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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum (original 1991; edition 2007)

by Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4352171,568 (4.38)7
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 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 |
In my opinion, I think that this book was good for a few reasons. First, I loved the illustrations that were in this book. At the beginning of the story, it was clear that Chrysanthemum felt sad and embarrassed through her body language. The illustrator did a great job using vivid colors and expressions (facial and body) to go along with the text. They really complimented each other well. I also loved the message that was presented in this story. After reading the book, it was clear that the message was to accept yourself for who you are. Chrysanthemum’s character grew throughout the story to embrace the fact that her name was unique and that was one of the many things that makes her special. It was definitely a message that can be embraced for everyone, including the reader. ( )
  GaiaGonzales | Nov 18, 2014 |
I love this book for many reasons including the message, the illustrations, and the writing. The main idea of this book is for one to have self-confidence even if being bullied by peers. Chrysanthemum is drug down by the mean girls in her class for having such a long name. She attempts to stay positive despite their persistent bullying and putting her down. In the end of the story she realizes that she has to be confident despite what the girls say to her.
I believe the text greatly benefits from the illustrations in the book. I feel the illustrations enhance the text and add an extra element to the words of the book. For example, I love the illustration that contains a picture of each student and their name. The illustrator shows the reader that Chrysanthemum's name is so much longer in length than the rest of the class because it does not fit in the box.
I also liked the writing that the author employed in this text. I enjoyed the predictable, repeated lines in the book such as, "Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum". I also enjoyed the predictable pattern of the plot. Chrysanthemum would be excited about her name before school, dislike her name during school because her peers made fun of her name, and then like her name again after her parents consoled her. Jo, Rita, and Victoria always spoke in a predictable patter. ( )
  jessicaedelman | Nov 4, 2014 |
I think this story has a great message. The big idea is all about bullying, and how just because someone is different, doesn't make it right to make fun of them. The illustrations work well with the text, and expand on chrysanthemums emotions. The drawings are simple and the characters are easy to relate to due to their vivid expressions and actions. I like the plot and how it pushes readers to think about how unfair chrysanthemum was being treated just because of a name. ( )
  jknuts1 | Oct 23, 2014 |
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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 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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