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Roasted Peanuts

Last updated Thursday, November 2, 2006

Author: Tim Egan
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0618337180
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2006

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Jackson the cat and Sam the horse share a love of baseball, both watching and playing the game. Sam is a natural athlete, but Jackson is one of the slowest cats ever seen. Still, Sam encourages his buddy in his one skill throwing. When tryouts for the local team come around, Sam easily makes it, but Jackson doesn't. Perhaps even worse, the feline's self-pity threatens Sam's happiness, and his performance. In the end, Jackson finds a way to use his talent in the stadium, supports his pal, and becomes a legend in his own right. More than a tale about baseball, this story is about the nature of true friendship, and about the ability to be happy about someone else's accomplishments. Egan's typically droll animal characters express emotions well. However, the ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a static quality that doesn't convey the movement of the game. Still, the understated humor of the text lightens the message and makes the story more appealing as when the animal crowd yells at Sam, Go back to the farm! Baseball fanatics or not, most children will enjoy this charming tale.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to a baseball game? What is your favorite team?
•  Have a discussion about baseball, including what the different positions and equipment is, what the different rules are, and what skills might be helpful for playing baseball.
•  What kinds of things do they sell at baseball games?
•  Are there some things that you are better at than your friends? Are there some things that your friends are better at than you? Give examples

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How can you help your friend(s)? How can they help you?
•  How do you feel when your friend(s) are away? Is it sometimes hard to have fun without them?

Craft ideas:
•  Make peanut people out of stuffed brown lunch bags. Use brown construction paper accordion-folded for arms and legs. Decorate the faces with markers.
•  Make your own baseball card.
•  Draw yourself doing something you are good at.
•  Draw your favorite sport.

Special activities:
•  Come up with a team cheer/huddle.
•  Sing ?Take Me Out to the Ball Game.?
•  Do ?the wave.?

*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!