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Barn Dance!

Last updated Thursday, May 6, 2010

Author: Bill Martin and John Archambault
Illustrator: Ted Rand
Date of Publication: 1986
ISBN: 0805000895
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2010

Synopsis: Kindergarten-Grade 3 With a rhythmic cadence Martin and Archambault build their story from a quiet moonlit night when ``there's magic in the air'' to a very special foot stompin' party and back again. On this eerie night everyone is asleep except for the ``skinny kid with questions in his head.'' With him readers sneak out to the barn and hide just in time to see all the farm animals kick up their heels to the scarecrow's fiddle music. While the words are a delight to hear (albeit it's a bit hard to get the tongue around on some lines), Rand's pictures make the story come alive. The two-page spreads range from the barn standing ghost-like in the full moonlight to the colorful interior of the barn, where the figures seem to be in perpetual motion. An engaging blend of words and pictures to set both the mind and eye dancing. Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Vocabulary
•  hoedown
•  critters
•  oozle
•  wonderment
•  What is going on in this picture?
•  What kinds of animals live in a barn? On a farm?
•  Have you ever been in a barn?
•  Have you ever been to a barn dance?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Discussion During the Reading
•  Do you think the dog is dreaming?
•  What do you do when you can’t sleep?
•  Who is playing the fiddle?
•  What is going on in the barn?
•  What animals do you see going into the barn?
•  Where is the boy hiding?
•  DO you ever spin and get dizzy?
•  Have you ever stayed up all night?
•  Have you ever square danced?
•  Would you like to go to a barn dance?
•  Why did they have the dance at night?
•  Does the farmer know?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a scarecrow with colorful clothes. (Volunteers cut strips of yellow paper & curl for straw hair.)
•  Make farm animal masks.

Special activities:
•  Have kids dance as a break in the middle of the story.

*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!