Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Branch

Pratt, Pierre (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2016. 32 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781771385640 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

figurative language, setting

Award

Governor General’s Literary Award – Finalist – 2016

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:

Gorgeous images in ink help convey this clever and heartwarming story about loss and change. First-person language anchors the tale in a childlike perspective. “I dream that I am wearing a crown of icicles. My tree is my castle. My branch is my throne. I am the Queen of the storm!”

The backdrop of the community, as it repairs ice-storm damage, adds richness to the girl’s personal drama. One spread shows ice-coated trees ingeniously depicted with washes and strokes of blue and white and the black flecks of tree bark. A man contemplates a massive branch that’s fallen across his car. Colours grow warmer as Mr. Frank and the girl make something new with her own fallen branch. Spot images show them planing, sanding and drilling as the weather grows mild again.

In the final images, lush greens of springtime underscore the story’s message of rebirth and transformation, as Mr. Frank installs their mysterious project in the tree (“It wasn’t just a branch… It was my castle, my spy base, my ship...”). The ending comforts through a sense of continuity, as the little girl plays on her old branch/new swing: “It still is!”

  •  Look at some teacher-selected images of ice storms in Quebec. Discuss the causes and effects.
  •  

    Do a picture walk of the story. Make connections between the images you looked at in the previous activity and the book’s depictions of the ice storm and its effects.

  •  

    As you read, note the descriptive language. Incorporate some of the words and phrases into a short poem about an ice storm.

  •  

    Draw and write to show some of the different things a branch could be transformed into.

  •  

    Make predictions about the story based on the cover, and add ideas as you go on a picture walk. As the text is read aloud, compare and contrast your predictions with the author’s text.

  •  

    Describe an ice storm. Discuss its impact in terms of meteorology, transportation, workforce, people and pets. Draw a mind map to illustrate your way of thinking.

  •  

    Name the tools you see on Mr. Frank's workshop page. What other kinds of workshops are there (for a chef, tailor, artist, etc.)? In small teams, research the equipment found in a specific workshop and create a vocabulary anchor chart.

  •  

    Think about a precious project you did with someone close to you. What steps did you need to take? Are they similar to those of Mr. Frank and the girl? Share in small groups.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities