Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead"

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
Written by: Judy Goldman
Illustrated by: René King Moreo
Published by: Boyds Mills Press in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59078-425-9
Genre(s): Picture Book (Multicultural Work)
Reading Level: Grade 2
Activity Level: Grade 2

Summary: This book tells of a young girl’s experience with the day of the dead, one of the celebrations of her people. Her uncle teaches her about the importance of Monarch butterflies to their people. It is the belief that many Hispanics that the souls of the deceased who come back to visit for the Day of the Dead live in those butterflies. As the family is preparing for The Day of The Dead celebration by decorating their homes, their alters, and making a path for the deceased to return the young girl’s uncle is becoming more and more sick and passes away just before the holiday. The celebration is very difficult for the girl because she misses her uncle greatly, but the next day when she sees a Monarch butterfly on the flowers on his grave she is reminded of what he taught her about them and she begins to feel some better because she knows she will see him again.

Response: This book has both a very sweet and very sad storyline. I really liked how the butterfly was the symbol of the uncle throughout the book and how it helped the girl through her sadness.

The illustrations in this book are mostly double-page spreads of vibrant colors typical to works dealing with Hispanic topics. The illustrator using many lines in each illustration and each work appears to be slightly smeared which gives the illustrations much texture.

Teaching Connections: This book can be read to a second grade class to teach them about the Hispanic holiday The Day of the Dead. After reading this book the teacher could begin a lesson on Monarch butterflies and teach the children about them so this book could be incorporated into a science lesson as well.

What Students Learn: From this book and these activities students will learn about the Hispanic holiday The Day of the Dead as well as Monarch butterflies.

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