Moira invites grades 1 to 6 and kindergarten to her birthday party. But her parents don’t know – until…
Moira’s Birthday by Robert Munsch belongs to the Cumulative Sequence section of the Touchstone books. Books found in this section all involve a plot which introduces a series of events, characters or items in cumulative order, with the previous events, characters or items being repeated with each addition.
I adore Robert Munsch books. I think they are perfect for early reading, and are usually quite humourous. In Moira’s Birthday, Moira invites grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, grade 6 and kindergarten to her birthday party, with unforeseen results. How will her parents feed all those children? Where will Moira put all her presents? And who is expected to clean up the huge mess! The story is cute and funny, and will definitely hold a child’s attention. What makes it fit into the Cumulative Sequence section is the repetition and addition of the 200 students, the pizzas, cakes, and presents. Not only characters and things, but places and events are also repeated as each new one is added into the story.
Time: 1 hour
None – just the book
Bring students together in a group and read Moira’s Birthday out loud. As you are reading, stop frequently to discuss the order of events in the story, and how things just keep building on top of each other. The six guests become two hundred, ten pizzas arrive before ten cakes, etc. Use the illustrations in the book to help students predict what will happen next, and to judge comprehension of the story. Have the students predict what Moira will do with the gifts and the food. Ask what they would do if they were Moira.
Once you have read the book, sit the students in a book circle. Play a game that deals with cumulative events called Going on a Picnic. The first student states that he/she is going on a picnic and is going to bring [something] (the teacher could start to showcase what to do). The next student in the circle will say they are going on a picnic and will bring [first item] and [they pick an item].
- Teacher: I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring a blanket.
- 1st Student: I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring a blanket and a Frisbee.
As the circle goes on, the list gets longer and longer. This will help teach students that things or events that come before are just as important as the ones happening immediately. One thing affects another. Not only will this book help in prediction, but in student memory as well. They will need to remember what has come before in the story in order to better understand what is happening, and will happen.