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Regarding the Trees : A Splintered Saga Rooted in Secrets

Last updated Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Author: Kate Klise
Illustrator: M. Sarah Klise
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0152051635
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2006

Synopsis: While the principal is simply looking for someone to trim some trees at Geyser Creek Middle School, a misunderstanding and clever rhetorical spin-offs take readers on a winding journey that includes every leafy pun imaginable. Add an Italian chef and a marriage proposal, and you have a one-of-a-kind plot waiting for that unique reader willing to take the time to unravel this clever book. Each page is painstakingly laid out in scrapbook form as the story unfolds with letters, newspaper columns, even packing envelopes. (from School Library Journal)

Note to readers:
•  This is not a traditional narrative. Read the excerpt on the front flap to the students first to give them a general plot summary. Read to around page 24 or as lon as interest holds.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you written a letter to anyone? When and why would you write someone a letter?
•  What are the different meanings of the word ?proposal?? Explain the difference between a wedding ?proposal? and a ?proposal? for a project.
•  Why are trees so important to the environment?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is a pun? Find puns in the story, especially in characters' names.
•  Make sure the students know who the characters are in the story: Goldie Fisch, Florence Waters, Chef Angelo, Principal Walter Russ, and the sixth grade students.
•  After each letter ask students who is writing to whom and why.
•  There are also newsletters in the book. Ask students to summarize the articles after you read them.
•  For the Italian words, have students practice the pronunciation of each word. Ask them if they know the same words in Spanish or another language and have them share.
•  How many ways are trees involved in the story?

Craft ideas:
•  Have students make their own page with words in English and Spanish.
•  What kinds of food would you like to have in your school cafeteria? Design and illustrate a menu.
•  On page 22, there is an example of a family tree (genealogy). Have students draw a tree and put their family on it.

*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!