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SCHOLASTIC TEACHING NOTES

TITLE: THE PROS AND CONS OF BEING A FROG

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: SUE DEGENNARO

NOTES BY ROBYN SHEAHAN-BRIGHT

INTRODUCTION SUMMARY

INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BOOK

STUDY NOTES

• THEMES & TOPICS
• LANGUAGE LITERACY & VISUAL LITERACY
• MATHEMATICS AND NUMBERS
• CREATIVE ARTS

BACKGROUND TO THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

BLACKLINE MASTERS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THE NOTES

INTRODUCTION SUMMARY

Camille and her friend couldn’t be more different. Where Camille is interested in numbers and is super-organised, her friend is prone to imagining things, and lately has been dressing up as a cat when he goes to school! And yet, despite their differences, they are the best of friends.

When Camille advises her friend to swap the cat costume for something else, he chooses a frog. They then decide (as friends do) to make a costume for Camille as well. But things get awkward when they try to collaborate; ‘words are said’ and the friendship seems to be over. Our narrator misses her friend terribly, though, and goes in search of her. Meanwhile, Camille is on her way to visit her friend too, and proves very sweetly how much she enjoys her friend’s joyous take on the world.

This book is a celebration of the imagination and how true friends can respect that in each other. It is a delightfully whimsical story by the brilliantly gifted artist Sue deGennaro.

INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BOOK

Sue says that: ‘My inspiration came from a story I was once told about a friend of mine coming to the city with his mum to buy runners. He was so excited to be buying a brand name pair of runners that he didn’t register that they had a pink and green stripe on them. Sadly when he got back to school he was teased endlessly about the pink strip. He never wore the runners of course, but this story stayed with me. I thought alot about how as children we live in our own small world. That tiny world for some children can often be filled with endless stories, often having little to do with reality. The fantastical world of children can however become so easily exposed and the secret I think is to be able to find another friend who will happily support that imagined world. Camille does this beautifully in the story.’

STUDY NOTES

THEMES & TOPICS

• FRIENDSHIP

Discussion Point: Camille and the narrator are opposites but are true friends. Are your friends different to you? Do best friends need to be different or the same?

Discussion Point: Invite students to discuss what friendship means. Use some well-known quotes to provoke discussion, for example: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
You might also start this activity by asking them to finish the sentence. ‘A Friend is ...’

Activity: Make up your own ‘wise saying’ about friendship and draw a picture to go with it.

Activity: Write an acrostic poem based on the word ‘friendship’.

Activity: Read other picture books about friendship and discuss them. [See Bibliography below.]

• IMAGINATION

Discussion Point: Discuss the imagination with students. What things do they imagine? Do they like dressing up in costumes? Who do they pretend they are when they are playing games with their siblings or friends?

Activity: Students might instead like to draw something which they have imagined instead of talking about it?

Activity: Share some books about imagining things [See Bibliography below.]

• DIFFERENCE

Discussion Point: Do we all have to be the same? What is normal?

Discussion Point: How are these two friends different? How are they the same?

LANGUAGE LITERACY & VISUAL LITERACY


Activity: This is a text written in the first person. Imagine how the story might have been told by Camille or by their teacher instead?

Activity: ‘Pros and cons’ are arguments for and against something. Discuss this concept with students. Read the list which the narrator writes about being a frog. Then choose a topic which is likely to be of interest to your students and ask them to write a list of ‘pros and cons’.

Discussion Point: When the narrator is trying to choose a costume to wear (after being a cat) what animals does he dress up as? Which one of these would you choose to wear? Why? [See also Blackline Master 1.]

Activity: Sue deGennaro uses collage, conte, pencil and ink to make these illustrations. Create a drawing of Camille and her best friend using these mediums.

Activity: Watch a video of Sue deGennaro speaking about generating ideas: State Library of Victoria one of the techniques she demonstrates is tracing around an image and them cutting it out of interestingly patterned paper. Experiment with different techniques which are used in her books.

Activity: Always look closely at the pictures in a picture book. Often things appear which are not mentioned in the text but which add to the story in some way. (This can be called ‘sub-text’.) For example there is a little bird and sometimes more than one bird, which appears in quite a few images. Why is it there? On the endpapers there are numbers. What do they refer to? What else did you notice?

MATHEMATICS AND NUMBERS

Activity: Camille is in love with numbers. Do you enjoy playing with numbers too? Play some number games and a quiz. [See Blackline Master 4.]

Activity: Design endpapers like those which are included in this book. Make your numbers unique in some way. For example you could use a stencil and decorate each number with a pattern (polka dots, flowers etc). Or you could trace the numbers onto patterned paper and glue them on to a plain background for effect.

CREATIVE ARTS

• Make a Frog Mask or Costume. See: ‘Frog Mask’ ‘Frog Mask’ ‘Frog Costume’

• Create a Book Trailer for this picture book. For instructions about how to do that, go to:

Book Trailers - Resources: Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network

‘Book Trailers’ Insideadog

‘The Best info About Book Trailers’ Fiction Notes

• Create a Banner celebrating Sue deGennaro’s works, using collage and featuring ideas drawn from your reading of her books.

