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Miracles on Maple Hill

Last updated Monday, November 21, 2005

Author: Virginia Sorenson
Illustrator: Joe and Beth Krush
Date of Publication: 1956
ISBN: 0152047190
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2005

Synopsis: Marly's father came back from the war a different man. Something inside him seems as cold and dead as the winter world outside. But when the family moves to Grandma's old house on Maple Hill, miracles begin to happen. The sap in the trees begins to rise, the leaves begin to turn, and Marly's father starts to bloom again, like the world around them.

Note to readers:
•  ** This is a chapter book and you will not be able to read through it. Read the summary on the flap of the book and then turn to Chapter 10. If you have time, you can start reading from the beginning or continue onto Chapter 11.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Discuss the setting of the story.
•  What war is the United States now? Do you know anyone who is fighting in the war?
•  Do you have siblings? What is your relationship like with him/her?
•  Discuss how maple syrup is made.
•  Discuss the concept of change. What makes someone change? What are some examples of people changing either from your own experience or from stories?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you seen leaves turning color in the fall?
•  What would it be like to go to school in a one-room schoolhouse? Would you like it or not?
•  Have you ever seen mushroom growing on the ground? Did you know some mushrooms were poisonous?
•  Why did Joe disappear? What was he doing and why?
•  What conflicting emotions does Marly feel towards her brother?

Craft ideas:
•  Read page 168 about the school window. Make your own window by drawing a frame and divide it into four panes. In each pane, draw a different season of the year.
•  Read top of page 167. Make four postcards for each season, pretending you were in Maple Hill and write about what you did there in each season.

*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!