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Last updated Friday, September 28, 2012

Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0618755020
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2012

Synopsis: For his birthday, Calvin’s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesn’t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead. The boys return home greatly impressed by the magician’s performance. When Calvin’s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. It’s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of anything. So Calvin and Rodney include her—by making her the first subject for their own hypnotizing machine. Much to the boys’ surprise, the machine works. But unfortunately they cannot undo what they have done. Trudy is stuck in her trance, convinced she is a dog—panting, drooling, and barking at squirrels. The only problem is, Calvin can’t remember Lomax’s magic word—Probuditi!—so Trudy won’t snap out of it! The boys are worried and decide to take Trudy to the one man they know can solve their problem—but will Lomax help them? Mama is on her way home . . . Who will have the last laugh?

Note to readers:
•  There is no color in this book, so think of ways to get students to visualize colors in the book
•  Author also wrote Jumanji and Polar Express (books and movies)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is the woman on the cover doing?
•  What does “Probuditi” mean?
•  Have you ever seen a magician?

•  Hypnotist – a person who hypnotizes you
•  Experiment – to try or test something in order to make a new discovery
•  Contraption – a strange or unnecessary device
•  Slurping – to eat or drink something with a loud sucking noise
•  Matinee – a dramatic performance or a movie, presented in the daytime
•  Bolted – a door that is secured or locked

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you ever get to take special trips for your birthday?
•  Do you like to play pranks or tricks on people? Is this nice?
•  Have you ever seen someone who was hypnotized? How do you think hypnotized people act?
•  Was Trudy really hypnotized?
•  What’s your favorite food to have on your birthday? Why did Calvin only get pb&j for his birthday?
•  Who would you hypnotize if you could?
•  Why did Trudy pretend to be hypnotized?
•  Did Trudy like being left behind?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a hypnotist wheel with a circle (use round paper plate), alternating colors of construction paper, and a paper arrow attached with a brad.
•  Make a poster advertising Lomax the Hypnotist
•  Make a comic strip of people being hypnotized

Special activities:
•  Act out the activities of people in the book who were hypnotized
•  Do the Chicken dance/ imitation

*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!