Monday, November 12, 2012

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine Book Club Party

This turned out to be a very fun book club party. (Or B.C. P. as Lala .... who wants to be called "Cobra" now calls them.) The two princesses of Bamarre are sisters, but they couldn't be more different. Meryl longs for adventure, but timid Addie wants nothing but peace and safety.  Meryl promises not to begin her adventures until Addie is married and settled with a family. Then, one day, Meryl contracts a dreaded disease, The Gray Death, and Addie must face her fears and set out on an adventure in order to save her sister. She will face deadly gryphons, formidable dragons, frightful spectors, and other fearsome creatures, but courageously fights on in order to save her beloved sister. It's not my very favorite of Gail Carson Levine's books (I like Ella Enchanted and her Princess Tales collection), but it is a fun read, and it made for a great discussion!

Discussion questions:
1. Share a time when you showed courage.
2. What is bravery? Is it fighting dragons and giants or is it something else?
3. What makes a person a hero?
4. At the beginning of the book, who did you think you were most like, Addie or Meryl? What about at the end of the story?
5. What did you think of the ending?
(This sparked a lot of discussion . . . most of the girls didn't like the ending and had pretty strong opinions about a "better" ending.)

page 17: "Fairies had known our best selves better than anyone else and they'd encouraged us and given us a boost when we were in trouble."
Do you have someone like that in your life?

page 219: "The chance to be a hero--  which is all I ever wanted"
What do you want out of life?

One surprisingly fun activity was to make up sayings for our very own Book of Homely Truths. I printed up several pages of idioms, cut them into word strips and then encouraged the girls to use them as a base to create funny sayings.

Here are some examples:
"Be sure to pick up your ears when you go out on a limb."
"Keep your chin up when it's raining cats and dogs."
"Go the extra mile when you get off on the wrong foot."
"Mum's the word when you get up on the wrong side of the bed like a chicken with its head cut off."
"Make no bones about a cock and bull story."
"You can't judge a book by its cover because if it's not one thing, it's another."
"Head over heels, he lost his head."

The girls kept reading the strips and calling out "homely truths" throughout the much of the book club.


"The Fairies" by Rose Fyleman and "I'd Love to Be a Fairy's Child"by Robert Graves

Dragon poems

The poems were easy to find. I also had some poems about clouds, spiders, and swords ready to go.

Connection Picture Books

The Three Pigs by David Weisner is a family favorite. Although it is hard to read aloud in a large group, (the pictures are an integral part of the story, so you have to make sure that everyone can see and takes the time to notice the humorous details.) The first of the three pigs is literally blown out of his story book and  the adventures begin. The connection: taking charge of your own story.

Big Chickens by Leslie Helakosi is a fabulous read aloud. So many fun strings of words ("the chickens pwoked, squawked and _____) , and a subtle rhythm that pervades the entire story. The connection: being brave is sometimes just a matter of perspective.

Usually, I read at least one "serious" picture book in our discussion, but because our discussion went so well, I just read the "fun" books I had collected as potential books for our circle time. This one was a huge success. One quick preface, "This is based on a true story" had the girls rolling on the floor. Stay Awake, Sally by Mitra Moderessi was purchased in honor of a certain "Cobra"in our family, and we have enjoyed reading it aloud often. (And laughing whenever our Lala puts herself to bed (at whatever odd time) despite her parents' pleadings to stay awake for a bit longer.)
The connection: Addie encourages Meryl to fight the sleepiness of the Gray Death.

Other great books I had ready to read .  .  .  (Connections include: Adventure, Girl Power, Dragons, and Sisters)
A quest in a "dangerous" forest leads to a happy ending. 
"Chick Power"  . . . and "sisters" working together to accomplish their goals

The younger, "less-likely"sibling ends up with adventure and honors at the end of his quest. And  an enchanted acorn opens up to allow yards and yards of cloth to be pulled from its depths. 
A brave princess outsmarts a dragon and rescues herself from becoming his fiery dinner. 
For our craft we made "seven league flip flops" (okay, so a bit of a stretch, but a fun summer thing to do, nonetheless!) I just got flip flops in various sizes and water balloons at the dollar store and let the girls tie on the water balloons in various designs and colors. For our treat, Cupcake made some spider cake bites inspired by :  but they didn't really look how she hoped (the legs kept falling off, and she didn't bother with eyes. We joked about her lame blind spiders), but I heard they were yummy. (I was strong, and despite them being made out of Ghirardelli brownie mix I kept to my no chocolate conviction. Why am I doing that? I can't remember.  . . . ) 

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