderscombWrap the wax paper with the fold over the teeth, covering both sides. Don’t pull the wax paper too tightly because you want it to vibrate.

Tape the paper to hold it in place if you like or just hold the wax paper in place.
7wonderstapePlace dry lips against the paper and hum your favorite song.

*Here is another way to make a kazoo. Draw a circle a little larger than a toilet paper roll on wax paper.
7wondersrollCut out the circle. Place it snugly over the end of the roll and hold in place with a rubber band. Poke a hole just below the rubber band.
7wondersholeHum a song into the open end.

Food Fun

Eben’s aunt enlists his help to stir and taste the homemade ketchup she is making.  Make Ketchup.

You will need:

1 small can tomato paste
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. onion powder
2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
7wondersingredPut all ingredients in a small saucepan.
7wonderspanBring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it is the consistency of ketchup. Cool. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container. This makes a very sweet ketchup.
7wondersketchupBe sure to have your listener stir and taste, just like Eben. (Wear an oven mitt to stir as it will spit.)

*Eben’s aunt canned peaches in lots of different ways. You can make different kinds of ketchup too. Make Curry Ketchup.

You will need:

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 T. oil
1 T. + 2 t. curry powder
1/2 T. paprika
1/8 – 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 c. whole tomatoes with juice
1/2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. red wine or cider vinegar
Salt to taste – 1/4 t.

Saute the onion in the oil till soft. Add the curry, paprika, and cayenne and cook one more minute.

Crush the tomatoes with your hands (your listener will love this part!)
7wonderssquishAdd the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes.

If you want smooth ketchup, blend with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. I like mine chunky so I skipped that step.

This ketchup is part of a very popular fast food in Germany. Pork sausage is steamed, fried, chopped into chunks, and covered with curry ketchup. It is called currywurst.
7wonderscurrywurstTry your curry ketchup on bratwurst or even your next hotdog. Yum!

Reading Reinforcement

*Eben’s book says a Wonder is “a marvel; that which arouses awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration.” What Wonders can you find where you live?

*Of what story does Henry Upton and his rainmaking remind you? How is Uppity’s story different from the Pied Piper?

*When Eben asked Cully if he had asked the rainmaker’s secret, Cully said, “I believe in leaving well enough alone.” Why didn’t he want to have that skill? Do you believe in leaving things well enough alone? Why or why not?

*Calvin Smiley grew more on his small piece of land than anyone else in the area. What was his secret?

*Eben is worried that he’ll never live down Coogie’s prank. Eben’s father tells him that people forget with time, that he “knows some upstanding people who’ve lived down worse than that.” Who is at least one of those upstanding people?

*Uncle Dutch thought he wanted to be a seaman, but found it wasn’t what he thought it would be and now is so averse to the water that he won’t even get in the bathtub. Do you think Eben will regret his desire to travel once he has tried it? Why or why not?

*After Old Emma confronted Buddy he promised,” I’m only going to help folks from now on.” Did he follow through with his promise? Do you think he found more joy in pulling pranks or helping folks? Why? Think of an event in your life that convinced you to change your behavior.


Find this book at your local library or buy it here. This links to a paperback book.


Arabel’s Raven

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

arabelcover1by Joan Aiken


When Arabel’s father rescues a bedraggled bird from the road one night, little does he know the adventures it will bring his family.

Why I like this for a read aloud book:

*Outrageous situations which seem almost normal
*Arabel’s parent’s patience with the raven’s difficult behavior
*Just plain fun!

Family Fun

Arabel’s mother’s story becomes jumbled from mambas to gorillas to poison cheese as she gets more and more excited. Play Storytelling Jumble.

Write nouns (a person, place, or thing) on slips of paper and put them in a bowl or hat. The crazier, the better.
arabelnounsOne person starts a story. When she gets to an important noun, she draws one from the bowl and inserts it into the story.

For example:
1st player: I went to school today but I forgot my….(reads a noun from the bowl) “mamba.”

Then the next player picks up the story: I didn’t think the teacher liked snakes. Wasn’t she happy you forgot?

1st player: I’m not sure. I think she would have preferred that I forgot my….(reads a noun from the bowl) “footprint.”

It doesn’t matter who draws a noun. Each player decides when to draw a noun as she tells her part of the story.

Flying Food Fun

When Chris comes to watch Arabel while her parents are out, Mortimer tossed pancakes and chips into the air and speared them. Chris and Arabel tossed the chips into the air and caught them in their mouths. Catch Flying Food.

Select something relatively small such as marshmallows, nuts, Cheerios, or M&M’s.
arabelfoodToss one into the air and try to catch it in your mouth. Be sure to pick up and throw away anything that lands on the floor!

