Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Green Eyes

Birnbaum, A. (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2011. 48 pages
First published: 1953
ISBN: 9780375862014 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Award

Caldecott Honor Book – 1954

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
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The passage of seasons and life on a farm is recounted in the voice of Green Eyes the cat. The language conveys kittenhood memories with vivid details: “Every day I tried to climb over the walls of my house. Sometimes my paws would almost reach the top” and “I would sit and watch the farmer milking the cows. I had a very special reason.”

Painted illustrations use bold, thick lines to create scenes of farm life and the four seasons. One spread shows Green Eyes’ big red kitten box on a green-wash lawn, as his tiny white form struggles over the edge and leaps to the ground. In another, a much grown Green Eyes stalks a whirling leaf among its fallen fellows. A winter scene shows him snuggled in his box—now a tight fit—by the radiator. Through the window, a snow-covered field is marked by a trail of cat-prints.

The story’s message of growing up and the passing of time is emphasized in the final section as the illustrations revisit their seasonal themes with new twists. Meanwhile, the language shifts from past to present (“I am one year old. I am not a kitten anymore … and I have a bigger box”) and into future anticipations of new seasons ahead: “In the summer, I will play in the tall, cool grass.”

  •  

    From the book cover, make predictions about the story. After the read-aloud, revisit your predictions.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the setting, seasons and animals.

  •  Create a story about yourself or your pet in the same style, telling about your past, present and future.
  •  

    This story is told from the point of view of a kitten. How would the story be different if it were told from another perspective? Rewrite the story from another animal’s point of view, e.g. a bear, fish, bird or frog.

  •  

    From the book cover, make predictions about the story. After the read-aloud, compare it to your predictions.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the setting, seasons and animals.

  •  

    How is the passing of time expressed through the book? Draw a timeline to indicate how Green Eyes appreciates the passing of time.

  •  Create a story about yourself or your pet in the same style, telling about your past, present and future.
  •  

    The book cover may suggest a different story to the reader. Either create a new book cover or tell the story you predicted.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology