Bibliographic Information: Henkes, K. (1991). Chrysanthemum. New York: Mulberry.
Brief Annotation: Chrysanthemum loves her name. But when she goes to school, everyone makes fun of her – until a new teacher comes along.
Genre: Animal Fantasy
Grade Level: K-2
Readers who will like this: Children on the first day of school; children who like stories with animals as the main character; children who have been teased
Rating/Response (1-4): 4; This charming book shows how heart-breaking teasing and bullying can be, and it never fails to get students’ interest. I love how well Henkes captures the excitement and fears of starting school.
Text-Dependent Question: Why was Mrs. Twinkle’s first name important to Chrysanthemum?
Strategy: Character Traits Chart – in this strategy, students brainstorm words that describe characters after reading a text. This is an effective strategy to pair with this book because there are several well-developed (and different) characters in the book. Also, helping students brainstorm character traits helps them in both their comprehension and can support their ideas as writers. The strategy can help students look at how traits change, if at all, over time in a book.