More Family Fun

Chris, Arabel, and Mortimer dress up as Vikings and play hide-and-seek. Try these Hide-and-Seek Games.

*Viking Hide-and-Seek

Dress up as Vikings with a bowl or pot for a helmet and a towel or a blanket for a cape.
arabelvikingOr dress up as anything else you like. One person hides and the others look for him.

*Sardine Hide-and-Seek

One person hides. When another player finds her, he joins her in the hiding place. As the game progresses, the hiding place is packed and the remaining players know they are looking for a spot with lots of “sardines” packed into one hiding place.

*Jailbreak Hide-and-Seek

One person is “it.” While the other players hide, “it” says:

“One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, rock.
Four o’clock, five o’clock, six o’clock, rock.
Seven o’clock, eight o’clock, nine o’clock, rock.
Ten o’clock, eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, midnight!”

“It” starts searching for the players who are hiding. When a player is tagged, he goes to jail (the porch or some other predetermined spot).
arabelcoverOther players who are not tagged try to step on the porch, causing a “jailbreak” and freeing any players in jail.

When all players have been sent to jail, the first one jailed becomes the next “it.”

*Treasure Hunt Hide-and-Seek

My listener introduced me to this game. Instead of a person hiding, an object is hidden in a room. We used a bookmark:
arabelbkmrkAn “X” is made on a blank piece of paper indicating the location in the room. Using the treasure map, the other player tries to find the hidden object.
arabeltreasureIf the object isn’t found in a minute or two, the person who hid the object counts down from ten. If the object still isn’t found, the treasure isn’t retrieved and it is the other player’s turn to hide the object and mark the map.

Fun Raven Facts

*Ravens have feathers under their beaks called “hackles” that look like this:

*Ravens are the biggest birds of their kind–about two feet high with a wingspan of about four feet. (Measure yourself. Are you taller than a raven? Is its wingspan wider than you are tall?)

*They are extremely clever. They can learn to speak even better than parrots. (Of all the impossible things Mortimer does, saying “Nevermore” is very possible.)

*Scientists have conducted several experiments that show that ravens are problem-solvers and learn quickly.

*Ravens are nimble fliers. They have been observed flying rolls, somersaults, and even upside down. Young ravens love to play by dropping sticks and diving to retrieve them.

*A group of ravens is called a “bizarre”, a “rant”, or a “constable” of ravens.

*Legend has it that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, the British Empire will crumble.

Reading Reinforcement

*Mortimer always says, “Nevermore.” This is from a melancholy poem written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1845. Here is an excerpt from the poem:

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

Fortunately there is nothing melancholy about Mortimer!

*In the train station, Mortimer was perched on the frame of a poster advertising the Pickwick, the Owl, and the Waverly Pen. The complete advertising jingle went like this:

They came as a boon and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl, and the Waverly Pen.

Pens at that time had to be dipped in an inkwell. The tip of the pen was called a “nib.” The Pickwick, the Owl, and the Waverly were revolutionary pen tips that made writing without splotches of ink, or cutting through the paper much easier.

What new inventions have made your life easier?

*If your pet ate the stairs in your house, would your parents let you keep it? How can this story be so absurd but still seem believable? What is your favorite crazy situation in the book?


Find this book at your local library or buy it here. This links to a paperback book.


Lulu and the Brontosaurus

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

luluandbrontdcoverby Judy Viorst


When Lulu’s parents aren’t able to provide her with the Brontosaurus she wants for her birthday present, she sets out to find one herself with surprising results.

Why I like this for a read aloud book:

*Different endings from which to choose
*Author talks to the reader
*Fun layout of the book
*Lulu’s expressions and graceful explanation for her change

Family Fun

Lulu gives the tiger a beautiful scarf. Play Scarf Games.

Scarf Dancing

*Each person has a scarf. Turn on fun, fast music–whatever your favorite genre–and dance to the music. Here’s one of my favorite dancing songs:


If you prefer classical music, my listener always starts dancing to this song with or without a scarf! (It takes a few seconds for the music to start. Don’t give up!)


Scarf Toss

Throw the scarf in the air. See how many times you can clap your hands and still catch the scarf before it hits the ground.
luluandbrontoscarfCatch the scarf with your hands, head, shoulder, elbows, back, stomach, or foot. Decide before you start which body part will be used for catching.

Toss and Catch

Toss and catch with right hand
Toss and catch with the left hand
Toss, touch left shoulder and catch with right hand
Toss, touch right shoulder and catch with left hand
Toss with right hand, touch both shoulders with opposite hands and catch scarf
Continue the pattern of touching one, then the other then both body parts for:
The hip, the knee, and the ankle.

