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Dig Deeper: Under the Lemon Moon - Activities

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Language Arts
The theme of a book is its core or backbone.

Under the Lemon Moon is a story of sharing and forgiveness. Talk about how Rosalinda's actions show sharing and forgiveness even though those words are never used. Think of other books you've loved-what is the theme of those books? Think of Mike Mulligan or Charlotte's Web or other more contemporary books.

Use this book with Alma Flor Ada's The Gold Coin (Atheneum, 1991).Talk about how understanding can create motivation for positive change.

What Spanish words do you find in the text? Can you read and pronounce them? There's help in the front of the book. Learn how to say "thank you" in ten languages.

Tell the story in your own words. Add sound effects-Blanca's brawks, the THRUM-THRUM of Mamá's loom, a squeak for Rosalinda's cart . . .

Act out the story. What other characters could you add?

Blanca says, "Brawk." Find out what sounds chickens, cats, roosters, dogs, cows, and other animals make in different languages!

Make up a poem or song for Rosalinda to sing as she dances around her lemon tree. Add percussion instruments and sound effects. What classical music would work well with Rosalinda's dance?

This story came from a news report. Use something in the news to write your own story. (Examples: Third grader wins prize for biggest pumpkin. Dog rescues family. Hot air balloon has unusual riders.)

Taste Test
Find out how tongues can send messages to our brains about taste. How do we know that lemons taste sour? Do a taste test with different foods.

Sink or Float?
Do lemons float or sink? Predict, then test. Test other fruits and vegetables, from grapes to watermelons or coconuts.

Olfactory Factory
Lemons have a special scent. Scents can trigger memories from long ago.
Choose objects with distinct smells, such as a lemon drop, a flower, a crayon, a Band-aid, a piece of pine, cinnamon, peanut butter on a cracker, etc. Put each object into a separate plastic bag. Choose one bag, without peeking. Now open the bag and waft the scent toward your nose with your hand. (That's the safe way to pick up scents in the air-you'll do that in science in high school.) That scent may bring back a strong memory. Write about what you remember.

Bake Lemon Moon Cookies
    6 Tablespoons shortening
    3/4 cup sugar
    3 Tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1-2 tablespoons "zest" (grated lemon peel; add more if you love the lemony zing)
    1 capful lemon extract

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar.
Add milk, egg, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix well.
Add lemon juice and zest. Mix well.
Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet, two inches apart.
Bake 10-15 minutes until the cookies are just turning golden.

Keep an eye on your Lemon Moons! Don't overbake.

Cool on a rack.

You can brush on a glaze made with confectioner's sugar, milk, and lemon extract.

Presto! Yummy lemon moons good enough to eat-while reading Under the Lemon Moon, of course.

Lemony Lemonade
Squeeze fresh lemons. Add an equal amount of water. Sweeten to taste.

How many seeds do you think a lemon will have? How many segments? Predict, then have an adult cut a lemon open so you can count seeds.

Grow seeds (you can try the seeds from a lemon, but lima bean seeds are easier). How long does it take for your seeds to germinate? Measure your plants each day to see how much they grow. Watch for patterns in the leaf and stem growth. Make daily sketches. Track the color. Try experiments-do your plants turn toward light? What happens with too much water? Too little?

Study the Illustrations
René King Moreno, the illustrator of Under the Lemon Moon, loved the book Lyle, Lyle Crocodile when she young. Look closely. Can you find a crocodile in this book? Can you find a page where everything looks sad? Leaves droop, trees slant . . . Find characters who are never mentioned in the book but appear in the pictures.

René King Moreno used a special motif (art element) for Anciana-find little drawings on the pages just before, during, and after the time when La Anciana appears. This gentle motif signals, without words, that something is going to happen.

Lemony Prints
Create lemon prints by cutting a lemon in half, dipping the cut end into paint or ink, and using the lemon as a stamp.

Make a Lemon Moon Mural
Choose people (or the chicken!) from the book. Draw or paint what you chose. Cut the paintings out and place them against a background that you design. Add a lemon tree, scarecrow, flowers, and more.

Color Mixing
Mix lemon yellow with bright red or blue. What colors do you get? See how close you can come to mixing the soft colors used by René King Moreno.

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