This is it! The final week! We will read chapters 16-21 this week, so you have one extra chapter to fit in. In addition, if you have not done any activities throughout the weeks, now is the perfect time to pick a few activities and make a snack to celebrate reading the story of Louis. I will give a few snack + party ideas at the end of the post.
*All links are in italics*
Chapter 16 – Philadelphia
- Play some of the pieces mentioned in the chapter – Cradle Song (Brahms), Beautiful Dreamer
- Discuss what a telegram was and what “sending something collect” meant
- Look up the Philadelphia Zoo website and check out Bird Lake
- The Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia is mentioned in this chapter. Explore this topic more if you are interested.
Chapter 17 – Serena
- This is a great place to stop and discuss managing money. Even Louis needed this important skill! Ask your kids if they feel that Louis did a good job keeping track of his money and saving for his goal. If your kids are interested in making money, check out this podcast called Junior Money Makers.
- The agent was paid a 10% fee. Discuss how we can find 10% of an amount. Why was the agent paid that money? Who has to pay an agent?
- Should Louis have rushed over to Serena as soon as he saw her or was he right to wait?
- Tell love stories of when you met your spouse, the day you knew you would be a Mom, when you met your child. Pull out the baby books or photo albums if you can.
Chapter 18 – Freedom
- Was Louis right to jab the zoo employee who was sneaking up on Serena? Why or why not? Was Louis a good defender? Why did he telegram Sam Beaver? If you had to pick safety or freedom which would you pick?
Chapter 19 – A Talk about Money
- Sam decides to be a zookeeper. Is this a good job for Sam? How will you know what job you should pick? What are your talents and interests?
- Sam describes Louis as honorable. What do you think honorable means?
- Get out a North American map and follow their route from Philadelphia, PA – south to MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, LA, and then back up to Red Rock Lakes in Lima, MT.
Chapter 20 – Billings
- The cob says his middle name is Danger. Do you think that is a good name for him? What would your middle name be if you could pick a funny one? Do you think his father was brave to go back to the music store?
- In the story, everyone sees the bird flying toward the store a little differently. They remember different pieces of the story. To show how this works in court, you could set up a regular encounter – like setting the table for lunch or something similar. When lunch is over and cleared, you could appoint a judge and a lawyer. Ask specific questions about which plates were used, what was served, how many people ate, etc. Make up a pretend crime – The two year old ate all the goldfish crackers or Johnny didn’t eat his vegetables and let the lawyer ask questions and then the judge can rule on it.
- In this chapter, the store keeper decides to donate some of the money to a “worthy cause” and ends up picking The Audubon Society. Discuss why you give to causes and what causes are near to your heart. Ask who they would donate to if they were picking. Discuss ways they can help others by volunteering or donating items.
- Compare the cob’s heroic story to the ones you already heard.
Chapter 21 – The Greening Spring
- Louis and Serena return to the lake in Canada where he met Sam Beaver. Ask which places your child likes to return to again and again. Any favorite traditions for birthdays or seasons?
- How was Louis like his father? How was he like his mother?
- Louis talks about his life in this last chapter. If you staple a few pages together you can make a small booklet for your child to write their own biographies.
And now for the PARTY ideas!
- string cheese (chalk) OR pieces of cheese (slates) and pretzel sticks (chalk)
- chocolate graham crackers (slates)
- grapes (egg shaped and healthy – unless your kids will freak out that they are eating Louis or his siblings)
- bugles (salty snack)
- rice krispie treat (shaped like a nest) or a haystack cookie (with chow mein noodles and butterscotch chips)
- bottled water
Decor (pick one or two)
- buy postcards from the places Louis lived and post them around the room
- buy a very used copy of the book and frame some of the pencil drawing illustrations to put on the food table
- place a large North American map on the wall in a prominent place and put colored pins in the places Louis lived
- run by the library for a small stack of books about birds, E.B. White, John James Audubon, drawing, sign language or survival skills
- put up a tent in the house or backyard and hang a large Welcome to Camp Kookooskoos sign
- take your party to a lake and combine your snacks with a nature walk
Start with some of the questions from the guide. You can write one question per page and tape them around the room or put on clipboards or slates. Let the kids take the first part of the party writing their own answers to the questions. If they think post-it notes are fun, let them use those to post their answers!
Head outside for an Activity Relay
- The first task is writing on a slate with a piece of chalk – held in your mouth (beak) or in your toes! Making a circle or writing their name earns them a mini slate to go around their neck. Just let it hang clipped on an ID lanyard or long necklace.
- The second task is doing a dance to earn your trumpet. Louis tried to get Serena’s attention doing all sorts of tricks but then his Dad got him the trumpet. Once they do a fun dance or some other attention-getting task, award them a small plastic trumpet or party horn. Anything remotely musical. Or photocopy a small trumpet and laminate. I found a package of toy sized trumpets at Party City.
- Third task – Louis saved a boy so we will save an egg. Use hollow plastic Easter eggs or hard boiled eggs. Assign one color to each person so the older kids don’t find and “save” the easier ones. Once they find the eggs they can run them to the nest (a hula hoop). If you want to make it harder, they could carry the egg on a spoon. They earn a lifesaving medal to clip on their lanyard. I found the swan stickers at Hobby Lobby and will use those to create a medal.
- The final task is to play a musical concert of Row, Row, Row your Boat and earn chocolate coins. You can find chocolate coins at a party store. They come in a mesh bag and that can be hung on the lanyard as well.
Take a break for snack time! While the kids are having their snack you can show off their answers to the questions. Try to celebrate whatever effort they have shown. This is the basis for literary analysis in the years to come and we want it to be a natural and positive experience. Keep this part quick and light!
If you have any connections item from the library, now is the time to mention your finds. Before the kids get up, you could introduce the music of Louis Armstrong and play some of that while the kids look at your library finds, play with their friends or do the final paper craft. You could also use this time to get a few photos.
I hope you have enjoyed following along with our first family book club pick! The next book will be Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and we will follow a different (shorter) format with that book. I hope you will plan to join us again.