Snack on carrots w/Ranch dressing, Hostess cupcakes, and V-8 fruit & veggie juice while discussing the book. Then invent a new pet monster and play charades (like Chester did when he was trying to show the family that the bunny was really a vampire).
All 10 of the registered boys showed up, which for a summer event was pretty awesome. They came accompanied by moms (6), dads (3), and a grandma. We used the same method as last month for discussion. We first went around the room and everyone said what they thought of the book. Some had read it earlier – some of the parents had even read it as kids – and some read it for the first time for this event. The adults really liked it. Most of the kids liked it, and appreciated some of the humor and the characterization, but said that they found it confusing in some places. We talked a little bit about the intro, in which author James Howe explains that when he and his late wife wrote the story, neither of them was a professional writer, much less a children’s writer, and so they just wrote the story the way they would have wanted to read it, adult vocabulary and all. After the large group response, we broke into table groups and I handed out the discussion questions. They had some really great discussions. I cut them off after about 25 minutes, and most were still going strong. The parents did a wonderful job of contributing and getting the kids to contribute. There were 2-3 family groups at each table, and I think the discussion was better with 3 groups than 2. I cut the questions out in advance and put them into envelopes so the groups could just pull out a question to discuss. Unfortunately, I just cut and pasted from the list below, so the questions had numbers before them. Next time, I’ll remember to remove the numbers so it doesn’t look like the questions need to be discussed in any order.
After the discussion, I had the adult-child pairs work together to design a new pet monster. I had some suggested pets and monsters on hand in case anyone got stuck, but they were all able to come up with their own. I had a little recording sheet they could use to name their monster, draw a picture, and describe how they could tell their pet was really a monster. After about 15 minutes, they took turns sharing their creations. Among other things, there was Voldepig (Voldemort guinea pig), Zompig (zombie guinea pig), Werekoala (illustrated in frightening detail by an enthusiastic dad), and Darth Squirrel.
We ended up not having time for charades, but everyone had a really good, low key time. There was a nice amount of socializing for both kids and parents. I ran out of cupcakes AND carrots, although they were a little less enthusiastic about the V-8 fruit & veggie juice.
Next month – The Houdini Box!
- Is Bunnicula really a vegetable vampire? What evidence from the book convinced you? Why do you think the authors left the answer open-ended?
- Does it matter if Bunnicula really is a vegetable vampire? Do you think anyone is in danger? Does he need to be stopped?
- Chester and Harold understand human speech and can read and write. If you had a pet that was as intelligent as they are, what questions might your pet have about what goes on in your household?
- Why do you think the authors made Chester and Harold able to speak, but not Bunnicula?
- Has there ever been a time when you knew something bad was going to happen and no one believed you? If that happened to you, what would you do? How would you try to get people to understand and listen to you?
- Have you ever had an enemy who turned out to be a friend? What happened and how did you overcome your differences?
Bunnicula 80s cartoon (You Tube)
Possible activity: pull an animal, a classic villain, and (possibly) a prop, and have the kids create a quick story about how that animal was mistaken for that villain. Or, create the animal-villain hybrid name and the build the actual creature out of cardboard boxes, tubes, etc. (Great minds think alike, huh, teachervision?)
There are some good discussion questions on the ISLMA Bunnicula Guide
Some more good discussion questions on the Theatre Works Discussion Guide