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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Activity Guide by

Kathleen Pelley Š 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

One of the many things I love about good stories is that they can provide a space in our hectic busy lives to simply PAUSE and PONDER some truth, some beauty, or some new way of looking at the world. Each month I will invite you to join me as I PAUSE and PONDER upon the story I have just read.

The Wild Boy Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

PAUSE and PONDER … Why I love this story? For me, this tale evokes a profound sense of wonder on many levels: a wonder at the natural world that is depicted here so tenderly by Gerstein’s images and sparse text; a wonder at the human condition when we learn how Victor survived alone in the wild for so long; and a wonder at the bond that is forged between Dr. Itard and this wild boy who is shunned by the rest of society. Newberry medalist author, Katherine Paterson, maintains that there is a wonder behind and beyond a story, which is the meaning of the story that “ties us to the mystery of the meaning of our lives and of all creation.” Gerstein ends this story with the doctor’s words, “I wonder.” What a beautiful gift – a moment where we can pause and ponder at our place in this world, where we can contemplate and marvel at the mystery of the human condition that truly is “beyond measure.”

Souvenirs from the story A sliver of sadness, knowing that Victor never did learn how to speak or tell of his time in the wild, and a whiff of wonder at the lines, “Victor took the doctor’s hand and covered his own eyes and forehead with it and held it there, without moving, for a long while. They sat like this for an hour sometimes, and then the doctor would kiss him and say goodnight,”

Emotional/Universal Truth What is an emotional truth? Any editor will tell you that a common weakness of many picture book manuscripts is that it is “too trite.” In other words, it will not withstand multiple readings, because it is too one dimensional and lacks a universal, emotional truth. It is NOT a lesson, a moral, or a message!

© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Rather it is a simple truth, woven seamlessly throughout the story -some truth about love, hope, pain, joy, or home that a child can understand and connect with. I like to think of it as that whiff of wonder, that bolt of beauty that lingers with you, long after the last page is turned or the final word uttered. Why should this universal truth matter so much to the read-aloud quality of a picture book? “The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.” Doris Lessing Truth connects us to one another, to our ancestors, and to the world around us. Good books and stories are all about connections. When we read a story aloud to a child – a story that truly touches us at the very core of our being with its beauty and its truth, then, we will naturally breathe our own life and love into those words as we read them aloud. (Notice how life and spirit, breath and voice are all connected). And, in turn, those words will seep into the little listener’s heart, making her or him feel brave or bold, calm or kind, happy or hopeful. “Adult books maintain lives; children’s books change lives.” Yolen The “truth” of this story: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” (Unknown) This story reminds us, I think, that all of us have a little of the “wild” in us, and that we are all mystery “beyond measure.”

What souvenir and what “truth” I wonder, will you and your children take from this story?

The following discussion questions and activities are designed for use either with a parent and a child, or with a teacher and her class or a small group. Most of the discussion questions are suited for children ages 6-8, but could be adapted for use with younger children too.

- Kathleen Pelley

© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Discussion Questions 1. In what country does this story take place? (France) 2. What does it mean to be “wild” (uncivilized) 3. Is it good or bad? 4. What do you think you would like about living like Victor – free and wild? 5. What would you not like? 6. Why would Victor not sleep in a bed after he was captured? 7. How do you think the scientists and scholars treated him? 8. How was Dr. Itard different? 9. What did Dr. Itard teach Victor to do? (read, spell, dress, feed himself, and play) 10. What could he never teach him to do? (talk) 11. Why not? (had been alone too long) 12. When Victor took runs in the country, he went “wild with joy.” What does that mean? Have you ever done anything that made you “wild with joy?” Discuss. 13. “Victor always had something of the wild in him.” What does that mean? 14. Do you think we all have something of the “wild” in us? 15. Dr. Itard wondered what Victor saw when he looked up at the moon. What do you wonder about?

© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Story Characters Draw the people in the boxes below. Then write a sentence about them. Choose from:

Dr. Itard Madame Guerin Victor scientists and scholars

The Cleverest

Š 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Story Characters (Cont.) Draw the people in the boxes below. Then write a sentence about them. The Kindest

The Meanest

Š 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Story Characters (Cont.) Draw the people in the boxes below. Then write a sentence about them.

The Character You Most Want to Be

Word Scramble Unscramble the words… 1. Victor’s body was covered with _ _ _ _ _ (rsasc) 2. Victor had no _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (drefins) 3. People thought he was deaf and _ _ _ _ (utme) 4. Victor felt no _ _ _ _ (niap) 5. Dr. Itard taught Victor to _ _ _ _ (arde) and _ _ _ _ _ (retiw) and _ _ _ _ (aply)

© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Crisscross Words Use the clues below to complete the crossword.

1 2 3

4

5

Across

Down

2. French word for milk

1. They took Victor to this city in France.

4. Victor loved to eat these.

3. Men who captured Victor.

5. Madame Guerin's dress was made of this.

4. Victor loved this.

Š 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

ART Activity E. B. White – author of Charlotte’s Web said, “All I want to say in books, all I ever wanted to say, is I love the world.”

Victor loves many things about the world – the wind, the snow, the moon, the icy streams of water to drink.

Cut out the picture of the globe below (or make your own) Have children write out on strips of card three things that they love about the world, e.g., I love the smell of wet grass. Or I love splashing in puddles. Pin to the globe and display on a wall (or in classroom).

© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

Answer Key Word Sramble 1. scars 2. friends 3. mute 4. pain 5. read, write and play Crisscross Puzzle 1. 2. 3. 4.

Paris Lait Hunters Across – walnuts Down – wind 5. velvet 1 P 2 l

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3 h

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4 w

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© 2014 Kathleen Pelley

KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com

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Kathleen Pelley: The Wild Boy Activity Guide  

Activity Guide with Answer Key that complements Kathleen Pelley's Readaloud of the book The Wild Boy written and illustrated by by Mordicai...

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