Then see how many body parts you can touch before catching the scarf.

More Family Fun

Lulu wants a Brontosaurus for a pet. Draw a Brontosaurus.

It’s easy to draw when you break the picture into basic shapes. Draw these basic shapes to draw Lulu’s Brontosaurus.

Use a pencil to draw a small oval near the top left of your paper for the head. Elongate the oval to a pointed nose.
luluandbrontodino1Draw a long skinny triangle starting at the head.
luluandbrontodino2Draw a very large oval for the body.
luluandbrontodino3Draw an upside-down, rounded triangle for the front legs and for the back legs.
luluandbrontodino4Draw half circles for the feet. Draw two more curved lines for the tail.
luluandbrontodino5Go back and erase the lines between the head and neck, the legs and the body, the tail and the body, and the feet and legs. (I forgot to erase the line between the feet and legs.)
luluandbrontodino6Outline with a marker or pen. Add details: Eyes, toenails, knee dimples, etc. Color any way you like.
luluandbrontodinocolLulu’s Brontosaurus!

Travel Fun

Lulu packs her suitcase for her journey. Play “I’m Going on a Trip.”

*The first player says, “I’m going on a trip and I’m packing in my little suitcase an apple.”

The next player repeats what the first person said and adds an item of his own only this time it starts with a “B.”

The next player continues, “I’m going on a trip and I’m packing in my little suitcase an apple, a button, and a car.”

Keep going all the way through the alphabet or until someone can’t remember what is already in the suitcase. (You don’t have to have a real suitcase. A virtual one will work just as well!)
lulubandbrontoapple*OR you could say, “I’m going to get a pet and it’s going to be __________.”

*OR “I’m going to the beach and I’m going to take __________.”

*OR “I’m going to school and I’m going to take _________.”

Be creative and go or do whatever fits your current activity.

Food Fun

Lulu ate a pickle sandwich from her suitcase. Make a Pickle Sandwich.

You will need:

2 slices of bread
Pickles of your choice
2 oz. cream cheese
3/4 t. mayonnaise
3/4 t. lemon juice
1/4-1/2 t. onion powder
Pinch of salt

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, lemon juice, onion powder, and salt until well-mixed and smooth.

Spread some of the mixture on each slice of bread. It will taste good and also prevent the pickle from making the bread soggy. Put pickles on one side.
luluandbrontopick2Put the sandwich together and cut in half.
luluandbrontopick3If pickles alone seem as if the sandwich is missing something, one of my favorite things to add is cheese.

I love a two-cheese sandwich and the cream cheese makes this a three-cheese sandwich. Even better!

Fun Brontosaurus Facts

*The Brontosaurus is really the Apatosaurus which was discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. He later found an even bigger set of bones that he named Brontosaurus. Some years afterwards, it was determined that the second set of bones was just the adult version of the smaller set of bones which he had first found.

*Apatosaurus means “deceptive lizard”, so named because its back bone resembles another dinosaur.

*Brontosaurus means “thunder lizard.” It was one of the largest animals to ever live. It grew to 50-75 feet long and weighed 50,000 pounds!

*Its neck was so long and heavy, scientists don’t know how the Brontosaurus held up its head. They think it probably couldn’t lift its head very high so it didn’t eat from tall trees.

*Its long tail was a counterbalance so it didn’t tip over. The tail was whip-like and may also have been used as a defensive weapon.

*The Brontosaurus was a plant eater. (Lulu didn’t need to worry that he would eat her.)

*It lived in the Jurassic Period, about 150 million years ago. (Like the author said, Lulu and the Brontosaurus couldn’t have been in the forest together.)

Reading Reinforcement

To the Reader:

*It’s okay to edit books as you read if you feel the need. For example, in our house Lulu would have been a pain in the “rear.”

*If there is behavior (such as Lulu’s behavior in the beginning of the book) in a book that is not appropriate, use it as a springboard for discussion. You might ask how the behavior is a problem or why such behavior is not allowed in your house.

*Be sure to read the foreword because it is part of the story.

*Remember words in CAPITALS are read more loudly than other words.

*Be sure to sing when Lulu sings. It doesn’t matter if you are on key, have a good voice, or even have a decent tune. Your listener will love the sing song silliness of your efforts.

For the Listener:

*A fun thing about stories is that they don’t have to be real–like parents forgetting about their children, dinosaurs and people living at the same time, etc. Name some other things in the story that couldn’t really happen.

*Which ending did you like best? Why? Would you end it a different way? How?

*What changed Lulu’s attitude? What behaviors might you change on your next birthday because you are one year older?

*A Brontosaurus is a crazy pet. If you could have any animal for a pet, what would it be? Why?


Find this book at your local library or buy it here.