Tag Archives: Characterization

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Schema: being cruel and unkind

Text-to-Self: Feeling mistreated by other kids, not being accepted

Bullies: Chloe decides to be cruel and bully another student.

Mental Images: Imagine the ripple of the water and think how this is like an action of kindness or cruelty.

Metaphor: The ripple and the act are alike in one way; they both spread far from you.

Synthesis: What small things have you done to make the world, your home, your school, your family better?

Can you think of ways Chloe could make amends for the way she treated Maya if she never sees her again?

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Schema: Goldilocks stories

Text-to-Text: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Drawing Conclusions: Find text evidence to support the conclusion that the dinosaurs were setting a trap for Goldilocks.

Synthesis: Can you think of any other morals for the story?

Compare and Contrast: the original story with this one.

Characterization: Find the text where Goldilock’s character is described.

Point of View: The dinosaurs point of view is not the innocent one of the bears, but one of calculating prey looking forward to setting a trap for delicious, chocolate-filled Goldilocks.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Schema: mysteries, museums

Text-to-text connections: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Cause and Effect: Because Ben was talking on the phone during a storm, the effect was that Ben lost his hearing when lightning struck the phone line.

Characterization: List Ben’s traits: curious, smart, brave to travel alone, good speller and writer, uses any resource available, resourceful for eating food left by others. How are the character traits of Ben and his mother alike?

Drawing Conclusions: Practice drawing conclusions as you read the pictures for Rose’s story. Inference is used to draw the conclusions.

Point of View: author’s: third person, character’s: Ben and Rose

Summarizing: Summarize Rose’s early life up to when she meets Ben

Mental Image: Can you make a mental image of the wolves chasing Ben? Check out the wolves’ diorama from the AMNH in New York City.

Go to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC’s website and look at some of the exhibits online.

Check out the panorama of NYC boroughs at the Queens Museum of History.

 

 

The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way by Dan Gutman

Schema: football scoring rules

Text-to-Text Connection: Turkey Bowl by Phil Bildner also takes place many years ago.

In this full color picture book, the author shares the story of Roy Riegels as historical fiction. The real life lesson is that we all make mistakes, but we shouldn’t let a mistake  destroy our ability to move forward and achieve in the future. The story tells how Roy continued to be great athlete and a successful businessman and did not let his big mistake and label of “wrong-way Riegels” color his future in a negative way.

Author’s purpose and Point of View: Written in third person, the author tells the real life story of Roy Riegels.

Cause and Effect: Because Roy ran the wrong way, the effect was that his team lost their big game.

Drawing Conclusions: We can draw the conclusion that Roy did not let his mistake ruin his life because he continued to be successful.

 

Scapegoat: The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-up Coat by Dean hale


Schema: blaming something on someone else

Definition of Scapegoat

In rhyming text the author shares the story about very mischevious Jimmy and his goat, P. Petunia Oat.

Sequencing: What did Jimmy blame on Petunia in order: eating his coat, throwing away the TV remote, blowing his nose in the tote, breaking the boat, shaving the goat’s thoat

Reader’s Theater: This book would be a great reader’s theater with a part for the goat and a part for Jimmy.

Author reads his book in Spanish on You Tube.

Characterize Jimmy and Petunia based on the text and illustrations.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion do you come to about what happened to Jimmy’s coat?

Point of View: The author’s POV is third person.

 

 

 

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara & Mark Fearing

Schema: The original story of the three little pigs

Compare and Contrast: the original story with the modern one

Personification: the robot

Characterize the robot and the wolf in the original story

The story of the Three Little Pigs meets the space age in this new twist on the original story. The three aliens all find homes in space, one on a rover, one on a satellite, and the third one on Mars where he builds a sturdy house. The planets are illustrated in order from the sun so a reader could gain some reinforcement of space learning as the book is read. This would be a support for a compare and contrast unit. The illustrations are colorful and add humor to the story.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine

Schema: Underground railroad, escaped slaves

Author’s purpose: to share African American history

Author’s Point of View: 3rd person omniscient as we see the story from more than one character’s point of view

Cause and Effect: Because Henry’s family was sold, the effect was that Henry went to the extreme of mailing himself to escape the sorrow of slavery.

