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Now I've not read Philbrick before. Whatever the matter, I found myself much taken with the syllables that get bandied about in Homer P. First there are the names. Then there are the descriptive sentences. Leach's villainy is pitch perfect, particularly since it is first introduced as "A man so mean he squeezed the good out of the Holy Bible and beat us with it, and swore that God Himself had inflicted me and Harold on him, like he was Job and we was Boils and Pestilence. Like this later passage which reads, "The pungent perfume of the pig is still upon you.

The suffocating scent of the swine exudes from your person. In a word, sir, you stink. In the midst of all this wordsmithing it's probably a temptation to let the language carry the plot and characters with little to no regard for the emotional content. But I like that Philbrick has couched this tale as an emotional quest of sorts. Particularly if you push said hero into a quixotic series of scrapes. I kept sort of expecting our own Homer to go blind at one point, but if Mr. Philbrick ever felt the urge to remove his Homer's sight he did a noble job of repressing that inclination. Instead he builds on Homer and Harold's relationship.

One example comes when Homer thinks about a time when he climbed onto a barn roof when he was younger. But if felt good, too, like I enjoyed testing how much he loved me. I mentioned at the beginning of this review what a novelty it is to find a casual liar like Homer coming out of the North rather than the South.

And when Homer mentions on the very first page that he and his brother won the Battle of Gettysburg, then that he was from Maine on the second, I should have realized the connection. After all, I saw Gettysburg the film when it was in theaters. But it takes an author like Philbrick to put the pieces together for a reader like myself. Pieces he has a clear view of and isn't about to mess up. He doesn't romanticize war any either. At one point Homer makes a mad ride across a field of battle and what follows is an emotionless list of the horrors he witnesses along the way.

Things like "Thirsty men sucking sweat from their woolen sleeves" and "A dead man on his knees with his hands folded, as if to pray. I was also interested to see that Homer mentions historical details that kids don't always get a chance to see in school. Facts like, "when President Lincoln declared that slaves in the Confederacy were free, he didn't dare free the slaves in he Union states like Maryland, Delaware, or Kentucky, in fear the border states might join the rebels.

And of course all historical novels for children grapple with a question that is never easy; How do you deal with terms that are historically accurate and odious to contemporary ears?


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I refer, of course, to "the n-word". Now, to be perfectly honest, there are at least two villains in this book that should be tossing that word back and forth like it's nobody's business. They don't and I admit that this didn't ring untrue to me while reading the book. It was only later that I stopped myself and went back to see how Philbrick dealt with that conundrum.

The answer is that the bad guys say either "slave" or "darky". And there might be some problems with the "d-word" as well, were it not for a good Quaker man who corrects Homer on this point later on.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg Lesson Plans for Teachers

Later Homer also refers to two workers as "Indians" though he acknowledges, "These Indians are from China - similar eyes, but a different tribe. No matter how tough the subject matter or the work, Homer P. Figg is a strong and snappy little novel. Funny and with a plot that keeps moving at a lightning quick pace. Very few readers will find themselves bored by what Philbrick produces here, and many will be caught learning a little something in the process. One of the best of its kind. View all 9 comments. Oct 01, Janessa rated it really liked it Shelves: One of my favorite parts of each day is when I tuck my kids in bed and read to them.

I make the rounds from one bed to the next, with the help of my husband, making sure each child gets a chance to read from his or her own special book. For the last two years, Hunter and I have been reading fantasy novels together. Some have been really fun: At least in my opinion. But Hunter seemed to enjoy them all.

It was absolutely perfect. First of all, the evil nemesis.

Novel Unit for the Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

In True Adventures that antagonist is Squinton Leach. And while he is no sorceror or evil king, the crimes he commits make him just as dangerous. And this is where the next important element begins: Homer escapes from Leach and embarks on an epic-like quest to find his brother, rescue him from the war, and bring him home, wherever that might be — anywhere where Leach is not.

That quest takes Homer on a journey from Maine southward toward the fighting, where he ultimately witnesses the Battle of Gettysburg. On the way he aides in the underground railroad, joins a traveling medicine show, is taken as a prisoner of war, sees hand to hand combat, rides a steamship, a train, and a hot air balloon, and encounters allies and enemies alike.

