Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

My New Shirt

Fagan, Cary (Author)
Petričić, Dušan (Illustrator)
Tundra Books 2007. 32 pages
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9780887767159 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Awards

Governor General’s Literary Award – Finalist – 2007
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2009

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:

Usually David likes visiting his Bubbie, but it’s his birthday today, and she always gives him the same thing: a white button-down shirt. “‘Go on, don’t be shy.’ Bubbie says. ‘Open it.’ What else can I do? I open it.”

Children will appreciate the problem of receiving an unwanted or disappointing gift. They’ll love David’s voice: “How does a kid who thinks like me become a grownup who thinks like that?”

Funny, expressive illustrations use fine-etched line and watercolour effects. One monotone image shows David’s birthday shirts, floating like menacing ghosts of past and future. Bright colours convey the hilarious chase sequence that ensues when David accidentally hurls the shirt out the window. Pupik the dog chases; beet borscht splashes and bagels fly, as Pupik drags it through the neighbourhood—the whole family in pursuit.

This story will be an altogether satisfying ride for young readers. Especially when the errant shirt, finally scrubbed and starched clean by Bubbie, is accidentally tossed out the window again: “‘How about,’ she says, ‘next year I get you something different . . .?’”

  •  

    Why didn’t David tell his Bubbie the truth about his feelings? Describe situations in which you had to save face. Debate the pros and cons of telling little white lies.

  •  

    Answer the following survey question: Do you agree with David’s actions regarding the shirt? What could he have done instead? What would you have done in his shoes? Share your thoughts with the class.

  •  

    Do you have any traditions surrounding your birthday? Discuss how traditions can be both enjoyable and tedious. 

  •  

    In your journal, write about the events that took place or the gift(s) you received that made for the best or worst birthday ever. Describe your dream birthday. 

  •  

    When reading this story, we feel the rhythm, the speed of action. As a class, identify the words and the features that make the story feel it is going faster, that make it feel there is lots of action.

  •  

    Fill out a circular (around the clock) graphic organizer with the events of the story. 

  •  

    Think of an event that didn’t turn out the way it should have. Complete a sequencing graphic organizer about the event. Tell this story to your peers.

  •  

    Imagine what a birthday shirt should look like. Draw and describe it. Hang all the class’s shirts on a clothesline in the hall, along with a copy of the book.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Visual Arts