Characterize Henry: hard working, good listener, loving, strong

Mental Images: Henry imagined the carts carrying away his family and all that he loved every night.

Drawing Conclusions: Henry knew that the mail was delivered everywhere. He thought he could stand being in a box for many hours. He drew the conclusion that he could mail himself north to escape slavery.

After Henry’s family is sold, he purposefully pours sulphuric acid on his hand so that he could stay home from work in order to get some help in mailing himself to the northern states to escape slavery in the southern United States.

 

In Jail, Ms. Wiz? by Terence Blacker


Schema: good witches, magic, 101 Dalmations

Text-to-text connections: Roald Dahl’s books and humor

Ms. Wiz, a witch, or as she likes to be called a “paranormal operative,” appears to Lizzie in a park and helps her find her lost cat. The story is similar to 101 Dalmatians except the evil woman wants cat fur to make her things. Large font and ink sketches make the book of five short chapters a perfect middle level read. At the end, Ms. Wiz turns all of the evil woman’s fur clothes back into the animals they were made from making her end up naked in her car when the police arrive to arrest her. Just a brief couple of sentences telling this add a bit of juvenile humor that intermediate level readers will enjoy. The author has been compared to Roald Dahl, and I would have to agree. The illustrator has illustrated some of Dahl’s books as well.

Cause and effect: Because Lizzie is so upset, the effect is that she can not concentrate at school.

Characterization: List all of Ms. Wiz’s traits: caring, kind, magical, loyal

 

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

Schema: Dust bowl, Great Depression, bullies, superheroes, sisters and brothers

Author’s purpose: to entertain and inform about the depression

Inference: The family was leaving Kansas, but then when the mysterious figure runs in front of the car, it seems that the family didn’t end up leaving Kansas. We may infer that the sudden stop caused the car to break down as we see the father working on the car after that.

Cause and Effect: Because of the drought, the effect is that the economy is depressed and people are out of work.

POV: The story is told from Jack’s POV.

Text-to-text connection: The Wizard of Oz

Text-to-self connection: wanting a parent’s attention

Characterization of Jack: Describe all of Jack’s traits such as his caring for his sisters, his desire to be loved by his father, his longing to help with the farm, his courage to confront the Storm Man and capture the thunder, his manner in dealing with the bullies, and the relationship he has with the Ernie.

Historical Fiction: Times were truly hard for the lack of rain during the 1930′s in Kansas, an area called the “Dust Bowl” because of the dry dusty soil that blew away because of the drought.  In order to survive and grow what feed they could for their cattle, the farmers would have jackrabbit drives, where they would round up the jack rabbits and club them to death.  Most of the rabbits would then be fed to other animals.  The people were afraid to eat them because of jackrabbit fever. The books provides a candid view of what life was like for people during this time period.

Drawing Conclusions: What do you conclude is the reason that Ernie tells Jack the stories he shares with him?

Synthesis: Can you think of another hard time in history where some type of superhero could have changed the harshness to happiness?  What would be the hero’s super powers?

This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet 2011 nominee list, written on a 2.3 AR level, and begins with the curse word “damn.”  Following on into the story the author injected two more “hell’s” andin my personal opinion the curse words were unnecessary.

The Hired Hand by Robert D. San Souci


Schema: fairy tales, element of magic

Genre: traditional literature

Setting: Virginia

Predicting: Predict what young Sam will do when the man comes back with the request to make his wife young again

Character Motivation: What motivates young Sam to charge the man for what the hired hand did?  What motivates him to change at the end?

Compare and Contrast young Sam and old Sam:

Characterization of young Sam: He damaged the saw blades because he didn’t clean the logs first concluding that he is lazy; he cuts the boards unevenly concluding that he is careless; he refuses to sweep the shop concluding that he is again lazy and disrespectful toward his father; he is dishonest and arrogant as he “puts on airs” when he is in charge.

Characterization of old Sam: hardworking and kind

Internal consistency of young Sam’s character: What types of things would you see young Sam doing in the future?

Big Idea or Theme: Work hard and treat people well or trouble will find you.

What evidence supports the conclusion that young Sam learned a lesson?