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The Raft

Last updated Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Author: Jim Lamarche
Illustrator: Jim Lamarche
Date of Publication: 2002
ISBN: 0064438562
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2012

Synopsis: From Amazon.com
Nicky isn't one bit happy about spending the summer with his grandma in the Wisconsin woods, but then the raft appears and changes everything. As Nicky explores, the raft works a subtle magic, opening up the wonders all around him--the animals of the river and woods, his grandmother's humor and wisdom, and his own special talent as an artist.

Note to readers:
•  Check out "A Note from the Author" in the beginning of the book. Also, readers can bring in cave painting pictures for inspiration.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever gone swimming in a lake or river, and found a raft?
•  Do you ever leave in the summer and stay with family, like a grandmother?
•  Do any of you want to be an artist?
•  Do you ever draw your ideas on paper?
•  Has anyone ever gone fishing? Did you catch anything?

•  River rat
•  Snorkle
•  Carving
•  Hitchhikers
•  Complaint

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where did the raft come from?
•  Who do you think drew on the raft? Grandma? Nicky's Dad?
•  Do you think that when you draw something, you get to know it better?
•  Have you ever camped out or slept outside when it's hot in summer?

Craft ideas:
•  Make their own raft and decorate it. Can use popsicle sticks, if available, and glue together, then decorate.
•  Draw a picture of their favorite animal.
•  Make a picture what they would like to see if they were floating down the river, like what scenery and trees, what animals, etc.

*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!