Reader's Guide by Lindsey S. Chesser
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Lewis, J. Patrick. (1997). LONG WAS THE WINTER ROAD THEY TRAVELED: A TALE OF THE NATIVITY. Ill. by Drew Bairley. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0803718144
RECOMMENDED AGE LEVELS
For illustrations: 2-8 years
For text and illustrations: 8 and up
The nativity story retold through poetry, Joseph and Mary travel to the stable where Jesus will soon be born. Animals including a burrow, spiders, birds, a dog, an ox and more are watching and waiting with Mary and Joseph. At Jesus’ arrival, these animals show their excitement: “The Milk Cow mooed as if to say How Beautiful to the Mare” and “On hoof and wing they went, bellowing, bleating… or perfectly still in their astonishment.”
REVIEW EXCERPTS AND AWARDS
*Booklist - “A reverent, tender look at the wonders of a night almost 2,000 years ago.”
*School Library Journal – “Quiet, well-chosen words describe the gathering of the animals to witness Jesus' birth.
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE READING THE BOOK
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE READING THE BOOK
*What do you already know about the birth of baby Jesus?
*What animals do you imagine were there with Mary and Joseph?
*What is a stable? For which animals is this common place to be? For what animals is it not?
*Imagine someone in your home having a baby. Would animals come from all around to witness it? Why do you think they came to witness the birth of Jesus?
*Do you have any pets? What would they say to you if they could talk?
SUGGESTIONS FOR READING ALOUD
*Give each student a copy of the words and have them real aloud with you the last sentence in each stanza.
*There are fifteen stanzas. Each student could take one, or the class could be divided into groups. Those groups could read aloud their stanza together when it is their turn.
*Have students brainstorm sounds to accompany the many different animals and their presence at the scene. Then when reading, stop for each animal and have the students voice the sound. For example, the poem reads, “The sheep coughed low,” and the students could say, “baa, baa.” Another example is “When the Owl blinked slow-eyed wonder,” and the students could voice, “hoot, hoot.”
*Referring to the previous suggestion, students could be divided in groups for each animal. When their animal comes along in the poem, they recite their sound.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES
*This story has advanced language. With a partner, have students create a list of words they do not know from the poem and have them look up the definition. For example, “Chanticleer” is a rooster. Have students choose a word they looked up and then create a poster with the word, the meaning, and an illustration of that word to hang in the classroom.
*Make a spinning wheel, like at a carnival, with story elements or any standard your students are focusing on. A wedge might read, “Describe what happens at the beginning of the story,” or “Identify the main characters and their feelings in the poem”.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES Texas Standards Included
HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY (Grade 2 Standard 2, elementary standard 3 and 4)
*Show students a map and have them tag or label the places from the book, such as Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, and Jerusalem. For older students, discuss the time period and the date system.
SCIENCE (Grade 2 Standard 10A, Grade 3 10B, Grade 5 10A)
*Refer back to the pre-reading question, “What is a stable? For which animals is this common place to be? For what animals is it not?” Discuss the animals from the story. Determine where these animals usually live? What kind of habitat? What functions do these animals have because of where they live? (Example: hooves on a donkey)
MATH (Grade 2 Standard 3, Grade 3 Standard 2 and 3)
*Supply students with pictures of a particular animal from the manger. Students will cut the animals out and on poster board, will create an addition or subtraction problem with pictures. For example, five sheep could be cut out, grouped together, and glued with an addition sign and then three more sheep pictures. Below the line to indicate equals, eight sheep are cut and glued.
*Supply students with pictures of the many animals found in the manger. Have them cut out a set number of one particular animal. For example, three bats. Then have the students draw a line to represent a fraction and then cut out a full set of all of the animals in the manger. This would provide a concrete visual that of the 10 animals in the manger, three of them were bats (or whatever the numbers and pictures indicate).
ART (Grade 1 Standard 1B, elementary Standard 1)
*Referring to the oil illustrations, have students work in groups of three to indicate color and texture used with illustrations of nature.
*Referring to the oil illustrations, have students work in groups to analyze the use of color to evoke feelings. How does Bairley use color to express certain feelings?
RELATED BLOGS AND WEB SITES
*FunSchool, Animal Homes
For educational games about animals in their natural habitat, visit this website. (Must have Java applets capability).
Visit this website for all the Christmas material you could need! This site offers recipes, Christian tales, the “truths” about certain stories such as Rudolph and Santa Clause, traditions, jokes, crafts, games, and coloring pages.
*Apples 4 the Teacher
This site includes Christmas poems and rhymes for students to interact with and even includes tips for interaction.
*Coatsworth, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Jane Coatsorth. 1997. Song of the Camels : A Christmas Poem. Ill. by Anna Vojtech. New York: North South Books.
*Haidle, Helen. 1998. The Living Nativity. Tulsa, Okla.: Honor Books.
*Hughes, Langston. 1902. Carol of the Brown King: Nativity Poems. Ill. by Ashley Bryan. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Lempke, Susan Dove. 1997. "Long Was the Winter Road They Traveled: A Tale of the Nativity “ Booklist 1 Oct. 1997: 323+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.
Marino, Jane. 1997. "Nativity." School Library Journal 43, no. 10: 45. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 16, 2011).