Site Areas: 
Printer-friendly version   

A Cloak for the Dreamer

Last updated Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Author: Aileen Friedman
Illustrator: Kim Howard
Date of Publication: 1995
ISBN: 0590489879
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2005

Synopsis: Ivan and Alex want to be tailors like their father, but youngest brother Misha dreams of travel. When each son must fashion a cloak for the archduke, Ivan sews one using rectangles of fabric. Alex makes a cloak of squares and an extra cloak of triangles. But Misha's disastrous cloak of circles demonstrates the geometrical concept that shapes must have angles to fit together. Seeing that Misha's heart lies elsewhere, the tailor frees his son to travel the world. As a farewell gift, the tailor presents Misha with the fateful cloak, whose circles he has snipped into snug-fitting hexagons and then restitched.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What would you like to do when you grow up?
•  What is a dreamer? What is a cloak?
•  What are the kinds of things that you dream about?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Which sons wanted to be like their father? Which one was different?
•  Why would the cloak made of circle not be suitable for the Archduke to wear?
•  Based on what the father did when Misha showed him his cloak, how would you describe his father?
•  Do you want to travel the world someday? Where would you like to visit?
•  Does your mom or dad have a job that you want to do when you get older? What would you want to do?
•  What is a hexagon? Why did they fit together better than the circles?

Craft ideas:
•  Have students design their own cloak, drawing, cutting out shapes, or making table rubbings (put shapes under paper and use the side of a crayon to rub over it). Bring ahead option: cut out shapes.
•  Using one side of an unlined index card, pretend that you are writing to a friend from another part of the world. On the other side, decorate it as if it is from the other part of the world. (Bring ahead option: old postcards)

*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!