Our book club this month involved a Kate DiCamillo novel, strawberry mice, some illegal soup, and a moat.
My youngest, who is 8, is in a book club based on books that are in the Brave Writer Arrow curriculum. These are classic books that appeal to, not only new readers but readers of all ages. This month we chose a book with a French flair. Welcome to our Tale of Despereaux Book Club.
Welcome to Castle Dor
The children arrived at “Castle Dor” via a drawbridge. We decorated our front door with stone and wood paper. A- made paper chains from construction paper and my husband found a climbing wall from the swing set to use for the drawbridge. It was pretty cool, with the exception of the moment it all ripped down and I had to frantically tape it back up before the first guest arrived.
Inside, they were escorted to the main dining hall where they feasted on “mice and cheese.”
The mice were strawberries with almond sliver ears, black gel icing eyes and nose, and a chocolate icing tail. We cut the cheese into triangles and made holes using the end of a round icing tip.
The Tale of Despereaux Book Club Discussion
While the children snacked, we discussed the book. The Tale of Despereaux is a novel about a mouse, a rat, a servant girl, and a princess. A- loved it and insisted on reading all 52 chapters aloud. The other kids liked it a lot, too. Honestly, I thought a book that long with such rich vocabulary would turn some of the kids off. But, it didn’t. They enjoyed the different stories as they merged into the main storyline.
Tale of Despereaux Book Club Activities
An important part of the book is a story about the criminalization of soup – soup, soup spoons, soup bowls, soup crocks. All of it is illegal. So, I decided to teach the kids how to make soup. In this case, it was vegetable soup.
The kids learned peeling and chopping skills. They were super excited to get a chance to use their new knife skills on the potatoes and carrots. So much so, that they chopped a 10-pound bag of potatoes before I could stop them. We very nearly had potato soup.
While the soup simmered, the kids watched the movie The Tale of Despereaux. Though I was informed it wasn’t as good as the book, they were entertained. By this time the “pièce de résistance” was ready, and it was time to eat. Each child received a copy of the recipe to take home.
The kids loved cooking and were very proud of their new skills. Have you taught your children to cook? What’s their favorite meal?