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The Five Chinese Brothers

Last updated Thursday, May 18, 2017

Author: Claire Huchet Bishop
Illustrator: Kurt Wiese
Date of Publication: 1938
ISBN: 0399233199
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2017

Synopsis: This is the classic picture book about five clever brothers, each with a different extraordinary ability, who use their special powers to rescue the First Brother from being unfairly put to death.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do the men on the cover look like brothers?
•  How many brothers or sisters do you have?
•  Would you like to have five brothers or sisters?


•  indefinitely - for an unlimited or unspecified period of time.
•  iron - a strong, hard magnetic silvery-gray metal, the chemical element of atomic number 26, much used as a material for construction and manufacturing, especially in the form of steel.
•  condemned - sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death.
•  execution - the carrying out of a sentence of death on a condemned person.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How were the five Chinese brothers alike? How were they different from one another?
•  Can you name a superhero or other character with magic/super powers?
•  If you could have a magic power, what would it be?
•  How do many "tales" begin? (Once upon a time...) How do they usually end? (and they all lived happily ever after...)
•  Did the brothers trick the judge? How?
•  Why was the brother sent to prison?

Craft ideas:
•  Make connected paper dolls - fold paper four times accordion-style, then cut out in the shape of people and decorate with colorful hats, outfits, etc.
•  Make a mother's day card.
•  Check our craft ideas for May on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Which brother had the best power in your opinion? Why? Act out some of the super powers.

*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!