Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Club - Franny K Stein

In my spate of catch-up posts about book club, I hop in my wayback machine to February of 2009. During that Valentine happy month, we read Attack of the Fifty Foot Cupid by Jim Benton, the second in the Franny K Stein series. Normally I try to feature the first book in a series in book club. However I had received a large number of free paperback copies of the second title in this series, so we went with the giant cupid. If you're not familiar with Franny K. Stein, she's a lot of fun as a beginning chapter book for guys or girls. She's a mad scientist (though not evil) kid who does wacky science things worthy of any film noir villain, but does so with humor and surprising humanity.

Book: Attack of the 50-ft Cupid by Jim Benton, part of the Franny K. Stein series.

Introduce Yourself
What is your name, age, and favorite subject in school?

Discussion Questions
  1. Is Franny a likeable character? Why or why not? (Make a pro/con list! I love lists!)
  2. Why do you think Igor the dog likes her?
  3. Does Franny get more or less likeable during the story?
  4. What do you think of Franny's valentine's generator?
  5. Did you make/give valentines this year?
  6. Is it better to valentines once a year or to show love all year long? (these last two questions break my own no yes/no question rules but they lead into the next few questions)
  7. How can you show love all year long? Does Fanny understand this? How so?
  8. Which is your favorite of Fanny's inventions?
  9. What would you invent if you could invent anything?
  10. What would you "biggerize"?
  11. What would you make manifest?
  12. Do you like science?
  13. Have you ever done a science experiment before? What was it like?

I've previously posted a Gross Science Program and any of those ideas would work. We made silly putty (erm I mean the non-trademarked pushy putty). Each kid got their own ziplock baggie full of fun. Pro tip: have hand wipes and clean ziplock bags available for transport home. Here's the recipe I used:

Pushy Putty/Flubber
Add 1/4 cup water to 1/4 cup Elmer's Glue
Squish together in ziplock bag with a few drops of food coloring (optional)

Make Borax Solution:
Take 2 tablespoons borax (found in the laundry aisle), add 1 cup water and stir

Add 1/4 cup of Borax solution to water and glue mixture.

Knead together. Let dry for a few minutes then store in an airtight container. It will be smooth and rubber like; it can bounce, pick up pictures from paper and more!

Science Experiment Take Two:
A great, fun, amazing, and simple science experiment demonstrates the law of gravity (that it works equally on all objects regardless of weight). Drop a ping pong ball and a golf ball from the same height at the same time. Guess which one will hit the ground first. (Hint, they'll hit at the same time.)

Obviously you'll be serving valentine candy you quite wisely bought on the 15th for a deep discount.

You can read the rest of the Franny K. Stein series by Jim Benton for a good start. Also fun is: Andrew Lost (series) by J. C. Greenburg, The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, and The Zack Files (series) by Dan Greenburg.

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