PRINCIPAL’S BOOK OF THE MONTH – October 2016
Written by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum, a cheerful and naive young mouse, loves everything about her perfect name. And then she starts school. Each day a trio of disdainful mouse girls—Jo, Rita, and the leader of the pack, the domineering Victoria—tease and taunt her mercilessly about the unsuitability of her name. Chrysanthemum wilts. Chrysanthemum’s shattered psyche is repaired by Mrs. Twinkle, an “indescribable wonder” of a music teacher, who reveals to the class her own long, flower-based name: Delphinium.
Chrysanthemum is a great book to springboard a discussion about treating classmates with tolerance, kindness, and compassion.
Common Core Connections:
Meaning/Key Ideas/Details: Multiple levels of meaning, moving from general to specific knowledge through use of evidence
Craft and Structure: Explicitly stated purpose; implicit information
Knowledge/Ideas: Multiple perspectives, everyday knowledge combined with genre connection
- Identify characters, setting, and major events in the story.
- Describe the character, Chrysanthemum, using illustrations and text.
- Students will be able to make sense of new vocabulary using examples (evidence) from the text.
Suggested Activities -
Making Predictions and Inferences - Discuss with your listeners the way the main character in stories often encounters a problem that he or she tries to solve. Read aloud the first five pages of the book, stopping at the top of the sixth page with: “Chrysanthemum thought her name was absolutely perfect. And then she started school.” As a class, predict what might happen to Chrysanthemum when she gets to school.
Making Connections - What if Mrs. Twinkle had not come to Chrysanthemum's rescue? What could Chrysanthemum have done to get the girls to stop badgering her? What good advice could you give her, based on your own experience, about how to deal with bullies and people who say mean things? Talk this over as a group.
- Discuss themes. What is the theme of this book? How could students use this theme in their lives?
All Grades – Please adjust the lesson activities to fit your grade level.
- Have students write a book review including the following: Description of the beginning, middle, and ending of the story. Persuade readers to read the book.