As a participant in a variety of bookclubs the past 15 years, I know wine, food and chitchat are an important part of the evening. Some of the bookclub meetings never got around to discussing the book. With first and second graders I knew I needed a plan. I wasn’t wedded to the plan. . .but wanted some ideas if things went downhill. And they literally went downhill.
The girls arrived. A game of chase around the house quickly ensued while I finished preparing the gourmet meal. . . bowtie pasta (with or without cheese), grapes and juice boxes.
After dinner, the educational part of the meeting began. My coworker and her entomologist husband brought two large shadowboxes filled with bugs. The girls were fascinated and the entomologist was impressed with their knowledge. Each girl shared their favorite bug from the collection
Then, it was dessert time. Miriam made grasshopper brownies. She told the girls there were grasshoppers in them. Only a few believed her. But they all started boinging like the characters in the book who ate the roasted grasshoppers. Between the grasshopper brownies and chocolate chip cookies, the girls were sugared up.
Before I continue, a little background information. Turn right out of our driveway, you quickly walk uphill. Turn left out of our driveway, you quickly walk up a different hill. Also, a third grade boy lives up the street. ML and her friends love to chase him.
Sugared up, clanging ML’s musical instruments and begging to do a parade, I agreed to lead one. They insisted we turn left onto the street because Nathan was last seen riding his bike to the left. Approaching the top of the hill at busy Dixie Trail, I told the girls to turn around. When they turned, Nathan was speeding down the other hill. Our straight line parade turned into a mass group of screaming girls running towards Nathan like a cloud of locust flying down the street.
It was getting dark as the girls chased Nathan. So Liz, the mom helping me, and I rounded up the girls for the literary part of the meeting. The girls were encouraged to bring a picture showing their favorite part of the book. Some did, some didn’t (One member, went home from school with a fever on Friday. However, she insisted her mom bring her picture for the club to see.) I held up the pictures and the artist shared what they thought was the funniest part of the book. Then, I asked those who didn’t bring a picture to share their favorite part.
Next I showed the cover of six possible titles to read for the next official meeting. Each girl wrote her name and top two choices on Hello Kitty shopping list paper. I tallied the votes and used them to choose a raffle prize winner.
ML and I attended a charity event last spring where ML won a necklace for me in the raffle. She’s been wanting to have a raffle ever since. I decided bookclub would be the perfect place and purchased a prize, the book Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. Ella won the book. There was a tie for the book choices, so the girls decided to read two books.
The “bookclub” portion was over with 30 minutes left before the parents arrival. Luckily, Annabeth the youngest and shortest took over. Liz and I sat on the couch and enjoyed a fashion show. The door to ML’s room would open and Annabeth would introduce the next model. It’s hard to pick a favorite. But one girl chose to wear a long black skirt and top. Covering her hair and face with a scarf, she was introduced as, “Anonymous.”
Our November meeting will “discuss” two books.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith
Poppy the Pirate Dog by Liz Kessler and illustrated by Mike Phillips
Based on the dramatic fashion show, I am planning to do reader’s theater with fairy tales. No memorization is required. I’ll randomly pull names out of a hat. Then, email the script and daughter’s part to each mom. They can bring one prop and only one for their part.