In the novel, The Tiger Rising, twelve year old Rob walks through the woods near his Florida home, he stumbles upon a caged tiger. The same day, he meets a girl named Sistine Bailey. Rob is full of bottled up emotions. Before long, he begins confiding his feelings with Sistine. Rob even shows Sistine the tiger. When she sees it, she insists they let it go. This leads to tragedy.
Despereaux is an unusual mouse. He loves reading books and has a huge imagination. One day, he goes to Princess Pea’s room and hears her father playing his guitar and singing. Despereaux talks to Princess Pea because he is so caught up in the music. When Princess Pea picks Despereaux up for a closer look, he falls immediately in love with her. Despereaux’s brother Furlough witnesses the entire exchange. Furlough then runs and tells their father Lester what he has seen. Lester calls a meeting of the Mouse Council. The Council votes to send Despereaux to the dungeon where the rats live for breaking a “Mouse Rule.” The Thread Master ties the mark of death, a red piece of thread, around Despereaux. He is then pushed down the stairs into the dungeon. To learn of Despereaux’s fate read The Tales of Desperaux.
Despereaux is an unusual mouse. Instead of spending his days scrounging for food scraps, he read books and listens to music. Despereaux falls in love with a book about a princess and a knight. Later he meets a real princess and falls instantly in love with her. For this “terrible deed,” he is banished to the dungeon. There Despereaux’s bravery shines through as he courageously battles the scary dungeon rats to keep Princess Pea safe after she is kidnapped. Continue Reading
If you haven’t read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, you are in for a real treat. This heartwarming story follows Edward, a porcelain rabbit. In the 1930’s, Grandmother gave Edward to Abilene. Abilene adored Edward and treated him as a member of the family.
While on vacation, two mischievous boys throw Edward overboard while Abilene is traveling on the Queen Mary. Edward ends up in the depths of the ocean. He is fished out and passed from one owner to the next over a number of years (as you can see from the anchor chart below). Each owner teaches Edward to grow in character from a self-absorbed toy to a loving and caring individual.Continue Reading
Because of Winn Dixie tells the story of ten-year old Opal. She has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father. On an errand to the grocery store, Opal finds a large, ugly, homeless dog. Opal is immediately attached to the dog whom she names Winn Dixie after the grocery store where she finds him. Together they make friends with Otis, an ex-convict who runs the local pet store; Miss Fanny, the librarian who has a desk full of “Litmus Lozenges” a type of candy which her great grandfather invented; and Gloria Dump, the lady the local children think of as a witch because of her jungle-like yard. This book will make you laugh as Opal and Winn Dixie make friends with these very likable characters in this small southern town.
Teaching Ideas for the Book
Student Created Webpages
Approximately 14 years ago, a group of teachers from my school got together and wrote a grant for a computer lab. This was really a big deal because our school’s only computer lab at that time was equipped with Apple IIe computers. They were fantastic when the lab was first set up in the 1990s, but when the Internet came to our school system, they felt like dinosaurs. The new lab was incredible. The teachers who worked on the grant were given the first time slots in the new lab. I had a 45 minute slot of time each day. You can imagine the excitement I felt.Continue Reading