Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg

Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg
Parent Child Book Discussion

Grades 4-5
July 2008

Snack ideas: soda, bug cookies, pretzel rods with icing and m&m flies "flies on a log"

1. Thumbs up/down; general thoughts about the book and share favorite parts.

2. At the beginning of the book, Oliver and Rachel find out they are moving. How are their reactions different and why?

3. Belinda Shrank is scared of the house... what kinds of things had happened to her there?

4. Willy the dragonfly leads a group of young insects to interfere with the Alliance's plans. Why? Are the grownups "Elders" in this book always right? What about Oliver's parents?

5. Oliver discovers the magic crystal can turn him into animals and also help him understand their language. If you could talk to two animals, which ones would they be, and what questions would you want to ask them?

6. Why are Mooch and Oliver glad to have each other as friends?

7. Rachel discovers the power of the crystal. What happens? How does the experience change her?

8. The Alliance is upset when dead fish are found. In real life--animals and humans have an impact on each other's lives. What things to humans do that hurt animals? What things do animals do that interfere with humans?

9. What does the General have planned for the pond? Who are his allies and why do you think they help him?

10. On page 210 Oliver learns that he has a choice in how to see himself. What kind of person do you want to be?

11. What is Oliver's father like? Why do you think he takes Mooch? What would have happened to Mooch if the accident hadn't happened?

12. At the end of the story, a lot has changed. How have the pond animals changed? How have the humans changed? What do you think will happen in the future?

13. Name the six families of the Alliance and who their head was:
Insects--Fat Mama (black widow spider)
Amphibians--Frankie "The Tongue" Gambini (bull frog)
Reptiles--Flakes (box turtle)
Mammals--Pudge (Raccoon)
Birds--The General (Crow)
Fish--no leader, just trout.

Activity ideas:

Chapter 17-- Antoine and Mooch watch commercials on television. Take a look at popular magazines and what is being advertised.

Fun facts about animals in the book:
Black Widow Spiders
Ribbon snakes

Learn about author Alan Silberberg:

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