Saturday, April 7, 2018

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 (B.C.R. Fegan)

Author: B.C.R. Fegan

Illustrator:  Lenny Wen

Target Ages: 4-8

Genre:  Concept Picture Book

Amazon Summary: 
The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

First Lines:
Welcome to the magical
Hotel of Hoo.
Where I’ll be your host,
Mr. Nicholas Noo.

Along with the protagonists, readers take a fantastic tour of the hotel. The rooms have different types of guest from the mythical (zombies, goblins, mermaids) to the realistic (knights, clowns, monkeys) to the silly (tea-loving monsters, miniature giants, grey-haired villains). Some rooms are places for guests (golden bathroom, museum, library, dinning hall) while others are unconventional places (a maze, a dark room, a treasure room). Characters and rooms are scary in a silly, child-like way. 

The narrative encourages children to practice counting to 32 as they take a tour of the hotel.  During the tour, they are often reminded not to look behind door 32.  As they get closer and closer, anticipation is built.  With so many “scary” characters, what might be in room 32? (Fortunately, it is a humorous twist.)

It seems like 32 rooms would be tedious to count down to.  However, in this magical place and with the entertaining rhyming verse, time flies by.

Don’t Look Behind Door 32 works well for classroom reading and learning as well as bedtime story or as a Halloween tale.

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
  • Predicting Skills:  In the first read, ask children to predict what is in Room 32.  In later readings, ask children to anticipate what is coming next.
  • Math:  Practice counting to 32. 
  • Story Extension:  Either draw or write about what is in room 33. Or write/discuss alternate endings to what could be in room 32.  
  • Writing Numbers:  Younger children can practice writing out the numbers in shaving cream or other substance.  Older children can write them out on paper.  
  • Writing:  With such a colorful cast of characters, children can write about their favorite one.  Younger children can fill in a simple sentence like:  “My favorite character is ______ because ________.”
  • Figurative Language:  Introduce the terms oxymoron and irony.  Discuss the examples in the story, like miniature giants (oxymoron) and wingless dragons and grumpy clowns (irony). 
  • Literature:  Read about some of the mythical characters like mermaids, fairies, and goblins.
  • Art: Create a diorama room to add to the hotel.  Or provide a hotel template like HERE or HERE.  Students can draw their own creative rooms.

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