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Lady Lollipop

Last updated Monday, August 28, 2006

Author: Dick King-Smith
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0763612693
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2006

Synopsis: From School Library Journal Spoiled Princess Penelope's parents give her the pig she demands as a present for her eighth birthday. And, luckily enough for the child and her royal but ineffective parents, the endearing animal is accompanied by young Johnny Skinner, an amiable pig-keeper determined to teach the family something about manners and good sense. King-Smith's abundant affection for pigs and sure hand with dialogue keep the story buoyant, and the happy ending is never in doubt. Lollipop adapts to palace life quite quickly, thanks to Johnny's good training, and she even has a flap in the palace door so that she can get out as necessity dictates. Barton's pencil illustrations are charming and recall Ernest H. Shepard's various royal personages in A. A. Milne's Now We Are Six. The king's befuddled face and Penelope's stormy looks are delightful. Lollipop is shown with a sweetly confident expression as she goes about her pig activities, including happily depositing a bit of fertilizer on the queen's roses. The cover is inviting, and the book is handsomely designed with an open and readable typeface. An appealing read-aloud for younger children and a satisfying chapter book for those a little older.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book, but the chapters are short and engaging. You should be able to read at least through chapter 6.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you know about pigs? What have you heard about pigs? What are some of the common views of pigs? [Try to get at some of the common misconceptions?that pigs are dirty or stupid?as opposed to actual facts about pigs?that they?re quite intelligent, for example.]
•  Have you ever seen a pig? What did it look like? How big was it?
•  Do you know any other stories about pigs? [Charlotte?s Web, Babe] What were the pigs in those stories like?
•  What does it mean when a child is spoiled? How does a spoiled child behave? What makes a child spoiled?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What kind of child is Princess Penelope? Why does she behave the way she does? Do you think you would like her? Why or why not?
•  How do Princess Penelope?s parents feel about her choice for a birthday present? How does Queen Ethelwynne feel about pigs?
•  How does Princess Penelope always get her way? Do you know any kids like her?
•  What kind of person is Johnny Skinner? What kind of pig is Lollipop?
•  Do you think Johnny Skinner will be able to train Princess Penelope? How do you think he?ll do it?
•  Is this story realistic or fantasy? What parts are realistic? What parts are fantasy? In what way is this story like a fairy tale?
•  Do you know someone who has changed, either for good or bad? What made them change?
•  How can friends make you change?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of Lollipop. Or draw several pictures of Lollipop doing some of her tricks.
•  Make a crown like Princess Penelope wears. Decorate one side of the crown for the spoiled Penelope and the other side for the good Penelope.
•  Princess Penelope wished for a pig for her eighth birthday. What kind of pet would you want if you could have any pet you wanted? Draw a picture of your ?dream pet.?

Special activities:
•  Role play: Have one child say something in a mean/spoiled way and have another say it in a polite way. Example: ?Give me that book now!? ?Would you please pass the book to me??

*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!