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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
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Chrysanthemum (original 1991; edition 2007)

by Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,206None1,729 (4.41)6
Member:alissabecker
Title:Chrysanthemum
Authors:Kevin Henkes
Other authors:Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
Info:Greenwillow Books
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Chrysanthemum, Victoria, flower, teasing, nickname, identity

Work details

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (1991)

acceptance (77) animals (57) back to school (61) beginning of the year (27) bullies (25) bullying (133) children (47) children's (47) family (56) fantasy (36) feelings (89) fiction (167) first day of school (46) flower (24) flowers (54) friends (43) friendship (72) Henkes (37) identity (44) Kevin Henkes (95) mice (94) mouse (45) name (46) names (287) picture book (239) read aloud (35) respect (39) school (242) self-esteem (112) teasing (113)
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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
I liked the book “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes for three reasons. First, the writing in the book is engaging and relatable to students who may feel uncomfortable in school or embarrassed by something. For example, while Chrysanthemum feels embarrassed about her name, other students may feel embarrassed about their appearance. Second, the illustrations style fits the written text and allows students to visualize Chrysanthemums struggle. This is shown on Chrysanthemum’s first day of school when she notices that everyone has short names. The illustrations show each student and their names, which allow readers to get a great visualization. Lastly, while Chrysanthemum is a mouse with unrealistic characteristics her situation is believable and she is well developed. For example, she has characteristics like a kindergarten student, she is excited to go to school and meet friends. The main message in this story is to love everything about yourself and have pride for you are. ( )
  rschin1 | Apr 10, 2014 |
I like this book for 4 reasons. First, the language in this book is very repetitive. Chrysanthemum is a difficult word for young children to read or say, but the story repeats it often. It also repeats the same concept of Chrysanthemum going to school, being ridiculed, and coming home thinking her name is not “absolutely perfect” but rather “absolutely dreadful.” Second, I really like the focus that Kevin Henkes places on family in this book. Since Chrysanthemum is shown going home very upset from being bullied in school and feeling better after spending time with her family, children learn that home is a safe place. Third, this book offers a lot more information for children to learn beyond just the central message. This book introduces a good amount of new vocabulary and each time that the know-it-all student talks before naptime, she teaches the reader something specific. For example, she announces that Chrysanthemum’s name has 13 letters which is about half of the alphabet and explains exactly what a Chrysanthemum is. Fourth, the central message of this book is excellent. It teaches children to love and accept themselves and not to care what other people think. This is such an important lesson for children to learn, and it is good that they learn it at a young age. ( )
  kfield9 | Apr 10, 2014 |
I absolutely loved the book "Chrysanthemum!" First, the writing is engaging because it is organized and flows well. This is because the plot is relatable to young children who may be self-conscious. I absolutely loved the characters because they are believable. For example, “School is no place for me! I am named after a flower.” Students can relate to Chrysanthemum. The pictures of Chrysanthemum, her classmates, and family also are perfect for style of the story. The big idea of this book is loving yourself for who you are. ( )
  esiera1 | Apr 10, 2014 |
I really liked this book. I really liked it because the illustrations were simple, yet engaging. I also like how the author uses the name Chrysanthemum as a symbol for special beauty and perfection. This is demonstrated right in the beginning of the story when Chrysanthemum's parents name their daughter this because they think that she is perfect. It is shown again, at the end of the story, when Chrysanthemum's teacher exclaims that she loves her name and what it represents. The main idea of this story is that it is okay to be different, embrace it. ( )
  jsanfi1 | Apr 9, 2014 |
I thought Chrysanthemum was a really cute book, and I enjoyed reading it for two reasons. The first reason I liked this book is because of the appropriate language used, specifically how some words and phrases were repeated throughout the story. For example, "She did not think her name was absolutely perfect. She thought it was absolutely dreadful," and “Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum” are phrases that are repeated various times, so much that young children could begin guessing the next words and reading along. In addition, the word “scarce” is repeated many times throughout the book, which is most likely an unfamiliar word to students. Once they learn the definition the first time it is in the text, it will stick in their head because it is used various times, expanding their vocabulary. The second reason I liked this book is because of the overall theme and how relatable it is to students. Chrysanthemum is made fun of in school for her long and unique name. By the end of the book, thanks to her teacher, Chrysanthemum learns to love her name and other students want to be named after flowers as well. The majority of students can relate to being embarrassed about something about themselves, so this book makes a lot of real life connections and shows students that unique doesn’t always have to mean embarrassing. I would definitely use this book in my future classroom to ease anxiety of bullied students and curb future bullying. The main idea of this story is to accept and love yourself for who you are. ( )
  apetru5 | Apr 9, 2014 |
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The day she was born was the happiest day in her parents' lives.
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Book description
My favorite of all the MANY Kevin Henkes books I've read recently, Chrysanthemum is the story of a little girl mouse who believes that her name is perfect... until some nasty girls at school tell her differently. Henkes resolves the story beautifully -- with a teacher who also has a long flower name -- and is sensitive throughout to the hurt that Chrysanthemum feels. Henkes' child protagonists are always supported and always found to be in the right, and the resolution always comes in a way that isn't mean-spirited.

A wonderful, comforting book for young children, with enough clever asides in the illustrations to keep parents engaged as well.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688147321, Paperback)

Until Chrysanthemum started kindergarten, she believed her parents when they said her name was perfect. But on the first day of school, Chrysanthemum begins to suspect that her name is far less than perfect, especially when her class dissolves into giggles upon hearing her name read aloud. That evening, Chrysanthemum's parents try to piece her self-esteem back together again with comfort food and a night filled "with hugs, kisses, and Parcheesi." But the next day Victoria, a particularly observant and mean-spirited classmate, announces that Chrysanthemum's name takes up 13 letters. "That's half the letters in the alphabet!" she adds. Chrysanthemum wilts. Pretty soon the girls are making playground threats to "pluck" Chrysanthemum and "smell her."

Kevin Henkes has great compassion for the victims of childhood teasing and cruelties--using fresh language, endearing pen-and-ink mouse characters, and realistic dialogue to portray real-life vulnerability. He also has great compassion for parents, offering several adult-humor jokes for anxious mommies and daddies. On the surface, the finale is overly tidy and the coincidences unbelievable. But in the end, what sustains Chrysanthemum, as well as this story, is the steadfast love and support of her family. And because of this, the closure is ultimately convincing and utterly comforting. ALA Notable Book, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Horn Book Fanfare Honor List. (Ages 4 to 8) --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it.

(summary from another edition)

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