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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum (original 1991; edition 2007)

by Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)

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3,4542201,555 (4.39)8
Authors:Kevin Henkes
Other authors:Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
Info:Greenwillow Books
Collections:Your library
Tags:Chrysanthemum, Victoria, flower, teasing, nickname, identity

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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (1991)


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This is a book about a little mouse named Chrysanthemum, who grows up loving her name, until she goes to school. The other students tease her all day long every day at school for having such a unique named. Every day, she puts up with the other mice ridiculing her for her name, and every evening, her parents give her love and support and reassure her that her name (and everything else about her) are "perfect." Finally, the music teacher tells the class that her first name is Delphinium, and that she's named after a flower, just like Chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemum feels better about her name, and all the other mice think that her name is cool.
This book is a good example of family support. Chrysanthemum's parents support her through her rough start to school and they do a lot to help her. On one page, you can see her father reading a book called "A Rose by Any Other Name...Understanding Identity." It's a way of reassuring kids that even though kids at school may tease you, you have people who love and cherish you. ( )
  hphipp2 | Dec 7, 2014 |
I would use this book to introduce the meaning of bullying to my classroom. It teaches us that words can hurt people's feelings. Children can learn to acknowledge and reconsider their comments before they express them to the group or to a classmate.
  emilystrong | Nov 30, 2014 |
I would use this story to teach problem and solution to strengthen comprehension.There is a lot of bullying that occurs in this book, and I could teach how the other students were making Chrysanthemum sad. Great book to use for the readers response portion of a reading lesson. ( )
  Spinea1 | Nov 29, 2014 |
Chrysanthemum feels she has the perfect name until she goes to school. This book covers some tough issues that children will experience in some form or fashion as they grow up. Chrysanthemum starts school with confidence and love of her name. Each day her fellow students would crush the pride she had in her name. At the end of the day, Chrysanthemum would go home to her parents who would help her rebuild the pride in her name. Ms. Twinkle, the music teacher, reveals that that she has the same name as a flower. Ms. Twinkle makes Chrysanthemum blush and the other students envious when she reveals that she will name her unborn child Chrysanthemum. With the help of her parents and teacher, Chrysanthemum made it through the difficulties of her childhood. ( )
  ecollado | Nov 26, 2014 |
One of my favorite children's book, Chrysanthemum is a great book for young readers. It teaches the reader how important it is to be who you are, and that you are perfect (including your name) just the way you are. It also is a great book to teach about bullying and why it is wrong to tease other people.
My favorite thing about this book has to be the overall message, which is about being who you are and not letting other people bring you down. At the end of the book, the last page reads "she no longer thought her name was perfect, she knew it was." Through the whole story, the main character Chrysanthemum was teased because of her name. Although her parents would remind her how "absolutely-perfect" her name is, she did not believe it because of the other kids in school. However, she learned at the end that her name is perfect in every way, including the perfect name for her.
Another thing I like about this book is the authors repetitiveness in his use of text. Twice in the book, the antagonist (Victoria) points out flaws in Chrysanthemum's name, such as how long it is or that she is named after a flower. Both times the teacher responds the same way, "Thank you for sharing that with us Victoria. Now put your head down." This technique is also used when Victoria returns home from school on her first and second day. She is sad that the other children make fun of her, stating that "school is no place for me." Her parents then comfort her and remind her how "absolutely perfect" her name truly is.
The only thing I was not a huge fan of was the illustrations. Maybe it was I am an adult and the book was made for children, but the scenes just seemed to bounce around sometimes. I had a few moments where I was unsure what the center of focus was intended to be by the author, such as in the classroom picture. I feel that Chrysanthemum's name should have not been the very last but in the middle so the reader could see how long and out of place it was compared to everyone else's. Being the last name on the page in the bottom right, it seemed out of place. I'm sure there was a reason for this, I'm just so unsure as to what it is or if I agree with it. ( )
  Andrewturner | Nov 19, 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.
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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)

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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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