Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth!

Gay, Marie-Louise (Author/Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2010. 32 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9780888999948 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Awards

Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award – 2011
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2012

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:

Roslyn the rabbit plans to dig to the other side of the world. Skillful language begs to be read aloud: Roslyn’s piping little voice, her father’s quiet, encouraging tone, and the various backyard creatures that are disturbed by Roslyn’s digging: “‘Listen,’ said the mole. ‘I dig holes all the time… I’m a hole specialist. And I can tell you there are no penguins down there.’”

Illustrations use delicate line, warm colours and paper-collage to create a verdant backyard world. Flecks and ridges on colour-stained papers make gorgeous tactile backdrops for sweet and expressive sketches of garden plants, animals and other unearthed objects. In one image, a grubby Roslyn lies spread-eagled in the bottom of her modest-sized hole: “She sighed heavily.” Readers may wonder why Roslyn thinks she could reach China or the South Pole.

In a heartwarming finish, Roslyn’s father peers down on her, ears poking out from her hole: “are you down there? I can hardly see you.” The joyful rewards of imagination are highlighted as the two enjoy a picnic lunch in the new ditch: “Roslyn smiled. She couldn’t wait to meet a penguin.”

  •  

    Discuss the title and cover. What might happen if you dug the “biggest hole on Earth”? Refer to a globe and compare it to the first story illustration.

  •  

    Browse through the book and notice the different visual perspectives (e.g. bird’s-eye view, profile). Why did the illustrator make these choices?

  •  

    List the animals Roslyn disturbs as she digs. What other creatures could be affected? Imagine and act out a scene with Roslyn and one of these creatures.

  •  

    Use a T-chart to sort realistic and unrealistic features of the story.

  •  

    As a class, compose an alternate ending in which Roslyn actually makes it to the South Pole or China.

  •  

    Learn and list new vocabulary from the story (e.g. hole, worm, mole). Add simple pictures to help you remember the meanings.

  •  

    Discuss the title and cover. Make predictions about what might happen.

  •  

    Find your town on a globe and identify the exact opposite location. Considering Roslyn's location, do her predictions make sense?

  •  

    With the support of the illustrations, retell the story orally.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Media Literacy
  • Drama
  • Geography, History and Citizenship