Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Steal A Dog- Meeting #12

Our sixth meeting of the 2014-15 school year was on How To Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.  This book was the most controversial choice we've had so far and I was a little nervous how it would be received by the girls.  Heavy topics such as homelessness, stealing a dog, and also the grief of the owner of the missing dog brings a lot of emotion to this book.  The girls really seemed to love this book however, and it was a good choice.  As the girls get older, the books inevitably get more emotional and deal with some heavy topics.  The Mamas with Opinions are all in agreement that the girls are under no pressure to continue reading a book if they find it disturbing and the mamas show trust in me when I choose the books.  Spring semester of 3rd grade seemed an appropriate time to try this book.

The host mama had an adorable dog themed spread with corndogs, snacks, and cute doggie statues to make the table festive.

Our book club meets the second Tuesday of every month, and it happened to fall on the birthday of one of the Girls With Opinions.  She wanted to come to book club anyhow because WE LOVE BOOK CLUB!  :)  We were happy she wanted to spend her real actual birthday with book club :)  So of course, we had some special stuff to celebrate.

Birthday girl

We used our general discussion questions to help guide the discussion. No thumbs down on this book, but a few to the side.

 The girls love any book about dogs so their favorite character was unanimously Willie the dog.  In the story, Georgina is dealing with extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  Her dad has left, they were evicted from their apartment, and she is living in a car with her mother and brother.  She is desperate for them to have enough money for a real home.  Her mother makes a lot of promises and is clearly stressed and working hard, but they appear to be in a hopeless situation.  Georgina sees a reward sign for a dog, and figures if they steal the right dog and return it for reward money, their problem will be solved.  The girls felt the characters were very realistic.  And that people who do bad things sometimes do so out of desperation or because they are in a very difficult position.  One girl said she felt frustrated that Georgina wasn't more patient with her mother who was trying very hard.  They also weren't happy with the way Georgina lied to her teachers.

One of the most fun parts of the discussion is when they girls are asked how the story could have been told differently.  They always have such interesting ideas on a story rewrite or the parts of the story they would have liked to hear more about.

For the craft, the girls made dog treats for their dogs at home.  The host mama premade the dough and gave portions of the girls to form into bones/treats.

Our recipe came from the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook.

One of our members brought this cute picture to book club to share.  We have lots of Book Club pride!....and we all love Pokemon.  Or at least most of us :)  It is awesome that they are so into our little club.

We all had a great time!  Next month, we are reading Rules by Cynthia Lord.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen- Meeting #11

Our fifth meeting of the 2014-15 school year was on Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen by Kimberly Willis Holt.  This was a fun light read for the girls.  No heavy topics or too much drama.

The host mama made a delicious dinner.  We could smell the burgers on the grill as we came inside!  The girls ate "Neptune Burgers" (hamburgers), "Pluto Potatoes" (fries), tator tots, and veggies while we had our discussion.  We used our general discussion questions to help guide the discussion. No thumbs down on this book, but a few to the side.

 The girls love any books with pets, especially dogs.  So the pet show at the end was a hit.  Another favorite part was when Peaches the fish died and was replaced by Peaches the second.  Someone asked what a "milky eyeball" meant in regards to the dead fish.  EUW.  Not our favorite conversation over dinner.

The girls also learned about dyslexia in the discussion (which is something the main character has).

One of the morals of the story (for a Navy family always moving to new places) was "home is where your family is."

After the dinner discussion, prior to the craft, a spontaneous ring around the rosy happened.  These girls love each other ;)

For the craft, the girls got a lump of terra cotta clay to sculpt with.  In the book, Piper Reed sculpts a nose with a pimple on it out of clay to tease her older sister ;)  

One our our close friends' little girl was in the hospital and this sweetie pie wrote a get well message to text to her mama.

This was a great independent project for the girls.  Nice for the mamas to be able to catch up while the girls enjoyed working with the clay.  Host mama says the clay was quite a mess in her sink though.  Beware ;)

We all had a great time!  Next month, we are reading How To Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.