Ginger Pye captures the heart of not only his adopted family, but also the reader. We also root for Jerry and Rachel as they try to track down “unsavory” — the Unsavory Character who they believe stole Ginger Pye on Thanksgiving Day.
Written in 1951, Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, author of the popular Moffat series, has all of the trademarks of an exceptional children’s book — well-defined and interesting characters, an appealing language, fun illustrations, and a book that appeals on some level to adults as well as to children — everything you would expect from a Newberry Medal winner.
Set in 1919, according to the date on the newspaper in an illustration, we are transported by trolly, ride in a jalopy, safely walk the streets of a small town neighborhood, and get a glimpse of family life — both the good and the bad.
The story focuses on the prime wish of Jerry to earn enough money to purchase the puppy he saw at Mrs. Speedy’s barn and that instantly won his heart. He knows Ginger is smart! And so he is, making the town’s headlines early on with one of his amazing feats. When Ginger is stolen, there is a mystery to solve, dashed hopes, interesting jaunts, even a little history thrown in. And the ending does not disappoint.
We often see the loveable picture of the dog on the cover and purchase this one a little too early. The main characters in the story are 10 and 12. That is probably a good guideline for the audience that will most enjoy the book.
- Make a map of Jerry and Rachel’s neighborhood. There are many hints in the book. Mark where you think the main landmarks are – school, the “skeleton house,” Gramma’s house, the “res,” church, and other places mentioned – as you go along.
- Make a family tree of the Pye family. Do you see how Gramma’s son, Bennie, is Jerry and Rachel’s uncle?
- There are several books mentioned. Make a list. Which ones have you read?
- Make your own newspaper story explaining either Ginger’s amazing feat at school, or his disappearance.
- Make your own “Funny Paper.”
- How would you draw the “unsavory character”?
- The illustrations in this book are very simple line drawings. Copy or make one of your own.
- There are many wonderful paragraphs perfect for dictation or copywork. Pick out your favorite passage.
- Read about Judges Cave.
- Make an author page to add to your notebook.
- Write or orally narrate your favorite part of the book.
- Make a notebooking summary page for the book, Ginger Pye.
National Grandparent’s Day Chart
You can use this to fill in the names of Jerry, Rachel, their mom and dad, Grammy and Uncle Benny.
Interactive Writing Tool – Free!
Choose the “Newspaper” option to write the newspaper story suggested above.
Interactive tool to help you create your own “Funny Book.”
Explanation and pictures.
Author Study Notebooking Page
One of many options out there, these are great for keeping in a notebook and adding to as new books by the same author are read.