by Katherine Paterson
Reading Level 2.8
|Setting:||Mr. Brock's dairy farm|
|Characters:||Marvin; his mother, father, and sister, May; and Rosie, the meanest cow in the world|
|Plot:||Marvin loves Rosie the cow, even though everyone else thinks she is the meanest cow in the world, but Marvin doesn't care. Marvin is extremely upset when the family must move. He is very unhappy, and no one can make him happy until he discovers [Rosie] again.|
|Solution:||Marvin claims he has found Rosie but that a witch turned her into the smallest cow in the world. Rosie eventually helps him conquer his sadness and loneliness.|
|Summary:||Rosie is the meanest cow on Brock's Dairy Farm, but Marvin, the son of the farm worker, loves Rosie. He thinks she is the most beautiful cow in the world. Mr. Brock decides he is too old to farm, and he sells Rosie and the farm. Marvin's Dad must find a new job. Marvin is extremely unhappy because Rosie is gone; he does not adjust to the move to a new farm. He acts out and then makes up a story about a witch who changed Rosie into the smallest cow in the world, saying he found her in the grass. The family goes along with his pretend Rosie because it makes him happy. But then school starts, and the kids make fun of him and Rosie. Finally, May comes up with a great idea—but it means Marvin has to leave Rosie at home. Marvin finally understands that he has a family who loves him and that he will never by lonely again.|
|Curriculum Connections:||Farm unit, character education—respecting differences|
Depending on the location of your school, there may be many students who have a great deal of experience with farm animals. Knowing your school community will help you decide how much background information the children will have.
Show the children the picture of Mr. Brock putting up the [For Sale] sign. Ask them what they think will happen. Explain that Mr. Brock is the owner of the farm and that Marvin's father works for Mr. Brock.
Ask students to do the following exercise: Picture yourself in a brand new school. What do you feel like? What would you do to make new friends?
Ask students: If you wanted to learn more about cows and farm animals, what section of the library do you think those books would be in? Review fiction and nonfiction. Review how to use the computer to find information.