Robert and the Happy Endings

Last updated Thursday, January 3, 2008

Author: Barbara Seuling
Illustrator: Paul Brewer
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 0812627482
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2008

Synopsis: From Robert navigates a series of disasters in his usual upbeat, if somewhat frazzled, style. First comes his new classmate, Taylor Jerome, who is hearing impaired. Why does her voice sound different when she speaks? Can he help her learn her lines for the class play? Meanwhile, Robert and best friend Paul go to the library to learn about pirates. When they finish, he discovers his bike has been stolen. Nothing keeps Robert down for long, and soon he's researching deafness on the Internet. True to the book’s title, one of his classmates finds his bike, and Taylor gets a hearing aid . . . but Robert's still not sure if the play will be a success. More complications arise when Robert is paired with bossy Susanne Lee for a science experiment, though he soon finds himself excited by her determination to win — an unlikely prospect when their experiment falls from the second floor window of the school!

Note to readers:
•  We suggest reading from either the beginning to page 82 or from page 82 to the end. All you need to know is Robert is the main character. His best friend is Paul. Susanne Lee is a girl in Robert's class with whom he doesn't get along. Taylor is the new girl who is also deaf.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you like riding bicycles?
•  Did you find it easy/ do you think it is easy to ride a bike?
•  What are these kids wearing on their heads?
•  Where do you think they are riding their bikes?
•  Have you ever been to a place like that?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If starting at the beginning:
•  Have you known someone who is deaf?
•  Is it easy being the new kid in a class? Why or why not?
•  How do you think you could help out someone who is new to your school?
•  Have you ever tried looking information up on the computer?
•  Have you ever used Google? What do you use it for?
•  Do you like watching plays? Have you ever performed in a play? Is it easy getting ready to be in a play?
•  What do you think of Lester repairing Robert's bike?
•  Have you ever lost something important to you?
•  What kinds of things can you do to make sure you don't lose things?
•  Do you have a pet? What kind? What games do you play with him/her?
•  How does your family celebrate special events?

If reading beginning at page 82:

•  Do you know what insulation means?
•  Do you ever use a dictionary? How does it help you?
•  Have you used a language dictionary? How is it different than a regular dictionary?
•  Do you think wrapping an egg in a sock will prevent it from breaking? How can you carry an egg without it breaking?
•  How do you think Robert is going to protect his egg?
•  Have you ever had to work with someone you didn't know or like?
•  Did you learn to like that person after the project?
•  Which of the different ideas did you like the best?
•  What is your favorite type of food? What is your favorite type of take-out food?

Craft ideas:
•  If you started at the beginning:
•  Make a boat that looks like a pirate ship. Color it and add a pirate flag, and an actual pirate on the boat.
•  Draw a missing Object/ missing pet sign to post (should have description of the object/pet and contact info; e.g. bicycle, blue with white stripes, etc.)
•  Make an ear trumpet/lout speaker -- roll the chart paper into a cone and stick the ends together. Cut off the tip of the cone. You can now put it to your mouth as a loudspeaker or place it against ear as an ear trumpet.

If you started at page 82:

•  Make stencils to trace patterns onto other pieces of paper. Draw patterns on one piece of paper and cut them out. Then use these patterns to draw shapes on a fresh piece of paper. You can also take your patterns home and use them to decorate a hard boiled egg (or other objects).
•  Draw an egg wrapped in noodles.

*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!