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Chester's Way

Last updated Friday, April 1, 2011

Author: Kevin Henkes
Date of Publication: 1988
ISBN: 0688076076
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2011

Synopsis: From Publishers Weekly Chester's ways are fairly circumscribed: this young mouse has definite likes and dislikes, and there is no changing his mind. His friend Wilson is just like him; they're quite a pair. Then Lilly moves into the neighborhood. She speaks backwards ("YLLIL MA I"), travels only in disguise and carries a water pistol wherever she goes, "just in case." She intimidates Chester and Wilson, until she terrorizes some bullies who are picking on the two friends. Suddenly, Lilly's ways don't look so bad, and the threesome becomes just as like-minded and inseparable as Chester and Wilson's former twosome. Henkes's vision of friendship captures the essence of the childlike; his mice live in a sunny, imaginative world mixed with secure routines and the safety of known factors. The story unwinds at a deliberate pace; every sentence is either downright funny or dense with playful, deadpan humor. The artist/author, as always, gently grants room for differences between people (the turnaround in A Weekend with Wendell , for example, and the reconciliation between Wedge and his stepfather in Two Under Par ). Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's booksand especially this oneof special value to children. Ages 4-up. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is the person on the cover?
•  Is there anything you like to do the same way every day, or do you like things different each day?

Vocabulary Selection:
•  MINATURE -- a model, copy, or similar representation on a very small scale Anything that is very small of its kind. A very small painting, esp a portrait, showing fine detail on ivory or vellum
•  DIAGONALLY -- connecting any two vertices that in a polygon are not adjacent and in a polyhedron are not in the same face. Slanting; oblique. Marked with slanting lines or patterns.
•  DUPLICATED -- a copy exactly like an original. Anything corresponding in all respects to something else. To make an exact copy of. To do or perform again; repeat. To double; make twofold.
•  DISGUISED -- to change the appearance or guise of so as to conceal identity or mislead, as by means of deceptive garb. To conceal or cover up the truth or actual character of by a counterfeit form or appearance; misrepresent: to disguise one's intentions.
•  CROQUET -- a game played by knocking wooden balls through metal wickets with mallets. The act of driving away an opponent's ball by striking one's own when the two are in contact.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have the kids fill in the blanks of each of the following sentences:
•  Chester always cut his sandwiches in half _________________. Lilly was __________________ as a cat.
•  Each Christmas, Chester _________________ his list of presents and gave it to Wilson.
•  Chester liked to carry a _______________ first-aid kit.
•  Can you name any other pairs of things?

Craft ideas:
•  Chester and Wilson are careful always to use hand signals when they ride their bikes. Have the kids draw hand signals they would use when they ride bikes.

*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!