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Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea: A Fairly Fabricated Story of a Pair of Pants

Last updated Friday, May 11, 2012

Author: Tony Johnston
Illustrator: Stacy Innerst
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 0152061452
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2012

Synopsis: Wild West chaos and creative problem solving are the force behind a well-loved American institution.

What’s a California miner to do when gold dust sifts right out of his holey pockets? With such a raggedy wardrobe, he may as well be mining in the vanilla (that is, his birthday suit)! Good thing Levi Strauss is out West, ready with his needle and a head full of bright ideas. With some quick thinking, quicker stitching, and handy arithmetic, Levi keeps all the gold rushers clothed—and becomes a modern American hero. A Wild West tall tale, Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea celebrates creativity, innovation, and the ubiquitous item that fills the closets of grateful jeans wearers worldwide.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are Levis?

•  Disintegrated: rot away
•  Flimsy: not strong
•  Rills: small openings in dirt
•  Rivulets: little stream
•  Types of fabric: Corduroy, burlap, tweed, wool, serge, velvet, worsted
•  Indestructible: can't be broken
•  Dexterous: works well with their hands
•  Sluiced: create a waterway
•  Passel: large amount
•  Awkward: uncomfortable
•  Tinker: person who works with metal kitchen tools
•  Predicament: difficult situation
•  Gazing: to look at
•  Slick: smooth
•  Intent: purpose
•  Nimble: fast and light movements
•  Pondering: thinking hard

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where does Levi get his ideas?

Craft ideas:
•  Prospector Paper Doll: Have the kids draw Levi Strauss or another prospector and then design clothes for him. Don't forget the blue jeans!

*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!