One activity I like to do with often with my kiddos is to have them write about the "rules" that a certain author follows. For example, with Dr. Seuss you find rhyming words, very make-believe characters and often times a message. After that I will ask them what would happen if another author wrote that book-what details would change? It is a challenging way to make them think!
This class has been a big fan of Neil Gaiman. We read Coraline at Halloween and since then we've discovered some new favorites including:
My kids loved reading this book. There is some complaint from reviewers that the ending is a little scary because the girl ends up getting sucked up into his hair-but my kids loved it. When I was little my sister and I spent a week at Girl Scout camp. That whole week my sister never brushed her hair that was long enough to sit on--that is the connection I made with this story. Heaven only knows what you would have found in her hair! :)
Anyway, so we were reading Because of Winn-Dixie and I asked my students to tell me what would change if Neil Gaiman had written this story. I thought the one who got it really got it!
The girl would be the dog and the story would say "Because of the Girl".
Gloria would lie about the things she did wrong.
Some [parts] will be scary and some will be funny.
Because a big portal [would open] and all the people will come.
Probably if he wrote it he could write they got lost.
Instead of walking into a store she can walk into a pear.
Now this is my little loquacious writer. Basically the gist is the "ghosts" they hear turn out to be real ghosts and they have to hide in a port-a-potty--they held their breath! :)