Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

50 Below Zero

Munsch, Robert (Author)
Martchenko, Michael (Illustrator)
Annick Press 1986. 24 pages
First published: 1986
ISBN: 9780920236918 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This story will grab young readers from the start, when little Jason is woken by a sound in the night: “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?”

Ebullient and peppy language describes the ridiculous places Jason finds his sleepwalking father—including on top of the fridge: “PAPA, WAKE UP!” and “This house is going crraaazy!” Children will love the role-reversal of a child caring for a parent. They may have their own family stories of nights of broken sleep.

Detailed illustrations are rich with humour. In one image, the tall, thin father leans against a scraggly pine, his mouth frozen open in a snore. The moon casts shadows on a snowy landscape while Jason peers from his furry hood like a stuffed dwarf. In another scene, Jason scowls in snow pants and parka, as he reheats Papa in a steam-filled bathroom.

Readers of all ages will enjoy the surprise ending. Jason is finally able to get some sleep when he ties his snoozing Papa’s toe to the bed. When a noise wakes his mother, the final image shows Jason sleeping peacefully—on top of the fridge.

  •  

    Imagine you are Jason and hear a noise while you are sleeping. Use the predictable and recurring elements from the book to write and illustrate your own story (e.g. “What’s that? What’s that? It’s a . . .”).

  •  

    Brainstorm for other ways Jason could have kept his dad from sleepwalking. 

  •  

    Discuss what might happen if the mother untied the rope. List other places the dad might end up and how they might rescue him. 

  •  

    Discuss the weather and seasons. Which temperatures are considered to be cold? Hot? What season is it? What’s the current weather? What clothing do you wear in winter? In summer?

  •  

    List the places/rooms that Jason’s father goes to in the story. Create a chart to show what happens in each one.

  •  

    Act out the story in a Reader's Theatre format.

  •  

    Describe what happens at the end of the story. 

  • To solve problems
  • To use creativity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Physical Education and Health