Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Nursery Crimes

Geisert, Arthur (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2001. 32 pages
First published: 2001
ISBN: 9780618956715 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, 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
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Jambonneau, Merville de Peru and their 12 children run a topiary nursery, as well as selling giant pumpkins and salvage, “to make ends meet.” But when the children’s seasonal topiaries are stolen—not once, but twice—a happy Thanksgiving seems out of reach for the hardworking family.

Fine markings create depth and shadow in the charming, brightly coloured illustrations which recall the hand-tinted serigraph techniques used in vintage children’s books. Depictions of the salvage-constructed family home, which incorporates an old school bus and a slide, will enchant young readers, as will the image of the children hiding in giant Jack-O-Lanterns in order to catch the thief.

Children acquainted with French will enjoy the puns in the names Jambonneau and Voler. Although the story is set in the United States, its depiction of Thanksgiving works well with Canada’s earlier Thanksgiving holiday. In the end, Merville’s quick thinking and a bit of luck save the day.

By touching lightly on traditions of Thanksgiving and Halloween, as well as the reasons for leaf colour change, this fun mystery is an excellent choice for youngsters’ autumn reading.

  •  

    Talk about Thanksgiving and what it means. What were the pigs thankful for at the end of the story, and what are you thankful for?

  •  Talk about the genre (mystery) and the use of clues to solve the crime.
  •  Produce a flip book with four flaps showing how trees (from the story or use other trees) change colour in each of the four seasons.
  •  Use a graphic organizer to sequence the events in the story.
  •  

    Talk about Thanksgiving and what it means. What were the pigs thankful for at the end of the story, and what are you thankful for?

  •  Produce a flip book with four flaps showing how trees (from the story or use other trees) change colour in each of the four seasons.
  •  Use a graphic organizer to sequence the events in the story.
  • To cooperate with others
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Visual Arts
  • Henri’s Scissors (J. Winter)
    The Garden of Abdul Gasazi (C. Van Allsburg)