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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum (original 1991; edition 2007)

by Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6192411,458 (4.39)9
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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Chrysanthemum was a fun read about a little mouse. Her parents named her Chrysanthemum, and she loved her name until she went to school. At school, a little mouse named Victoria encouraged the other students to make fun of Chrysanthemum. She, suddenly, did not like her name! A special teacher helped the other students realize that her name was beautiful, by revealing that she also had a flower-based name.
I loved the vocabulary in this story! The words were expressive and helped young readers put them into context. The bullying-based story seems appropriate in today's classroom environment. This story made me feel joyful with it's repetitive statements and colorful word usage.
I read this story to a classroom of transitional first grade students. We discussed the feelings that Chrysanthemum might have felt. We talked about flowers, and this story could be expanded with science based knowledge. In the future, I could also have incorporated art projects, and name-based projects. I could also use this in a higher grade level, and include a journal entry about feelings. ( )
  mt911914 | Aug 26, 2015 |
This book is very sweet and I love the illustrations. It’s about a girl named Chrysanthemum who has to come to love her name. I have a pretty average name, but I have had many unusual names on my class roster. It’s hard to explain why it’s so great to have an unusual name to kids, but this book nails it. It’s a simple book, but I think even older kids would appreciate the story! ( )
  flackm | Jul 24, 2015 |
Summary- a little mouse grows up believing she has the most perfect name. However, when she gets to school she find that it is different from the other children's name. She doesn't know if she likes it anymore.

Personal Response- I love Kevin Henke books because he really gets into the minds of young children. The illustrations have wonderful detail and it takes longer to read them than the words. This is a great story for the first days of school when children are feeling uncertain about how they fit in at school.

Extensions- The children could do an art project with their names
  SuzieB1972 | Jul 15, 2015 |
This is a great read on the first day of school! This is a great way to begin an introductory to the school year. Some students will be able to relate to a long name or not liking their name. Great for the Elementary level. ( )
  KRW15 | Apr 30, 2015 |
This story is helpful for teaching the perspective of one who is bullied because of their name. It can be used a read-aloud and then teaching a mini-lesson about voicing one's thoughts in writer's workshop. ( )
  Kdd026 | Apr 29, 2015 |
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The day she was born was the happiest day in her parents' lives.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:20 -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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