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Winter of the Ice Wizard

Last updated Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0375827366
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2006

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Jack and Annie, joined by Teddy and Kathleen (from earlier books), travel in the Magic Tree House to a land of snow where the Ice Wizard has captured Morgan and Merlin. The four friends must find the Ice Wizard’s missing eye . . . or is it really his heart that is missing?

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book, but the chapters are short and engaging. Read as far as you can until 11:00.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a wizard? What are some different wizards you know about? What do wizards do?
•  Where do you think the Ice Wizard lives?
•  Does he look friendly or scary?
•  Is a Wizard all-powerful? (In this story, the Wizard trades his eye for all the wisdom in the world)
•  Do you know what the winter solstice is? How about the summer solstice?
•  Have you ever read a Magic Tree House book? What was it like? Have you ever seen a tree house or played in one?
•  The book mentions Camelot. Have you heard of this place before? Where? What is Camelot?
•  Do you have any magical places you go where you use your imagination?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Should Annie and Jack trust the Ice Wizard? Why or why not?
•  Think of something you want more than anything (i.e. an X-box). What do you treasure the most? (i.e. Mom/dad/brother/sister/friends/talents). Would you trade your mose valued treasure for the item you want?
•  Discuss the concept of the solstice. [It’s the shortest or longest day of the year (June or December), depending on the season and the hemisphere.]
•  What direction is the setting sun?
•  Have the kids try to guess some of the riddles or rhymes.
•  Stop to discuss words you encounter that the kids might not know.

Craft ideas:
•  Create puppets with popsicle sticks and construction paper. Draw and color a picture of Annie, Jack, Merlin/Morgan, a white wolf, you, your brother/sister/friend, etc. Cut around the figure (like a paper doll). Glue one figure (i.e. Annie) to one side of the popsicle stick. Glue another figure (i.e. Jack) to the other side of the stick. Repeat with two other figures and another popsicle stick. Create a puppet show with these four characters by turning the popsicle sticks around.
•  Write your own winter adventure story in a magical place. Who are the heroes? Who are the bad guys? How do you get there? How do you get out? Draw a picture to illustrate your story.
•  Draw a picture of your own winter villain.

*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!