About the Book…

Margaret and the Moth Tree is a wonderful little tale about an orphan girl who finds the strength to stand up for injustice by listening to the smallest of voices.  A more dramatic way to introduce the book would be to watch the following book trailer that was written, directed, filmed and acted in by my daughters (with a cameo from me) done for the 2013 Forest of Reading Book Trailer Contest:

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Margaret was nominated for the 2013 Silver Birch Express Award in the Forest of Reading.  By selecting this book we had read one book from three different Forest of Reading categories.  I loved the sometimes dark but sweet story and although I had to assure my youngest daughter numerous times at the beginning of the book things will get better and turn out okay, she was a huge fan of it by the end as well.  Think, “Lemony Snicket meets Charlotte’s Web,” as one reviewer put it.

What We Did…

I think May and June are busier than the winter holidays when you have school-aged kids.  Setting a date and time for this meeting proved harder than any other meeting this year, mainly because we had to switch dates and times to accommodate our crazy schedule.  But we ended up with six of our nine members attending and everyone was extremely excited because the authors, Brit and Kari Trogen, offered to Skype with us at the end of our meeting after we met with them at the Festival of Trees the week before!

I set the table in the manner that Ms. Switch would have entertained her real guests – lovely flowers, pretty cakes and tea (a.k.a. pink lemonade).  My daughter insisted on chips and dips since we were entertaining 12 and 13 year olds after all:

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Because we had so much to do before our Skype call, I taught the girls a valuable skill – how to multitask.  While they worked on the word find, I went over some questions I had come up with about the book.  We had a good discussion about how we stand up to bullies, even when the bully is an adult.  It was encouraging to know that all the girls had someone they felt they could turn to if they needed help (usually a teacher or parent).  After that, we played a game where we stayed silent with our eyes closed for 2 minutes and listened for as many sounds as possible.  It’s amazing how long it takes the ear to settle down and begin to hear the soft sounds of birds chirping or dogs barking far away.  By 90 seconds we were wavering between trying to remember all the sounds we were hearing and trying not to giggle because we felt kind of silly sitting all together with our eyes closed.  I have to admit, I peeked a few times to check that the girls weren’t all sitting there staring at me! 🙂

Our next activity included a lot of magazines and scissors.  In the book, the moths feed on nimblers; the stuff dreams are made of.  The girls cut out pictures depicting dream-like and nightmarish images to them.  They chatted about the kinds of dreams they have and what they might mean.  I didn’t know you could have a nightmare about a spoon, but apparently it happens!  I would have loved to have done a dream analysis activity with them, but alas we barely had enough time to finish cutting out the pictures for pasting onto poster board (which I’m still getting around to doing!) before our author call…

And all the rushing was well worth it because the call with Brit and Kari Trogen was amazing!  We did a three-way Skype call so it was only audio, not video.  But that might have been for the best, since we might have been too star-struck to ask any questions!   Each girl had a question that we had come up with earlier in the meeting.  Since all of us were siblings, we were very curious to hear what it was like to work so closely with a sister. It was surprising but easy to believe that they disagreed quite a few times while working together and sometimes the arguments were more sisterly than professional!  It was also fun to hear that the moths were originally modelled after old men with famous philosphers’ names!

In Conclusion… 

Margaret and the Moth Tree was one of our Bookclub’s favourite books, both because of the story it told and the authors who told it.  It’s one of those sweet little tales you fondly recall on a warm summer night watching moths flit around the porch light at the cottage.  And the message of hidden strength no matter your size is one I hope the girls will carry with them always.

2 COMMENTS

  1. this book was very good me and my sister read it together and liked it so much we even made a book trailer!! later we found out the authors started using our book trailer instead of there own at schools and presentations! look it up on you tube if u want to c how amazing this book was!!!!!!!!!!!

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