Friday, March 05, 2010

Book Club - Horrible Harry

For our November Book Club we read from that classic beginning chapter book series, Horrible Harry by Suzy Kline. I chose thus particular volume of the series because I had a lot of copies of it. This is not a series that needs to be read in order.

Book Horrible Harry's Secret by Suzy Kline

Introduce Yourself
What is your name, age, and who is your best friend?

Discussion Questions
  1. Who is the narrator of this story? (Hint: It's not Harry; it's Doug, Harry's best friend.)
  2. Why do you think the author calls this book (and all the series) Horrible Harry, but Doug actually narrates them all? (For us this lead into a whole discussion on types of narrators such as first person, third person limited, third person omniscent, and why an author would choose one over the other. Not bad for first and second graders!)
  3. Is Harry really horrible? Why or why not?
  4. Why were Doug and Harry fighting in the book?
  5. Have you ever gotten in a fight with a friend? Why? What were you fighting about?
  6. How can you resolve fights the best?
  7. What are your favorite snow activities?
  8. Why won't Horrible Harry smile at the end? (lost his teeth)
  9. Have you lost any teeth?
  10. What does Doug call it when Horrible Harry smiles? (Showing his pearly whites)
  11. That is almost an idiom, what other funny expressions and/or idioms do we use? (hungry as a horse)

Craft Activities
Make a winter mural as they do in the book with large pieces of white paper and blue paint. Alternative to paint: blue chalk, white chalk on dark paper, blue markers, blue crayons, all blue things. We used white butcher paper and mixed medium blues (chalk, markers, colored pencils, and crayons). Hung it up in the library and it looked great.

Pair the kids up and have them draw pictures of other children. (Again as it is done in the book.) Alternative: have them draw a picture of a family member or friend rather than a fellow book club-ite.

Illustrating Idioms
Harry and Sidney "bury the hatchet" by drawing a graveyard with an axe buried in it. What other idioms can you illustrate? I had some pre-printed on half sheets of paper ready to be illustrated. There are several books that are great examples of this such as Raining Cats and Dogs by Will Moses (which I showed to all the kids) and Punching the Clock by Marvin Terban.

Other Activities
Snow Ball Fight!
By far the most popular thing we did. Crumple up paper from the recycle bin to be snowballs in a pretend fight. (Yes we did this in November in Alaska when we had plenty of real snow on the ground outside, but no one had wet socks at the end of the time.

Feed the liver to the frog
Tape a piece of paper that is an "aquarium" with a frog drawn in the middle. (I can't draw and taped a die-cut of a frog up there.) Blindfold the kids with small pieces of "liver" (scrap construction paper with tape on one side) and let them feed the frog. Whoever gets the closest wins. (Basically this is glorified pin the tail on the donkey, but it's always fun.)

If they like Horrible Harry's Secret by Suzy Kline, they should also read:
  • The rest of the Horrible Harry series by Suzy Kline
  • Marvin Redpost (series) by Louis Sachar
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements (or any of his school stories)
  • The Boys Start the War by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (first in a series for slightly older readers)