Monday, July 12, 2010

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet
Title: The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet    
Author: Erin Dionne  
Publication Date: 2010  
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel  
Summary: Hamlet is your average girl starting 8th grade - except that her genius, little sister, Dezzie is also going to 8th grade at Hamlet's school - and she's only 7.  She has to help her get to her classes and figure out how to handle middle school.  To make everything worse, Hamlet's teachers decide to do a unit on Shakespeare and Hamlet doesn't want anything to do with Shakespeare since her parents are both professors of Shakeaspeare.  It all makes starting 8th grade a little crazy for Hamlet!  
What I Think: I found myself having flashbacks to middle school...which I think shows that author has a good grasp on writing a character in middle school.  Besides having to deal with her little sister and her parents, Hamlet struggles with finding who she is while also uncovering who her secret admirer is.  There are crushes and mean girls besides tutor sessions and school projects.  I had fun reading this book! 
Read Together: 5 - 8   
Read Alone: 5 - 8   
Read With: When Zachary Beaver Came To Town by Kimberly Willis Holt; Hoot by Carl HiaasenFlipped by Wendelin Van Draanen; Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne; The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato 
Snatch of Text: "I hadn't figured out a way to stop time, join the circus, or make myself invisible.  I hadn't been able to contract a serious (but not life-threatening) illness, change my identify, or get into the witness protection program.  I hadn't even been able to talk my mother into staying home or waiting in the car.
     Instead, I had to follow Mom - dressed like an Elizabethan-era superhero with purple velvet cloak billowing and bells a'tinkling - down the hall.  I had to escort my sister to the main office.  I had to act like this was normal.
     I had to start eighth grade."  p. 1 


"'I am intrigued by the type of sociological observation I will have the opportunity to interpret while here,' Dezzie said as we made our way to the second level.  'I know I am in need of social development, but I am not sure how to behave as part of such a large group of pre-adolescents.'
     'Is this your way of saying that you're nervous?'  I asked, surprised.  It never occurred to me that always-together Dezzie would be nervous about anything." p.10
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Story Elements - Characters, Visualizing  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Characterization, Dialogue   
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you were embarrassed.  Create a character and use dialogue to show how old he or she is, what time period he or she lives in, how much education he or she has had - brainstorm what phrases your character might use.  
Topics Covered: Family, Friends, Challenges, Doing Your Best, Individuality, Confidence, Feelings, Integrity, Loyalty   
Translated to Spanish: No
 

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