Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Grandmother Ptarmigan

Leng, Qin (Illustrator)
Inhabit Media 2013. 24 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781927095522 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

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:

It’s bedtime for baby ptarmigan, but he won’t go to sleep despite his grandmother’s coaxing. She decides to tell him a bedtime story, one that he will never forget, featuring a hairless lemming that makes him squirm and shake with fear. Inspired by a traditional Inuit tale, this is also the story of why baby ptarmigans fly so young and why female ptarmigans cry, “nauk, nauk.”

Language is simplified for easy readability. Told in a circular fashion, the first and last pages open with “Once there was a little ptarmigan who would not go to sleep.” The final pages unpack the myth.

Most of the illustrations – tender pencil sketches employing a gentle palette of brown, white and turquoise – are of the birds in their nests. Simple details such as snow and an igloo evoke the northern setting.

This traditional pourquoi tale could spark lively questions about the origins of other parts of a child’s everyday life.

  •  

    Before reading, explore teacher-selected resources about ptarmigans (such as Environment Canada Hinterland Who’s Who website).

  •  What is your bedtime like? What helps you fall asleep? What happens when you have trouble falling asleep?
  •  Do you think Grandmother Ptarmigan’s story helps her grandson or not? What advice would you give her?
  •  

    Act out the story in groups of three: narrator, grandmother, little ptarmigan.

  •  People of many cultures tell stories to explain the natural world. What animal behaviour does this story explain?
  •  

    Before reading, explore new vocabulary (ptarmigan, lemming, lullaby, tuck in) to build in prior knowledge.

  •  

    Discuss your bedtime routine. What helps you fall asleep? What doesn’t? Compare your routine to the ptarmigan’s.

  •  

    Act out the story in groups of three: narrator, grandmother, little ptarmigan.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Drama
  • Ethics and Religious Culture