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The Island of Dr. Libris

Last updated Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Author: Chris Grabenstein
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 0385388446
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2016

Synopsis: What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life! But that’s impossible . . . isn’t it?

Note to readers:
•  Before you begin reading, inform the kids Billy, the narrator, is part of a secret experiment by Dr. Libris.
•  Vocabulary: breakneck--dangerously fast; scraggly--a ragged, thin or untidy person or animal; eaves--the part of the roof that overhangs the walls of a building; dissertation--a long essay on a particular subject needed to get an advanced degree (PHd); scaled--to climb up

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think "Libris" means? (it is Latin for book)
•  If this is the island of Dr. "Book", what do you think will be on the island?
•  What are your favorite books to read on vacation or during the summer?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think there are security cameras on and in the cabin? Why would you need them for a cabin on an island?
•  What would you do if you did not have a tv, video game or phone to entertain yourself?
•  How many books can you read this summer? How many more books can you read if you don't watch tv or play video games this summer?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of the place, real or imaginary, where you would like to spend the summer. (Disneyland, Outer space, Hawaii, A Pirate Ship, A Castle, New York)
•  Draw a picture of the book/stories coming alive on the island.
•  Make a List with pictures of the books you would like to come alive. (Harry Potter, The Magic Tree, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan)

Special activities:
•  Make the book come alive for the kids by reading a passage of the book and then having them describe to you what it looks like in their head/imagination/mind--how are the characters dressed, what do the bullies look like (big, small, thin, brown hair?), what do the bicycles look like, the dolly, even the tree (tall or short and bushy--big branches or large leaves, fruit or flowers....)
•  Check out our July craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/july-2016/

*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!