BACKGROUND TO THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

Sue deGennaro always loved drawing, but has had a varied and creative career in which she has studied art, dance, film and also became a trapeze artist! She’s been an artist model, a rigger, a removalist, a street performer and a lolly girl in a lolly shop. Eventually, though she returned to her first love – art – and has been busy creating pictures books ever since. She received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship in 2007, and has been shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Crichton Award 2010. Her books include:
• Mates series: The Smartest Dog of All by Ian Horrocks (Omnibus Books, 2009)
• The Princess & the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson (Scholastic Press, 2009)
• The Vegetable Ark by Kim Kane (Allen & Unwin, 2010)
• The Tomorrow Book by Jackie French (HarperCollins, 2010)
• One Funky Monkey by Stacey McCleary (Walker Books, 2010)
• Button Boy by Rebecca Young (Scholastic Press, 2011)
• Just One More by Mark Macleod (HarperCollins, 2011)
• The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse by Tony Wilson (Scholastic Press, 2012)

Awards include: The Tomorrow Book with Jackie French – 2011 Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature; The Vegetable Ark with Kim Kane – Notable Book, Younger Readers category, Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2011; Notable Book, Picture Book category, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2011; Commended, Best Designed Children’s Picture Book, 59th Annual Australian Publishing Association Book Design Awards, 2011. The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas with Tony Wilson – Notable Book, CBCA Awards 2010.



BLACKLINE MASTER 1 EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

THIS IS THE NARRATOR /CHARACTER IN THE BOOK. GIVE HIM A COSTUME (YOU CAN CHOOSE ANY ANIMAL, BIRD OR CREATURE) AND THEN DRAW A PICTURE BEHIND/AROUND THE FIGURE WHICH MIGHT BE ANOTHER INCIDENT IN THIS STORY. DECORATE THE PICTURE USING COLLAGE MATERIALS.



[pic]

BLACKLINE MASTER 2 COLOUR IN THE FROG



[pic]



This image is from Kids Zone:

BLACKLINE MASTER 3 WORD GAMES

| [pic] | [pic] |
|This happy frog is wearing a golden ***** on its head. |This brightly-coloured frog is wearing a *** around its neck. |
| [pic] | [pic] |
|This naughty frog is poking out its ******. |This skinny frog is holding a top *** in its hand. |
| [pic] | [pic] |
|This little ******* is a baby frog. |This clever frog is hanging on a ****. |
| [pic] | [pic] |
|This surprised **** is holding a frog. |This proud frog is sitting on *** of the world. |
| [pic] | [pic] |
|This worried boy is looking at the frog which has fallen into the |This ***** is scaring the frightened frog. |
|****. | |


ACTIVITY A: ANSWERS: CROWN * TIE * TONGUE * HAT * TADPOLE* ROPE *BEAR* TOP* HOLE*SNAKE

ACTIVITY B: USE ANY OF THE ADJECTIVES (UNDERLINED) IN ANOTHER SENTENCE.

BLACKLINE MASTER 4 CAMILLE’S NUMBER GAMES

1. Camille says ‘23’ when she means ‘yes’ and ‘17’ when she means ‘no’. How much do the two numbers add up to?

2. When Camille wants a snack she sings the six times table. How much is six times 3?

3. How much is six times 6?

4. Fifty-four divided by six equals what?

5. For how many days did Dodie the dog chase Camiile’s friend?

6. When they are measuring Camille for a frog costume, what number appears on the page and is pictured falling out of her bag when she leaves?

7. How many pros and cons are on the list?

8. How many letters are there in Camille’s name?

9. How many times does the phrase ‘flip flap’ appear in the text?

10. What numbers appear on the final page?

[pic]





Answer: 1. Forty (40). 2. Eighteen (18). 3. Thirty-six (36). 4. Nine (9). 5. Eleven (11) days. 6. Eight (8). 7. Three (3) pros and three (3) cons. 8. Seven (7) letters. 9. Three (3) times. 10. Twenty-three (23, which means yes!).





BIBLIOGRAPHY

Picture Books about Friends

Browne, Anthony Willy and Hugh Candlewick, 2003.

Carle, Eric Do You want to be My Friend? Harper, 1987

Fox, Mem and Vivas, Julie Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge Omnibus Books, 1984.

Gleeson Libby and Blackwood, Freya Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House Little Hare Books, 2009.

Henkes, Kevin Chester’s Way Greenwillow, 1998.

Hoban, Russell and Hoban, Lillian Best Friends for Frances HarperCollins, 1969.

Hutchins, Pat My Best Friend Greenwillow, 1993.

Lobel, Arnold Frog and Toad are Friends HarperCollins, 1979.

Mackintosh, David Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School HarperCollins, 2011.

Mayer, Mercer Just my Friend and Me Random, 2001.

Picture Books about Imagination

Dumbleton, Mike and Gamble, Kim Let’s Escape Scholastic, 1997.

Gleeson, Libby and Smith, Craig Where’s Mum? Omnibus Books, 1992.

King, Stephen Michael Patricia Scholastic, 1998.

McLean, Janet and Andrew Make it I’m the Mother Allen and Unwin, 2000.

Mahy, Margaret and Steven Kellogg The Boy Who was Followed Home Puffin, 1993.

Tan, Shaun The Lost Thing Lothian, 2010.

Whatley, Bruce Hunting Dragons Scholastic, 2010.

Wild, Margaret and Tanner, Jane There’s a Sea in my Bedroom Nelson, 1985.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THE NOTES

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright operates justified text writing and publishing consultancy services and has been widely published on writing for young people, Australian fiction, and publishing history. She is a member of the IBBY Australia Inc committee, president of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale committee, and chaired the inaugural judging panel for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Children and Young Adults 2010 and 2011. She was the recipient of the 2011 Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for Distinguished Services to Children’s Literature in Queensland.

What should I do to become a neurosurgeon? Do really well in HS and get into an excellent University that has an excellent academic reputation. Do really well in college. ... Get accepted into (and go there obviously) an excellent medical school that has an excellent academic reputation. Do really, really well there. ... Befriend some neurosurgeons while you are in medical school. ...