Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha

Last August, at the beginning of our school year, we studied Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. Night of the Moonjellies is a beautifully illustrated book about a litle boy named Mark who helps out at his grandmother's sea-side hotdog stand which makes the best lobster rolls in all of New England. One day, he finds a strange jelly-like substance on the beach. He puts it into a bag of salt water and at the end of the day, his grandmother takes him out on a boat where they see the water is full of moonjellies. He returns the jelly to the ocean.

There was so much to learn with this book and because it was the beginning of the year, and Mommy was a little Pinterest-happy, we made jellyfish out of coffee filters. We watched videos about bio-luminescent moon jellies and attempted to make a glow-in-the dark jelly in a bottle. Did you know  that a group of jellyfish is called a smack? For Boston friends, did you know you can see these glow-in-the dark jellies in the harbor sometimes outside the Aquarium?
Ella really loved the math lesson for this book. We set up our own version of Ma-Gra's with signs, menus, and a cash register of play money. She sold hotdogs, hamburgers, and lobster rolls. She made all the change with our play money. A lot of fun!

The illustrations in this book are rich oil-pastel drawings. The girls loved trying oil pastels. In fact, Ella kept walking around drawing out the word, "Pastellllls, Pastelllls. I just love that word." One of the lessons talked about contrasting the warm colors of the boat with the cool colors of the water, and looking closely at how the colors are reflected in the ocean water. I love the way their drawings came out.
Mabel's boat age 4
Ella's boat age 6
And even I tried my hand with the pastelllls.

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