Miss Earth (teacher) Lives! 3rd grade library classes with K.White, librarian
Seven Spiders Spinning (The Hamlet Chronicles) by Gregory Maguire
Recognize the author’s name? Yes, it’s THE Gregory Maguire, the author of The Wicked Years, a four-book series including Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz—all New York Times bestsellers. Wicked: The Musical is based on these books.
Maguire’s novels are revisionist retellings of children’s stories (such as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked)! He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987, he co-founded Children’s Literature New England. (HarperCollins)
“What happens when seven deadly Siberian Snow Spiders from before the dawn of time invade a contemporary classroom in rural Vermont? Bedlam, and one of the funniest, creepiest, ickiest middle-grade books ever written! ‘Demon spiders, lover spiders, greedy spiders, sensitive spiders—they all go on heroic quests that get entangled in classroom rivalries and local soap operas. . . . Everything is part of the comic brew, from the nightly news and Spidergate to Dracula, The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte’s Web and Little Miss Muffet. A fast, delightfully entertaining romp.”
Notable Children’s Books of 1995 (ALA)
As we finished the last page, we gathered to discuss this delightful book over treats that relate to the story. Students reviewed the story and shared their favorite parts. Fortunately, since the book is part of a series (The Hamlet Chronicles), they can continue to read about Miss Earth and her class. Each student had various roles to perform. They loved the dramatic play and really got involved with their parts. Dramatic play helps students understand the characters and story as well as adding fun to library classes. In addition, we loved singing and acting out the “scary” songs included in the story!
Novels can help teach research skills. For example, when reading Seven Spiders Spinning we:
- Used map and geography skills to research Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Vermont and Massachusetts
- Used encyclopedias and other resources to learn about Vikings and spiders
- Reviewed literary genres and learned about epic poems