Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Book Club - Bunnicula

Just in time for Halloween, on October 23rd, my 1st through 3rd grade book club read and discussed Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. This was a quite popular book and many children took home the next few in the series. This was also our first book club since the furlough closed the library on three months of Saturdays so I was thrilled to see that we hadn't lost any people numberwise. (We had some new kids, some kids didn't returned, but by the numbers it all evened out.) I've done this book club two years ago, in Kansas City. Here is a conglomeration of everything we did both years. Once again the questions are a mixture of things you would know if you read the book, and things anyone could answer.

Book: Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe

Introduce Yourself
Name, age, and do you have any pets?

Discussion Questions
  1. How did they choose names for Chester? (Chesterton the author) Bunnicula (Like Dracula, the movie at which he was found)
  2. Do you know how your parents chose your name? (If not, and most of my kids did know, then this is a good question to ask your parents.)
  3. Have you ever read to your pet like Toby reads to Harold?
  4. Did you think this book was scary? Why or why not?
    What is the scariest book you've read? Movie you've seen?
  5. What is Harold's favorite people food? (Cupcakes, chocolate cake)
    Does your pet have a favorite people food?
    Are all people foods safe for pets? Is chocolate safe for dogs? How can you know what is safe?
  6. What is Harold's bad behavior? (chewing shoes)
    Do your pets have any bad behavior?
  7. Garlic scares away vampires. What is your least favorite smell?
  8. List some weird things about Bunnicula and Chester in the book. We used a big sheet of paper to do this together.
  9. What is the weirdest thing your pet has ever done? Also on a big sheet of paper.
  10. Who in your life is most likely a vampire secretly?
  11. What about some other secret creature/mythical creature? (ie fairy, bigfoot...)
  12. If you were secretly a monster or mythical creature, what would you be?
  13. What would you do if you thought one of your pets was a vampire?

Activities
Fact or Fiction Game - Vote with your feet
We're in a room with large stairs (it's a theater, they're for sitting upon) and so we stand on the middle step and jump forward to the lower step for "real" and backward to the higher step for "not real". You can also do this by having kids start in the middle and run to one wall or the other. They love this game, and emphasize that this is just what you THINK not a right or wrong choice. So vote with your feet if you think these are real/not real:

  • UFOs
  • Aliens
  • Loch Ness Monster
  • Yeti - the abominable snowman
  • Mermaids
  • Vampires
  • Fairies
  • Unicorns
  • Phoenix

The Nose Knows
Harold is quite proud of his nose. I put a number of strong scented things in brown paper bags and then we guessed which was which. You could have students write them down, but for simplicity sake we all took a turn smelling and then guessed all together verbally. The objects I used included: coffee, orange, lemon, oregano, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, chocolate chip cookies, a wet wipe (for that nice disinfectant smell), and garlic.

Crafts
Pet Picture Frames
We used blank mats and ribbons, markers, and stamps to make frames for our pet photos.

Nightime scenes
Use black paper and light colored paints to make a nighttime scene from Bunnicula

Snacks
Obviously veggies. Just carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, and ranch dressing work great. Or you could give everyone a glass of veggie juice. (One child had hoped they would get chocolate cupcakes with creme in the middle like Harold likes, but no going.)

Readalikes
And book club is most a success if they leave inspired to read more books. I recommend:
Bailey School Kids series by Debbie Dadey (mythical creatures abound!)
Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson (a dog solves mysteries)
and of course the many other books featuring Bunnicula and his friends by Deborah and James Howe.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just volunteered to be my son's second grade book club leader & "Bunnicula" is the chosen book. Thanks for the great ideas! We will definitely be using a few.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for these! I'm doing a book club for 4th graders and the discussion questions are perfect. (I'm from Missouri and teach in Kansas so, hello from your old home!)

Ali