Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Time for Flowers, Time for Snow: A Retelling of the Legend of Demeter and Persephone

Huser, Glen (Author)
Béha, Philippe (Illustrator)
Tradewind Books 2013. 48 pages + 1 CD
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781896580265 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 398.2
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Folklore

Text Elements:

character, multigenre, multimedia, multimodal, recurring patterns

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:

Poetry and prose combine to retell this Greek myth about the origins of the seasons. Lengthy verses convey the stormy emotions of bereaved Demeter, love-struck Hades and beloved Persephone: “I’ve called your name throughout the night;/The empty day, the long twilight.”

The prose offers dialogue and wit, such as when messenger-god Hermes tries to reason with Hades: “‘it could be that you got off on the wrong foot … Kidnapping isn’t exactly a tried-and-true first step in winning a woman’s heart.’ ‘I’m a god! I decide the foot I’ll use!’”

Illustrations recall works by Chagall and Picasso, with flying figures in saturated colours. One composition shows red Hades and blue Persephone, their figures joined to create a table laden with sumptuous dishes. In another, green and gold portray Demeter’s joy at the return of her daughter—and the return of spring for mortals.

Sophisticated readers will appreciate the nuanced and tender portrayal of young love, as Hades learns to let go, and Persephone finds that she wishes to stay, at least some of the time. The final image shows a blend of warm and cool colours: “A time for flowers and a time for snow.”

Included is a CD of the opera performed by over 180 Québec students.

  •  

    With teacher guidance, view some of the promotional materials for this project, available on an online video streaming site. Discuss the process of creating the book and CD. What important roles did the adults and students have?

  •  

    On a picture walk, make predictions and inferences about the characters and plot.

  •  

    Doodle and draw a mind map of the story while you listen to the accompanying CD. Use these “notes” to retell the story as a group. Did your predictions match the actual story?

  •  

    Using teacher-selected resources, explore other Greek myths. Work in a group to create a Reader's Theatre performance in a similar style.

  •  The illustrations and music complement the narrative text and impact the reading experience. The conventions of multimodal and multigenre narratives can be explored along with the use of author’s craft in both the poetic and narrative texts.
  •  

    In small groups, discuss the use of illustrations, music, poetry and narrative. How do these elements work together? How do they affect the reading experience?

  •  

    Use the information gathered from readings and discussions, and along with other multimodal narrative texts, outline a production process for the creation of multimodal narrative texts.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you already know about Greek mythology. Using teacher-selected resources, explore some of the characters. Discover what their roles are and how they are related. Draw a mind map of the information found.

  •  

    After listening to the story on the CD, discuss it as a group. Where do the characters fit in your mind map? Sequence the story with the characters. Find a way to distinguish between what happens in the underworld and the world above.

  •  

    Discuss how Hades chooses to court Persephone. How does it compare to courting today?

  •  

    Find the poem that starts with “Eat a bite, my precious.” Discuss how this food would appeal to you. Investigate any unfamiliar foods. Create a new menu you could use to court someone you like. Include some of the foods from the text.

  •  

    What do you know about the following characters in Greek mythology: Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, Persephone, Pan, Charon, Cerberus, Helios, Hermes? Using teacher-selected resources, research the characters for whom there is little collective knowledge.

  •  

    As you listen to the CD, take notes by drawing pictures, filling in a graphic organizer or writing comments. Use both illustrations and poetry to construct meaning. Use your notes to orally retell the story as a group. Help each other fill in the gaps.

  •  

    Discuss how Hades courts Persephone. How does it compare to dating today? List similarities and differences. Discuss the role of Persephone’s parents in the development of their daughter’s relationship with Hades. Again, compare Persephone’s experience with dating today.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Drama
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Music