Throughout it all, Homer maintains that his allegiance lies with himself and his brother. However, and this is where True Adventures departs from the plot of a more traditional fantasy quest, when he finally tracks Harold down, his brother is somewhat of a fallen hero. The black and white, good versus evil construct breaks down and we find ourselves grappling with issues more common to realistic fiction: There is a wonderful element of humor in the book.

Homer has an engaging and entertaining voice, and the lies he tells to manuever his way through his adventures had Hunter and I chuckling. They were brief, but they were somewhat gruesome. However, I felt that sharing those scenes with Hunter was very valuable. First of all, because of the historical accuracy Philbrick treats the subject with.

Second of all, and even more importantly in my opinion, Philbrick shows the human aspect of war and fighting in a profound way that recognizes fear, loss, and pain. Jan 07, Kirby rated it it was amazing. This came in the mail yesterday and since Freak the Mighty is one of my all-time favorite books, I can't wait to read this! Okay -- just finished it last night. What a rollicking Civil War tall tale! There is no way all these things could happen to one person but they could certainly happen to Homer P.

Loved the way Philbrick plunked us right in the time period -- no explanations here! And I loved the Civil War slang glossary at the back. The author wise This came in the mail yesterday and since Freak the Mighty is one of my all-time favorite books, I can't wait to read this! The author wisely chose not to confuse us by using those terms in the text but he won my heart for creating this glossary.

Jun 14, Jen rated it really liked it Shelves: About as light and humorous as a book about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg can be. This book has echoes of Huck Finn and Jack Gantos. Very well done, and I enjoyed it, but it's not really my cup of tea. Feb 10, Eva Mitnick rated it really liked it Shelves: Harold has always looked after Homer, so when Uncle Squint illegally sells him into the Union Army, Homer is determined to find him and bring him back. After Homer runs away, he has three main adventures. During the first, he has a run-in with two nefarious characters year-old Homer and his older brother Harold have been living with or rather slaving for their mean and nasty Uncle Squinton Leach and a finer name for a villain I have rarely come across ever since their beloved mother died.

During the first, he has a run-in with two nefarious characters who have kidnapped a free black man and plan to sell him into slavery down south.

This leads him to a stern but kindly Quaker who after the previous situation has been satisfactorily resolved sends him to New York to find his brother, along with a wispy reverend named Mr. Willow and some funds. During the second adventure, Mr. Willow is bilked of the money by a pair of confidence tricksters, meaning that Homer must set off alone.

During this last adventure, Homer finds his brother — but he is also briefly plunged into the horrors of war. Although Homer tends to tell extravagant fibs at the drop of a hat, he waxes humble and heart-felt when he talks about his older brother, and so the reader really does expect to find a larger-than-life character in Harold. What a disappointment, then, that Harold is just an ordinary fellow who is not only an unsuccessful soldier but whose primary emotion on getting sold to the army was relief to escape from his responsibilities as an older brother.

However, most readers will probably just be glad that the brothers end up safe, sound, and whole well, almost whole. Fast-paced and full of colorful language and eccentric characters, this is a good choice for kids in grade 4 and up. Mar 20, Tami rated it liked it Shelves: He and his older brother Harold, having been orphaned, have been sent to live with their uncle, Mr. Squint is not happy at this turn of events.

He makes the boys sleep in the barn, feeds them very little and requires them to do a great deal of the work on his farm. The story begins when Squint catches Homer eating part of the slops he is to feed to the hogs. A confrontation ensues in which Harold, for the first time, knocks his uncle to the ground. Furious, Homer vows to find his brother before he gets to the War in order to save Harold from being killed by the Confederate Army. He encounters slave catchers, abolitionists, a conductor for the Underground Railroad, a foolish minister, a pair of charlatans who kidnap and imprison Homer in order to rob his companion, a tattooed lady, the owner of a traveling medicine show, Confederate spies and a descendant of Davy Crockett.

