Argus

Maria, our BLG reader this week, brought in Argus written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Andrea Wesson. When Maria sat down, holding the book to her, students spied the back cover and started oooing and oh, oh, oh – ing! They had spotted a picture of 3 little chicks crawling around a classroom floor. “Maria we have chicks! 3 of them! Just like the picture!”

This is a story about Sally and her charge, a “little” egg that was supposed to be a fluffy little chick but turns out to be a green scaly dragon. Right from the beginning when Mrs. Henshaw hands out eggs to all of the children to begin their science projects, Sally’s egg looks different. The children kept the eggs in their desk top incubators. Little beaks begin to poke through the cracked shells. But Sally’s egg splits open to reveal a scaly green back. Mrs. Henshaw keeps assuring Sally that some chicks look a little different but Sally wasn’t so sure. She tries to go along with it, names her “chick” Argus and begins to document his growth and development in graphs and pictures just like all of the other children. Our students kept grinning big knowing smiles – they had also weighed and measured and charted our little chickens and their growth. So much connecting!

Sally needs to be an active guardian of Argus. The other chicks peck for seeds or beetles and Argus tries to eat the other chicks! This behaviour ended when he grew bigger and attempted to eat the children instead! Sally worries that her “chick” is not working out. She is envious of the others who can pet the heads of their little chicks. She can’t even reach Argus’ head unless he is lying down. Then Argus goes missing. Sally panicked and then stopped herself. Wasn’t this a good thing maybe? Now she could share another chick and stop being so different. She should be happy, she thought. But happiness never reahed her. Sadness did. And worry. And anxiety. Where could Argus be? Ricky suggested he might have gone to a meat store! Soon Sally could contain her emotions no longer and her classmates help her search for Argus.

This story has a very lovely ending and the students were glued to the final few pages. Then somebody looked over at our little chicks who were snuggled together in their brooder, asleep. “It’s a bedtime story for the chicks!”

A wonderful story about accepting diversity and celebrating friendship even with things big and green.

Our student reviewers report:

Scott: I have a connection when we have three chicks just like the book. I like this book because I really like the dragon.

Jena: I like this book because Sally lost Argus which is a dragon. But everybody else had chickens. When Argus is gone, Sally thinks she will share a chicken. But really she misses Argus.

Alyson: I like this book because it was funny and sad. It was the best book ever!

Hajhare: I like this book. It connects to this book called Clifford where a girl loses her huge dog and her friends help her find it. I like this book because it’s about chicks and we have chicks!

Eddy: Why did the teacher think Argus the dragon was a chick?

Josiah: I like BLG. No!! I LOVE them. I liked Argus and I felt sad for him because he didn’t fit in with the chicks. How can he eat a whole block of grass?

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