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Lizard Music

Last updated Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Author: Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 1590173872
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2015

Synopsis: Things Victor loves: pizza with anchovies, grape soda, B movies aired at midnight, the evening news. And with his parents off at a resort and his older sister shirking her babysitting duties, Victor has plenty of time to indulge himself and to try a few things he’s been curious about.

Exploring the nearby city of Hogboro, he runs into a curious character known as the Chicken Man (a reference to his companion, an intelligent hen named Claudia who lives under his hat). The Chicken Man speaks brilliant nonsense, but he seems to be hip to the lizard musicians (real lizards, not men in lizard suits) who’ve begun appearing on Victor’s television after the broadcast of the late-late movie. Are the lizards from outer space? From “other space”? Together Victor and the Chicken Man, guided by the able Claudia, journey to the lizards’ floating island, a strange and fantastic place that operates with an inspired logic of its own.

Note to readers:
•  Suggested Reading: Chapters 1-4 (The mystery begins here!)
•  Please encourage students to check out the book from their school library if they'd like to read on.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What would you do if your parents left you home alone?
•  Do you ever watch the news? Why, or why not?
•  The book mentions the following musical instruments: the banjo, clarinet, and saxophone. Do you play any instruments? What instruments do you wish you could play?

•  hippie - a person who rejects established social customs (such as by dressing in an unusual way or living in a commune) and who opposes violence and war
•  banjo - a musical instrument that is like a small guitar, with a round body, a long neck, and four or five strings
•  icebox - refrigerator
•  quintet - a group of five musicians who perform together
•  coincidence - two things that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection
•  gangrene - the decay of flesh that occurs in a part of the body that no longer has blood flowing to it
•  forged - made or imitated (something, such as a document or signature) falsely in order to deceive someone

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What did Victor do so that his parents wouldn't worry about him while they were away?
•  Why did Victor decide to take a bus to the nearby city of Hogboro?
•  Why were the other bus riders so excited to see the Chicken Man?
•  Where did Victor see lizards? (On TV, playing music; on an album cover in a store window; in Chicken Man's hand; on a TV news anchor's shoulder; etc.)
•  How do you think Chicken Man knew about the lizards? Was it just a coincidence?
•  What do you think will happen next? Will Victor find out who Chicken Man really is? Will they find the lizards together?
•  What tunes do you think a lizard band would play?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw the lizard band.
•  Make frilled-neck cardboard lizards. For instructions, see http:///www.thecrafttrain.com/1/post/2015/01/cardboard-tube-frilled-neck-lizard.html.
•  Make beaded lizards! For instructions, see http:///craftandcreativity.com/blog/2012/08/22/beadedlizard/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beadedlizard. Note: We will not be providing the beads or string. You must supply your own if you'd like to make this craft.
•  Make a 3-D lizard out of construction paper. For instructions, see http://art-paper-scissors.blogspot.com/2011/02/slinky-lizard.html.
•  St. Patrick's Day crafts: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/49728/st-patricks-day-crafts-activities-add/.


*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!