by Elise Broach

One School, One Book 2019

East York Elementary

Our Reading Calendar

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Reading One:


pages 1 - 13

Family Discussion:

The idea for this book came from Ms. Broach dropping her contact lens down the drain and imagining how handy it would be to have a tiny creature to get it out. What types of problems could a small creature help your family to solve? What type of story could you create?

Trivia Question:

  • Click on the link below and enter your answer. A name will be drawn from those who answer the question correctly. That person will win a prize!
  • How did Marvin learn to swim?
  • Answers must be submitted by midnight 1/21/2019

Marvin faces a TOUGH QUESTION right away in the story. What should he do? Why do you think Marvin makes the decision that he does?

Reading Two:


pages 14 - 25

Family Activity:

Marvin's father is an abstract artist. On page 17, the reader discovers that Mr. Pompaday once said, "It doesn't look anything like a horse. It doesn't even look like an animal." Click here to learn more about abstract art and make your own judgements. Try making your own abstract art piece and bring it to school to share!

The way James behaves at his birthday party is a CONTRAST and CONTRADICTION to how I would expect the birthday boy to act. Why is James acting this way?

Reading Three:


pages 26 - 40

Family Activity:

Marvin draws the scene outside of the window. Look outside of your window. Choose a way to represent what you see... you could use words, a drawing, maybe even a dance! Share with one another.

Marvin draws the incredible scene outside of the window, but James takes credit for it. Why do you think James does this? This seems like a CONTRAST and CONTRADICTION to his character.

Reading Four:


pages 41 - 54

Family Activity:

Karl compares the drawing to a Durer. Click here to read more about Durer and to see drawings, paintings, and prints which the famous artist created.

It is such a CONTRAST and CONTRADICTION that both parents believe that James drew the scene outside of the window. Wouldn't they have known before? Why do the characters act this way? How might this affect the plot?

Reading Five:


pages 55 - 67

Family Activity:

While at the Met, Karl shows James both Durer and Bellini. James and Marvin prefer the work of Durer. Learn more about Bellini and look at his work by clicking here. Talk about which artist you prefer and why.

Marvin's drawing is compared to the work of Durer AGAIN and AGAIN. Why does the author continue to bring up this comparison? How might this affect the plot?

Reading Six:


pages 68 - 81

Family Discussion:

When Marvin is brushed to the floor, James must quickly think of a way to help his new friend. He asks to return the next day to complete the drawing. In what ways might this help the story move forward? How else could James have retrieved Marvin? How would those ways have changed the story?

Trivia Question:

Marvin is kept from his family AGAIN and AGAIN. Why does this keep happening? How might this affect the story?

Reading Seven:


pages 82 - 95

Family Activity:

Marvin copies Durer's famous work. Copying the work of masters has been shown to foster creativity. Choose an artist whom you like and make a copy of their work. You could choose a great master from a museum, a children's illustrator, or a comic/graphic artist. When you are done, try drawing your own unique artwork! Bring any of your work to school to share.

At the end of the chapter, Christina says that Durer's work is about to be stolen! I find this to be a CONTRAST and CONTRADICTION. Why would an employee of the museum know of an upcoming crime? Why wouldn't she stop it? How could the copy of the Durer help?

Reading Eight:


pages 96 - 107

Family Activity:

On page 97, Christina mentions the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Heist of 1990 where over four hundred million dollars worth of artwork was stolen and never recovered. Learn more about this historic event by clicking here.

Christina's plan is certainly complicated! Reread the plan and recount (retell) someone the plan in your own words.

Reading Nine:


pages 108 - 120

Family Activity:

To help Marvin back to his family home, James plays a version of "Hot and Cold." Use a small object to play your own game of hot and cold. Have someone hide the object while everyone else covers their eyes. As people look for the object, the person who hid it tells them if they are hot or cold in finding it.

Marvin's family wants him to leave the human problems to the humans. It is a TOUGH QUESTION for Marvin... what should he do? How could he still help James?

