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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Last updated Sunday, February 26, 2012

Author: William Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Date of Publication: 1970
ISBN: 1416902066
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2011

Synopsis: One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his own donkey self makes a story that is beautifully tender and perfectly joyful.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Does anyone have a hobby? Like collecting things?
•  What is a wish?
•  Has anyone ever made a wish that came true?

•  Extraordinary-beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established. exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable.
•  Gratified-to give pleasure to (a person or persons) by satisfying desires or humoring inclinations or feelings. to satisfy; indulge; humor, as one's desires or appetites.
•  Inquiring-seeking facts, information, or knowledge; curious; probing; inquisitive in seeking facts. scrutinizing; questioning.
•  Perplexing-to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally; to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
•  Aimlessly-without aim, purpose.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you found a magic pebble, what would you wish for?
•  Can you think of a better wish that Sylvester could make to escape from the lion?
•  How do you think Sylvester felt when he realized that he was stuck as a rock?
•  Do you think Sylvester and his parents will ever use the magic pebble again? If so, what do you think they would wish for?
•  What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Craft ideas:
•  Design your magic pebble... What powers would your pebble have?
•  Draw a picture of your adventures getting your magic pebbles.

Special activities:
•  Have the kids play Pin The Tail On The Donkey.

*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!