He becomes The Amazing Pig Boy, is thrown into a Confederate prison as a Union spy and, in the climax of the story, he is drawn into the decisive Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Along his travels Homer learns what it means to be self-reliant, changes his opinion of slavery and discovers the true horrors of war. For these reasons I would not use this book as a read-aloud selection in a classroom. In general, I would not recommend it for younger than 4th grade. It it, however, a great example of adventure, historical fiction and personal growth for older elementary and middle schoolers.

Teaching The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

May 18, Lauren rated it liked it. A Newbery Honor book, this Civil War tale about a young boy who searches for his brother after their guardian illegally sells him into the army starts off with a bang. Ev A Newbery Honor book, this Civil War tale about a young boy who searches for his brother after their guardian illegally sells him into the army starts off with a bang. By the end, the book is less of a story and more of a checklist to introduce children to the major historical elements of the Civil War.

Since Child Me absolutely abhorred being tricked into history lessons disguised as fun novels even though Child Me was also a nerd who loved history and learning , I finished the book much less enchanted than when I started it. May 24, Taryn rated it it was ok. Figg is a fun and interesting. Nov 03, Kristen Kaufmann Blackton rated it liked it. This was a cute and quick read. The ending, however, was so rushed in comparison with the pace of the rest of the book.

Still, an entertaining read that would be a good companion to a study of parts of American history. Dec 27, Jenna rated it really liked it. I loved this book! Fun tales of adventure, grand schemes and wit. This is perfect for younger ages too, enough fun to keep them from realizing they are learning a little history. And great for adults. This would be a worthy book club pick. I will check out more from this author.

Feb 01, paula rated it really liked it Shelves: Not exactly the comedy I'd kind of been led to expect by the cover and by many reviews - which is neither the book's nor the author's fault. They become shorter as the importance of the character or object declines. This section of the lesson plan contains 30 Daily Lessons.

Daily Lessons each have a specific objective and offer at least three often more ways to teach that objective. Lessons include classroom discussions, group and partner activities, in-class handouts, individual writing assignments, at least one homework assignment, class participation exercises and other ways to teach students about The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg in a classroom setting. You can combine daily lessons or use the ideas within them to create your own unique curriculum. They vary greatly from day to day and offer an array of creative ideas that provide many options for an educator.

Fun Classroom Activities differ from Daily Lessons because they make "fun" a priority. The 20 enjoyable, interactive classroom activities that are included will help students understand The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg in fun and entertaining ways.

Fun Classroom Activities include group projects, games, critical thinking activities, brainstorming sessions, writing poems, drawing or sketching, and countless other creative exercises. Many of the activities encourage students to interact with each other, be creative and think "outside of the box," and ultimately grasp key concepts from the text by "doing" rather than simply studying. Fun activities are a great way to keep students interested and engaged while still providing a deeper understanding of The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg Teaching Guide | Scholastic

Figg and its themes. Students should have a full understanding of the unit material in order to answer these questions. They often include multiple parts of the work and ask for a thorough analysis of the overall text. They nearly always require a substantial response. Essay responses are typically expected to be one or more page s and consist of multiple paragraphs, although it is possible to write answers more briefly.

These essays are designed to challenge a student's understanding of the broad points in a work, interactions among the characters, and main points and themes of the text. But, they also cover many of the other issues specific to the work and to the world today. The 60 Short Essay Questions listed in this section require a one to two sentence answer.

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Figg by describing what they've read, rather than just recalling it. The short essay questions evaluate not only whether students have read the material, but also how well they understand and can apply it. They require more thought than multiple choice questions, but are shorter than the essay questions. Use these questions for quizzes, homework assignments or tests. The questions are broken out into sections, so they focus on specific chapters within The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. This allows you to test and review the book as you proceed through the unit. Typically, there are questions per chapter, act or section.

Use the Oral Reading Evaluation Form when students are reading aloud in class. Pass the forms out before you assign reading, so students will know what to expect. You can use the forms to provide general feedback on audibility, pronunciation, articulation, expression and rate of speech. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Not Enabled Word Wise: Enabled Amazon Best Sellers Rank: Amazon Music Stream millions of songs.

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