Reading Ten:


pages 121 - 137

Family Discussion:

Marvin and his family head on an outing together to the solarium. A solarium is a room with a lot of windows in order that there is sufficient light for plants to grow. They use this spot as a place to picnic. Use your imagination. Where else might a beetle family plan a get away in an apartment or house? What would they do while there?

The author takes some time out from the art mystery to have the beetle family go on an outing. Why do you think the author chose to have Marvin and his family do this at this time?

Reading Eleven:


pages 138 - 155

Family Discussion:

On page 152, Christina shares how Nietsche, the famous German philosopher believed that you couldn't be both wise and brave. Marvin reflects that revealing himself to James was brave but probably not wise. What do you think? Is it possible to be both wise and brave?

Trivia Question:

Whether you call it an AHA ! MOMENT, a TOUGH QUESTION answered, or sharing WORDS of the WISER with his mom, Marvin comes to the conclusion that he must be a good friend to James. Can you find where Marvin shares a theme about friendship on page 143?

Reading Twelve:


pages 156 - 171

Family Discussion:

The lack of ink on the pen is a clue to the mystery of how James is suddenly such an amazing artist. Do you think that his father believed him or will it cause him to question what his son is telling him?

On page 168 - 170, James reflects on all that has been going on. Watch out for TOUGH QUESTIONS and AHA! MOMENTS. What lessons is James learning?

Reading Thirteen:


pages 172 - 183

Family Discussion:

Christina outlines the final plan on pages 174 - 177. Reread those pages and see if you can recount what is going to happen to a family member or friend. What problems could occur with this plan?

Marvin has an AHA! MOMENT that the drawing hanging in the museum is the original. How might this change things? How can Marvin communicate what he knows?

Reading Fourteen:


pages 184 - 195

Family Activity:

In this chapter, the FBI agent attaches the tracking device to the painting. Learn more about tracking devices by reading here. What benefits and/or problems can you see might occur?

At the end of the reading, Marvin has the AHA! MOMENT that he is on his own. How might this change things?

Reading Fifteen:


pages 196 - 210

Family Discussion:

Denny hands the man the matting from the picture and instructs him to leave it on the floor of the cab. On page 204 he states, "That will keep them busy for a while." What does he mean by that statement?

At the end of the reading, Marvin remembers that Denny said that sometimes people who steal works of art do it for love. What does this MEMORY MOMENT reveal, or show? Why is this memory important at this time?

Reading Sixteen:


pages 211 - 228

Family Discussion:

Marvin convinces James to head to the address on the mailing label. Do you think this is the best plan of action? Why or why not?

Trivia Question:

Mysteries can be full of AHA! MOMENTS and Marvin has yet another one on page 216 when he realizes that Christina is not in on the crime. How will this affect the story? How might this change things?

Reading Seventeen:


pages 229 - 252

Family Discussion:

James enters the restaurant to call his father and let him know that he has Fortitude. He tells his father to stay put and runs to him. How do you feel about the decision he made? Was there an alternate way he could have handled the situation?

When James finds the briefcase, Marvin leads him to yet another AHA! MOMENT that the briefcase belongs to Denny. Why is it so important that James have this realization?

Reading Eighteen:


pages 253 - 271

Family Discussion:

On pages 267 and 268, Marvin has some AHA! MOMENTS about family and adventure. Can you find the lessons he learned? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

On page 262, the characters struggle with a TOUGH QUESTION about justice and letting the police/FBI know that Denny committed the crime. How does this affect what the characters believe? What message might the author hope to share?

Reading Nineteen:


pages 272- 288

Family Discussion:

How does the event where James breaks his hand wrap up an important problem in the story? What does it solve? Do you think James did it on purpose?

Trivia Question:

On page 287, Marvin thinks, "A great friendship was like a great work of art... It took time and attention, and a spark of something that was impossible to describe. It was a happy, lucky accident finding some kindred part of yourself in a total stranger." What does this mean? What events lead Marvin to this conclusion?