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The True Gift: A Christmas Story



Last updated Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrator: Brian Floca
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 141699081X
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2014

Synopsis: All year long Lily and Liam look forward to Christmas on their grandparents' farm. It's always the perfect trip -- walking to the lilac library, trimming the tree, giving gifts. But this year, thanks to a white cow alone in the meadow, things will be different. This Christmas, Lily and Liam will find out the meaning of a true gift.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover, who do you think gets a gift in the story?
•  Have you ever received something you consider a "true gift"?
•  What has been your favorite gift ever?

Vocabulary:
•  Fiercely
•  Terriers
•  Lured
•  Paddock
•  Cathedral
•  Heron
•  Red barberry
•  Hibernation

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where were Liam and his sister going?
•  Who is Liam worried about?
•  What does Liam want to buy for White Cow?
•  Why is Lily upset?
•  What does Liam do to find White Cow a friend?
•  What does Liam sell to raise money to buy Brown Cow?
•  How did White Cow react to Brown Cow?
•  What happens on Christmas Eve?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a notice to help find a friend for White Cow (Liam's samples are on pages 46-48).
•  Make a holiday card & gift tags. Cut shapes from card-stock or construction paper, then decorate shapes. Use hole puncher and place a string through shape to use as a gift tag on a gift for friend or family.
•  Popsicle stick ornaments: use glue and popsicle sticks to make shapes like a star, star of David, Christmas tree etc
•  For pictures, more craft ideas, and directions visit: http://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids99/december-2014-reading-clubs/.

*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!