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Listen Up: B for (Battle of the Books)

Hiya friends,

Today's book comes from Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate:


So let's discuss:

  1. Right from the start, the author sets the tone for us (the reader). Tone is the attitude, the way the author uses words to help us understand how to feel about a character, place or event. The tone also helps give a sense of the general environment or atmosphere of the story. How might you describe the tone? Does it seem like a happy story? Does it seem like we will read about a world that is really realistic? Kinda-sorta, right? We know surfing and cats and beaches are realistic, but surfing cats, not so much. From this first chapter, we only meet two characters, and one of them we don't even know what kind of creature it could be. The narrator could be another cat or a fish or a human...So yah, the words chosen by the author slowly unfold as we read to build the story, letting us understand little by little who, what, where, when, how & why. The tone gives us a sense that the story is going to be a bit fantasitc, magical, maybe even dream-like.

  2. What can we figure out about the narrator from this first chapter? The author uses the word "I," so we know the story is told through the eyes of the narrator & we get to see things through their perspective. The thing that I find really interesting is that although the narrator seems rather baffled & surprised to see the surfing cat, the umbrella falling from the sky, they also seem to know the cat's name. "Crenshaw, I whispered." It leaves us wondering how they know. So is this narrator reliable? Should we trust what the narrator is telling us? No one else seems to see the cat, so we are left wondering if the narrator is imagining, or is something magical about to begin. Looking at the first sentence of chapter two however grounds us a bit more. "I"m not an imaginary friend kind of guy." Hmm...

  3. Our brains are really amazing. We can take a bunch of words the author writes & almost instantly have images pop up inside our head---we are our own illustrators! Use your imagination, then. We are told that Crenshaw is a black & white cat like a "penguin." He's got a cheeky shirt on that states Cats rule & dogs drool. (For all the dog people out there, we can debate that later.) He surfs. He carries a smiling-mouse printed umbrella. Can you sketch out what you imagine Crenshaw looks like? Crenshaw does appear on the illustrated book jacket. If you were the author, how would you want the illustrator to depict Crenshaw? Maybe you could draw what you imagined. Or try one of these two fun exteeeennnnnsssiiion activities:

Hope you enjoyed our time together today. Now, take off your headphones & go outside. Lay in the grass or climb a tree...use your senses to just observe...who knows what you might notice...

Toodleloo, Kangaroos

Today's book:

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

For more information about Katherine Applegate, watch this interview or check out her website.

Thanks to Pexels contributers for providing awesome video clips.

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