Sunday, October 4, 2009


By Marianne Musgrove
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-8791-8

FROM THE FLAP: Juliet’s a worrywart, and no wonder! Her little sister, Oaf, follows her around taking notes and singing “The Irritating Song” all day long. Her parents are always arguing about Dad’s clutter. Nana’s so tired of craft lessons that she starts barbecuing things in the middle of the night. And Juliet’s friends, Lindsay and Gemma, are competing to see which of them is her best friend. Juliet can’t fit in any more worries!

But then she makes a remarkable discovery. Behind the wallpaper in her new bedroom, Juliet uncovers an old painting of a very special tree. Nana remembers it well: It’s the Worry Tree, and with the help of the Worry Tree animals, Juliet just might be able to solve some of life’s big problems.

A Living Forest (Bodily-Kinesthetic)

Have students pretend they’re trees. First they crouch as if they’re seeds. Have them unfurl their bodies as the sun shines and the rain falls. Once they’ve reached their full grown height, remind them to keep their roots anchored and have their branches stretch toward the sun. Have a storm come and tell students that even though their branches might sway, their trunks stay balanced and centered no matter what the conditions around them.

Collection Classification (Naturalist and Logical-Mathematical)

Ask students to bring in a collection from home. As individuals, have students classify their collections by an attribute such as size, shape, or color. As a class, classify and sort the collections by attributes. Graph the results.

Fly Away Worries (Intrapersonal, Visual-Spatial, Verbal-Linguistic, and Interpersonal)

Give students a piece of origami paper. Have them write a worry on the white side of the paper. Then, using the directions from, instruct them how to fold their worry into a bird, or another animal mentioned in the book. Have the students pin their worry to the tree. At the end of the day, the teacher can pick one worry off the tree and read it out loud making sure to leave out any names or other identifying information. The class can brainstorm ways they’ve overcome that specific problem.

Grandparent Interviews (Verbal-Linguistic and Interpersonal)

In class ask students to write ten interview questions for their grandparents or another older family relative or acquaintance. The students’ questions should center their grandparents’ childhoods. Ask students to invite their grandparents to the classroom or bring in a photo of their relative and present their findings to the class.

Extensions: Write a creative story about your grandparents’ favorite toy.
Write a see-saw book comparing and contrasting your childhood to your grandparents’ childhood.

The Worry Tree (Visual-Spatial)

The teacher affixes a large trunk with six branches to a bulletin board in the classroom. Ask students to dip one of their palms into a tray of green paint, and make a hand print onto the classroom worry tree. Now the tree is leafy and ready to receive the classroom’s origami worries.

Book Buddies:

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Dessert First by Hallie Durand
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Piper Reed, Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

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