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The Broken Ornament

Last updated Monday, January 25, 2021

Author: Tony DiTerlizzi
Date of Publication: 2018
ISBN: 1416939768
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2020

Synopsis: Jack wants this to be the best Christmas ever, and he knows just how to make it happen… More! More lights, more presents, more cookies, more treats. More. More. More! So, when Jack breaks a dusty old ornament, he's not sure why his mom is so upset. They can always get more ornaments, so what's the big deal? Turns out the ornament was an heirloom, precious for more reasons than one. And Jack has a lot to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. A fairy emerges from the shattered ornament. She has the power to make the most magical Christmasy things happen. Suddenly trees are sprouting, reindeer are flying, and snowmen are snowball fighting. All of it is so perfect, or it would be if she could fix Mom's ornament. But she can't. So it's up to Jack to make some Christmas magic of his own.

Note to readers:
•  This is a short book, especially for third graders. You might have time to go back over the illustrations a second time. Or you can spend some time on craft or activity (see below).

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think happened to the ornament?
•  How did the ornament get broken?


•  nestled - to be settled, sheltered, or housed in or as if in a nest.
•  shards - pieces of broken glass, typically having sharp edges.
•  tinsel - showy or superficial attractiveness or glamour.
•  deck the halls - decorate for Christmas, especially if one will be entertaining guests.
•  sprig of mistletoe - a small stem of leaves or berries; a leathery-leaved parasitic plant which grows on apple, oak, and other broadleaf trees and bears white glutinous berries in winter.
•  fragment - a small part broken off something.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why was Jack's mother upset about the ornament breaking?
•  What did Tinsel do that made Jack's house magical and merry?
•  What do you think Jack's mother thought about the ornament he made for her?
•  How was this Christmas "magical" for Jack? For his parents?
•  What is something you can do to make the holidays special this year? (decorating the house or your room, cooking dinner or treats, making cards or calling family and friends)

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own ornament or card to give to someone. Cut out an oval or circle, draw and color a picture on it, then decorate with ribbon or yarn. If you make an ornament, add a bow on top with a big loop to hang on tree or in a window.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Show and tell - find something in the room that's red, white, or green.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!