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Guji Guji

Last updated Friday, June 29, 2007

Author: Chih-Yuan Chen
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 1929132670
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: One day, an extra-large egg rolls right into Mother Duck's nest. She is busy reading and doesn't notice the new addition, but this lucky event will change her life. Her hatchlings include a yellow duckling; one with blue spots; another with brown stripes; and a rather unusual, crocodile-shaped youngster, named after his first words. Guji Guji grows bigger and stronger than his siblings (and more crocodilelike), but Mother loves all her offspring the same. When three duck-hungry crocodiles make fun of Guji Guji's ways and try to tempt him into betraying his family, he is put to the test. This beautifully written story has much to say about appreciating families and differences, and it will resonate with children long after the final page is turned. Chen's unique illustrations are compelling, down to the beautiful silhouette endpapers. The rich blues and earth tones and dramatic page layouts create moving scenes, but the quirky details and characters' expressions are hilarious. This charming spin on the ugly duckling theme is a must-have for any collection.–

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think Guji Guji is? Have you ever seen an animal like Guji Guji?
•  Do you think Guji Guji is friends with the ducks that are carrying him?
•  What do you think the story is going to be about?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is different about the egg?
•  Have you ever seen a family of ducks? Do all the babies look the same? Do you look exactly like your brothers and sisters?
•  How is Guji Guji different than his brothers and sisters? How is he the same?
•  How are you different from your brothers and sisters? How are you the same?
•  Guji Guji’s mom reads to him and his brothers and sisters. Do your parents read to you? What are your favorite stories?
•  Have you ever seen a crocodile before? Does Guji Guji look like a crocodile?
•  How is Guji Guji’s nose different than the other crocodiles? Why is he different?
•  Do you think that the crocodiles’ plan to eat the ducks is a good one? What do you think Guji Guji is going to do? What would you do if you were Guji Guji?
•  How did Guji Guji save his family?
•  How did Guji Guji trick the crocodiles? What happened?
•  Do you think Guji Guji is a hero?
•  Do you think Guji Guji is more like a duck or more like a crocodile? Why?
•  What other animals did you see in the book?
•  What makes a "family?" Is it who you look like? Live with? Act like? Love?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Guji Guji puppet. Bring ahead option: brown paper bags.
•  Make a monster mobile. Bring ahead option: stickers, foam shapes, googly eyes. Draw crocoduck body parts onto construction paper and cut them out. Add decorative details using colored pens, paint, and stickers. To connect the body parts, make a hole at the top and bottom of each one and tie them together with string or thread.
•  Make a crocodile or duck (or crocoduck) paper plate. Bring ahead option: paper plates.
•  Make a plate playmate. Bring ahead option: flexible dinner-sized paper plate, bathroom tissue tube. Fold a flexible paper plate in hald and then open it. The bottom of the plate will be your puppet's outer section. Decorate the outside. Color the front area of the plate the way you want the inside of the puppet's mouth to look. Make the eyes using the toilet paper roles, by tracing around the bottom twice. Add a tab to each of the circles you drew and cut them out. Decorate them. Cover the cardboard tube with construction paper and cut it in half. Glue the two tubes side-by-side to the top outside half of the plate (puppet's eye sockets). Glue the tabs of the eyes you made to the inside of the tubes. When dry, add features (teeth, tongue, eye lashes, etc). Cut a 3" by 1" strip of paper, form it into a loop, and tape it securely to the outside of the bottom half of the plate. Be sure your thumb can fit into the look. Slip your thumb into the paper look and your index and middle fingers into the back of the eyes.
•  Make a duck family.
•  Make a pond with ducks and crocodiles. Bring ahead option: paper plate. Color the inside of a paper plate blue to look like water in a pond. Color a section brown around the blue to look like a sandy bank. Color the outer edge green to look like grass. Add gray rocks. Cut out ducks from construction paper, leaving a rectangular tab at the bottom. Cut a slit in the plate at each place where you want to put an animal or object. Plan carefully or cut your slits after you make the objects. Insert the tabs into the slits you made in the plate. Turn the plate over, fold the tabs, and glue or tape them into the bottom. Add scenerey (bushes, trees, etc).

*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!