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Clay Boy

Last updated Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Author: Mira Ginsburg
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0688144098
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2009

Synopsis: Run, run, as fast as you can here comes the Gingerbread Man on steroids! Ginsburg's rambunctious adaptation of a Russian folktale introduces a little clay fellow who is fashioned by a lonely elderly couple, comes to life and starts wreaking havoc. "I am here! I am hungry!" the clay boy announces, and begins to devour everything in sight, including Grandma and Grandpa and their livestock. "More! I want more!" he cries, growing (as graduated type sizes demonstrate) "bigger, and bigger, and bigger," until he's a giant, gulping down everything and everyone he meets. Finally, he's routed by a clever goat, who shatters the clay boy, releasing unharmed all those he's swallowed. It's an exuberant, larger-than-life tale, and Ginsburg (The King Who Tried to Fry an Egg on His Head) tells it with gusto, energizing her assured prose with the well-placed repetition ("thump, thump, thump" go the big clay feet) that makes for a prime read-aloud. Smith's (Runnery Granary) paintings play up the story's ethnic roots with tidy, thatched-roof cottages and cheerful peasants, the women in babushkas, the men in flowing beards and Cossack shirts. His vision of the clay boy is deliciously creepy, toothe amorphous, omnivorous figure looks not unlike a plumped-up Boo Radleyand will no doubt deliver a mild dose of the shivers to delighted young audiences. From Barnes and Noble

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever played with clay?
•  How big is this boy?
•  Why do you think he gets so big?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Are you hungry when you wake up?
•  Have you ever had too much to eat?
•  Why did Grandpa make a clay boy?
•  If you had a big clay boy, what would you feed him?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a big clay boy. Draw all you think he would eat in his stomach.

Special activities:
•  Stomp around the room like big clay giants.

*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!