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The Granny-Man



Last updated Thursday, January 31, 2008

Author: Judy Schachner
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0525461221
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2008

Synopsis: From amazon.com: The Siamese cat Simon may be getting on in years ("With the exception of his nose, most of his parts had stopped working long ago"), but this beloved family pet is enjoying a comfortable retirement. He spends his days dreaming of his long and happy life ("full of mice, full of hisses, full of hugs, and full of kisses"), and his adoring family carts him around in a baby stroller and buys a bib to catch the toothless puss's dribbles. But the geriatric cat's sedate golden years dramatically transform when a kitten arrives. Simon's tender care of his perky charge earns him a new name: the Grannyman. Schachner's (I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie) affectionate prose inspires a series of softly shaded pastel portraits of the title character. With his lopsided ears, huge blue eyes and quizzical expression, the creaky Simon is a fetching fellow. The visual riffs on the text will strike a chord of recognition with cat lovers everywhere; for instance, a quartet of images exhibits Simon enjoying the "heat treatments" his family provides (basking under a lampshade and on a windowsill, sprawled on a radiator and a stovetop). This story of old age revered and rejuvenated is a pleasure from the ends of its whiskers to the tip of its tail.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have any pets?
•  Do you name them?
•  Do you know what "Granny" means?
•  Which one of the cats do you think is the "Grannyman"?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you do when you get a new pet?
•  Is your pet your friend?
•  What kinds of things do you do with your pet? With your friends?
•  Does Simon treat the kids as cats/pets or people?
•  Do you have older family members?
•  Are you friends with them and what kinds of things do you do together?
•  How do you help them?
•  Why couldn't Simon see the kitten on his stomach? (Because he's blind) Could Simon still help the kitten (Yes)

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of you and your pet or a pet you would like. Put the picture in a frame you make. Make the frame by cutting a square/rectangle or circle out of a prece of construction paper. Tape/glue the drawing inside the frame. ***Try making a heart shaped frame. Fold a piece of constriction paper in half. On the folded edge cut half a large heart. (When it opens it's a full heart.) Then cut a smaller heart shape from the large heart shape and you will have a heart which can be a Valentine's card.
•  Make a cat mask. Cut a large oval to be the face of the cat. Cut two triangles for the ears. Attach the ears to the oval. Draw the face and the whiskers. Cut out the eyes. Attach with string/yarn or to a popsicle stick.

*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!