Juan Verdades: the man who couldn’t tell a lie by Joe Hayes

juanemptySchema: What’s in your schema about a folktale? The story represents a value of the culture.  The setting and names are usually related to the country of origin. Think about whether you would you tell a lie to gain something for yourself such as being named Emperor or winning the love of someone?

Text to text connection with The Empty Pot by Demi.  In both stories the main character is rewarded for his honesty.

Graphic Organizers: In Juan Verdades it would be helpful to use a graphic organizer as the story is read to keep the characters straight.

Arturo: asked for the bet, accepts the ranch as the pay off of the bet, asks for the condition that he could try anything in order to win, has a wife and daughter who is Araceli

Ignacio: Juan’s boss, says he will bet his ranch that Juan will not tell a lie

It was Araceli’s idea to stay on Ignacio’s ranch.

Predicting: What do you predict Araceli’s plan is? I predict Araceli is making Juan’s breakfast because she wants to try to make him fall in love with her.

Predicting: Arturo tells Ignacio that Juan has given his daughter the apples and says that Juan will lie about it.  Do you predict that he will lie?

Inference: What reason does Araceli ask for all the apples? I am inferring that she is asking for them so that Juan will be in a position to lie about what happened to them.

When Juan gives her the apples, what do you infer that Araceli wants to talk about with Don Ignacio?

Drawing Conclusions: If you draw the conclusion that Juan will not lie, what evidence from the story supports this?  Juan has trouble lying because he is always honest as in Ignacio’s description of him.  When Juan practices lying to the jacket hanging on the post, he can not lie.

Riddle: Juan’s first answer is that some fool picked the apples and gave them away.

Juan’s second answer is that he, himself gave them away (fool’s father is my father’s father’s son)

Juan’s third answer is the fool, himself, if he had a child would call his father “grandfather.”

Araceli’s secret talk with Ignacio comes out into the open when her father, Arturo, loses the bet since Juan was honest, and must give his ranch to Ignacio.  Ignacio says instead of taking it for himself, he wants to give it to Juan.  Juan then is a land owner and is able to ask for Araceli’s hand in marriage, thus keeping the ranch in her family.

Summary: with all the twists and turns, this story would be a good one for teaching summary and sequencing.

The Empty Pot by Demi is a much simpler story, but shares the same theme as Juan Verdades.  The emperor asks the children to grow a fabulous flower from the seeds he gives them.

Inference: The children and their families infer that the best flower will be used to determine which child will be the next emperor; but, in reality the contest was to judge honesty.  All of the seeds were boiled and could not possibly grow.  Only Ping returned a year later with an empty pot, thus proving his honesty and worthiness to be the next Emperor.

Text to self connection: Many of the children will identify with Ping when his father tells him not to be ashamed if he did the best that he could do.

Inference: What do we infer that Ping is feeling when we see him returning with his empty pot? The children will say embarrassment, worry, and sadness.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion can we draw about the Emperor’s motives to have the children grow flowers to see who he would name as his successor?  We can infer that he was trying to see which ones were honest.

Seasons: In The Empty Pot the story covers a year and the illustrations reflect the seasons.

Cause and Effect: Because the main characters were honest, they were rewarded.


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