Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Club

It was book club day!

We read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.

I picked this one because it's a classic. I've loved Dahl since childhood and I figured this is one they probably hadn't read yet. Reactions were mixed. Some kids liked how weird it was. Some kids did NOT like how weird it was. I mean, really, a giant peach? Some got turned off by the poetry and some loved the silliness.

I've mentioned in earlier posts that my book clubbers have some reading comprehension issues. Last month, they didn't know didn't know to go back and look in the text if they didn't remember something. I was incredulous. I actually said "OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!! Why do you think I make sure everyone has a copy of the book before we start?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" So, reading comp hasn't magically improved BUT! Everyone was looking in the text and trying to find the answers. They couldn't always find relevant passages and would just read me random sentences BUT! They were trying. I consider that a major win.

We also had a long discussion about how snacks work at the library (someone picked up on the fact that the Rice Krispie treats were left over from candy sushi.)

Here were the book-specific questions:

1. Many of you mentioned that the book is "weird." Good weird, bad weird, or just weird weird. (All three options got votes.

2. When the book starts, James lives a nice life with his parents. Then what happens? (They were eaten by an angry rhino.) Ok, so then he goes to live with his aunts. Were they nice (NO!) Then what happened? Then what happened? Then what happened? We went through the entire plot this way (like I said, we're working on comprehension.)

As we went through the journey, we had a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong conversation about the fact that on page 106 the Grasshopper calls someone an "ass." And we talked about banned books. They asked me why I gave them a book to read that was BANNED and had a NAUGHTY WORD and I told them that it was because I thought they were mature enough to handle it. They were all very proud of themselves for being mature and where they had been snickering about it, they suddenly actually got very mature about it.

We also talked about the cloud-men and how weather was made, both in the book and in real life.

Sadly, we didn't get all the way to the end of the book, because Ladybug has a line in there about always being afraid of fire and her children being alone. I wanted to explain that one to them and talk about how horrible nursery rhymes are. And then I wanted to sing the Ladybug Picnic song.

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