Written by: D.J. Machale
Illustrated by: Alexandra Bolger
Look at the cover illustration, and read the teaser on the jacket flap. Ask your child to summarize what s/he thinks the book will explore. Ask questions about illustrations and descriptions you see.
A monster princess! What do you think that means? Is it possible to be a monster and a princess?
What are most princesses that we have encountered usually like?
What do you think will happen in this story?
Activate Prior Knowledge
List all of the princesses with whom you are already familiar.
What are they like? Who is your child’s favorite and why?
As You Read
The first time you read a story, consider going through the whole book, and only stopping if your child asks for help with a word. If s/he is reading independently, ask your child to stop when s/he gets to a new word in the story. If you are still working through the story with your child, stop to discuss unfamiliar words on your subsequent readings. Encourage your child to discover the word’s meaning by using the illustrations and the words surrounding it. In addition to context clues, have your child reread the sentence or try to connect the sound of the word to ones s/he already
Ask “Have you seen or heard it before? (For older kids: “Can you discover its meaning by look at the root word, prefix or suffix?”) If not, either give the definition or have your child look the words up in a dictionary or online. Be sure to keep track of your child’s newly acquired vocabulary words by keeping a “Vocabulary Journal” nearby when reading. Examples of new words from The Monster Princess:
As you read, do simple comprehension checks, followed by making connections to your child’s everyday life. For example, “Lala wants so badly to be a princess. Have you ever wanted to be something you’re not?” Or, “How do we know the princesses weren’t kind to Lala? Has anyone ever been unkind to you? How did that make you feel?”
Summarize and Interpret
To ensure comprehension, ask your child about what happened in the book. Who were the main characters, and were the primary places? What happened in the story? Ask your child the following questions to further explore his/her understanding of the book:
What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
What surprised you about The Monster Princess?
Turn to this page when Lala trips and falls at the ball, and then when she goes home to her cave. Then, look at Lala during her later conversations with the princesses. What do you notice about her? Describe the differences between how she looks and likely feels in those different scenes.
Even though the princesses were mean to her earlier in the story, she thinks quickly on her feet and rushes to save them. Why do you think Lala still wants to help the princesses? If you were Lala, would you have done the same thing? Why or why not?
In the end, the other princesses offer to accept Lala as a princess “like us,” but Lala replies, “No, I’m proudly a gnome.” Why do you think Lala has a change of heart and no longer wants to be a princess?
Now that you have read this story, is there anything that you will do or think about differently than before you read it?
Activity: Acrostic Poem
Inspired by: Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits
Supplies: scissors, construction paper, and markers
In the end of the story, Lala decides to remain a monster and comes to love who she is. Remind your child how much you love him/her, so much that you want to write a poem about it! Draw any shape’s outline very big on a piece of construction paper.Have your child write his/her name within the shape, and then cut it out. Starting with the first letter of his/her name, come up with adjectives to describe your child. S/he should lead the brainstorming, but you can help think of creative things. Another twist on this is to have your child ask you and other family members for descriptive words starting with each letter. Then, write those words on strips of paper that hang down from each letter of the name. Now you have an “I love myself” name poem! If you really enjoy this activity, have your child make a name poem for Lala as well!