Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

When Charley Met Grampa

Hest, Amy (Author)
Oxenbury, Helen (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2013. 36 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780763653149 (hardcover)
9780763670948 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, setting, structures and features

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:

Told in the voice of young Henry, the story skillfully portrays the excitement of Grampa’s arrival: “It’s two long blocks and two short blocks from my house to the station. ‘Wait till you meet Grampa,’ I told Charley, and he danced in the wind and his ears blew back.”

Realistic scenes in sensitive line and watercolour details show cozy village life. Henry pulls a wooden sleigh through falling snow. The train station windows glow butter-yellow under a snow-laden roof. Spot illustrations beautifully depict the expressive body language of the family dog.

The excitement—and uncertainties—of new relationships are conveyed in both language and image: “Now, about that dog. Is he friendly or fierce?” Charley’s head droops when he learns that “Grampa doesn’t know how to be friends with a dog.”

In the end, the welcoming perseverance of child and animal bring Grampa into the fold. The final image shows Grampa snoring in bed, with little Charley’s chin resting on his shoulder. This sweet and highly accomplished book makes excellent winter-season reading.

  •  

    Look at the title and cover illustration, and predict what the story will be about. What does the suitcase tell you?

  •  

    Henry loves his dog Charley and talks about him as if describing a human being. Find examples of Henry attributing human characteristics to his dog.

  •  

    Henry has to wait a very long time for his grandfather. Write about a time when you had to wait a considerable amount of time for something and were happy that you did.

  •  

    Note the structures and features of letter writing as Henry and his grandfather write to each other. Use these as models to write your own letter to a friend, family member or pen pal, or a thank-you letter to someone who has done something kind for you.

  •  

    Look at the title and cover illustration and predict what the story will be about. What questions come to mind?

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Discuss the various settings and the emotions expressed by the characters.

  •  As the book is read aloud, compare and contrast your predictions with the story.
  •  

    As a group, use the information in the book to identify the qualities of a good friend, adding your own ideas as well. Note them on a class anchor chart. Make a character map that highlights the qualities of one of your friends, or write a note to them explaining what you like about them.

  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture