Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mysteryby James Howe
Illustrated by Alan Daniel
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To Purchase this book click on the cover.
This is the humorous story of a cat and dog who become convinced that the new pet in the family is a vampire bunny! Look at the enrichment activities we've created for you and the other resources below:
- A PET'S STORY. . . "My Life With Humans"
The animals in Bunnicula have human characteristics. They can think and talk and read! Imagine that your pet could talk. Create a story about your family from your pet's point of view. First, think about some of the interesting things your family does that would make your story funny. If you have more than one pet, you could have your pets talk to each other in dialogue. If you don't have a pet, let one of your dolls or stuffed animals tell a story about your family. Remember to have your pet describe you! Use a graphic organizer to help you think about each member of the family your pet will describe. Include their age, what they look like, their likes and dislikes, personality traits, good and bad habits and something about how the human relates to the pet telling the story (examples: "She never feeds me," "He calls me a fleabag").
Hint: Use a graphic organizer for this activity. A dog or cat in the center with thinking bubbles for the child to write about each family member will help the students be organized in their writing.
- IT'S ALL IN A NAME
Bunnicula's name was created by combining "Bunny" and "Dracula." Combine some other animal names and monsters to create your own weird creature. Illustrate your monster and then build your monster out of craft materials, junk, boxes, bags, etc. Be sure that both parts of the name are represented.
Materials: Construction paper, art materials, aluminum foil, paper grocery bags, large boxes, paper-towel rolls, assorted recycled materials.
- MYSTERY NIGHT
Be a Super Sleuth! Create your own mystery, complete with characters, crime, and clues! Act it out for another group, so they can try solving your mystery. To get started, parents or teachers might write a scene on a 3x5 card. Then a team could create the skit from the suggestion (this would avoid a mystery with violence.) You might read a partial story to the teams and have each one write different endings or solutions to the mystery. Chris Van Allsburg's book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, has great story-starters.
- PUZZLE IT OUT
Create your own fun night! Bring games and puzzles that require problem solving. Set up stations and set your Junior Sleuths to work. You might include "Clue," an oldie but goodie. You might have kids brainstorm lots of words that have to do with mysteries, then put them into a word search (crime, detective, clue, investigation, etc.) Bring all kinds of puzzles: jigsaw, 3-D, word puzzles, and manipulative puzzles.
- DRACULA Fact or Fiction?
Provide resources for research to find out about Dracula. Was he a real person? How much of the legend is fact or fiction?
- USE YOUR SENSES
Here's an idea to help the Junior Sleuths use their senses for investigation. Collect a variety of substances to smell in small jars or ziplock bags. Number each bag. Give the kids a sheet of paper with the numbers on it and a blank next to each number. As they sniff each bag, have them identify the substance (cinnamon, pepper, soap, crayons). They should not be able to see the substance, so blindfold the kids or cover the containers with paper.
Next, test their sense of taste and be sure all the items you use are edible! Check beforehand for allergies to peanut butter or any other food products (chocolate, peanut butter, fluff, jello, fruit, etc.) Put items in little containers and use a plastic spoon as each item is tested. Again, the students need to be blindfolded!
Then, the sense of touch. Put a variety of items in individual bags. Label the bags with numbers. Kids reach in and feel each item. Be creative, but avoid sharp edges. (Suggestions: calculator, paperclip, rubber ducky)
Record some sounds around the house and see if the kids can detect what they hear. (Suggestions: running water, the clothes dryer, someone typing on the computer, electric hair dryer)
You can elaborate on this activity according to your particular group. You might also test their powers of observation by asking an adult to enter your classroom who is wearing something that is not quite right or normal. After the person leaves the room, see if the students noticed what was different about the visitor's clothing (suggestions: mismatched earrings, mismatched socks, something buttoned the wrong way). See if the kids can recall what the person was wearing that was different. You can also move something in the classroom and then ask the students if they know what's different in the room.
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