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Blizzard of the Blue Moon (Magic Tree House #36)



Last updated Monday, December 6, 2010

Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0375830375
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2010

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Jack and Annie are off on another Merlin Mission. This time, Merlin has sent them to rescue a beautiful magical creature—the unicorn. But when they land in New York City during the Depression of the 1930s, Jack and Annie are confused. Where will they find a unicorn in a big city?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  (Note: Read the prologue for background on the book/series or summarize it for the kids if they are not familiar with the Magic Tree House series. Also, there are facts about New York City in the back, page 106)
•  BEFORE Qs:
•  Have you read a Merlin Book before? Which was your favorite?
•  Do you know what a blizzard is? Have you ever been in one? (A blizzard is a cold, strong snow storm where visibility is bad.)
•  What kind of animal is on the front corner? (Unicorn)
•  Are unicorns real animals or make believe?
•  What animals do unicorns resemble? (horse, rhinoceros, antelope)
•  Where do you think this story takes place? (New York City—see the Empire State Building in the background)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  DURING/AFTER Q’s:
•  (Note: Write the 3 magic spells Annie and Jack must use on the board before you start reading. Cross each of the spells off when they are used. The second spell given is used in Chapter 3.)
•  (Note: on page 26, Annie is lost. Before you read further, have the kids look at the board of spells and figure out which spell Jack can use.)
•  1) Have you ever visited New York City? What do you think it looks like?
•  2) What does it mean to look for a "needle in a haystack”? (it means something is difficult to find)
•  3) What does “once in a blue moon mean? (means something that doesn’t happen very often. Specifically, it is the occasion when two full moons occur in the same month. This event only happens every 2 and a half years. The last one occurred on November 21, 2010 and the next one will be in August 2012)
•  4) Where would you look for a unicorn in the city? (the zoo, a park, museum)
•  VOCAB:
•  enchanters

Craft ideas:
•  1) Make New York City and unicorn ornaments. - Draw pictures of buildings and things unique to New York or unicorns. Decorate both sides of the paper and cut the items out. Attach ornament hooks.
•  2) Make a snowglobe with a paper cup and plastic wrap. Draw and color a scene on a separate paper the size of the bottom of the paper cup. You may also draw a scene to cover the sides of the cup. Place cut up small pieces of paper in the cup—try using left over holes from hole punch. Cover the top of the paper cup with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Shake and look inside.

*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!