Flight of the Pamplemousse: Questions, Lessons and Activities
Teachers’ Note: Flight of the Pamplemousse is found in in a wide range of classrooms, both in terms, ages and abilities and language skills. Teachers will want to pick and choose which questions and activities they find most appropriate for their students. Educators and schools receive a 50% off of the app, when purchased from iTunes.
Show the cover. The physical setting is fairly clear, though the characters are quite small. What do students see? What might they be seeing? Where and when might this story take place? The title may sound a bit funny, ask students to guess or even draw what a Pamplemousse might be and then explain why they imagined what they did.
Pre-Activity: Before reading the story, ask students to write a brief summary of their dream, or part of their dream from the night before. Stress that they should only write what they actually remember and if they can’t remember anything that it is certainly normal. (For students who don’t remember their previous night’s dreams, ask them to describe a dream they do remember.)
That night, have students go to bed with a pencil and paper next to their bed. Have them write a summary of their dream when they first wake up, even before they go to brush their teeth. What is different? Has the level of detail changed? Are they still able to remember their dream much later in the day? Does this difference help explain Jonathan’s reaction when he is asked to “squeeze” the Pamplemousses into “juice.”
- Madame Froupon sounds like an unusual name, what might her name tells us about her or what how the author wants us to imagine her?
- As we read, the story may change settings, raise your hand if you notice a change in setting and let us know what has changed. Was it the place, the time, or even something else?
- It seems that Madame Froupon is from a place called France? What do you know about France? What language do they speak in France? What continent is France in? Can you find France on a map or globe? How about the town she she lives by, Marseilles?
- We just heard the word Pamplemousse for the first time, now what do you think a Pamplemousse is?
- Jonathan has “started to drop”; where is he falling?
- Jonathan is now in the woods, how can he still hear Madame Froupon?
- It looks like Jonathan has been confronted by some mysterious shadows, what might they be?
- Now that we’ve met the Pamplmousse, were they what you expected? Do they look, talk and act as you thought they would?
- You may notice the author combines some words in ways you would normally expect, if you hear some of these, raise your hand so we can discuss. (Vine-dangling, herd-flock, mountaintop-tips, Maestro-mousse, Pamplehorns)
- The Pamplemousse looks quite a bit like a moose, which certainly can’t climb trees or fly. Why does Jonathan imagine that they can?
- Several elements of Jonathan’s dream come from things he heard the grown-ups mention, raise your hand if you notice one.
- Our Pample-party seems to get broken up rather suddenly. Describe what is happening in Jonathan’s dream. What might be happening in Jonathan’s actual house to affect his dream? Has something happening in real-life, as you are sleeping or just waking up, ever found its way into your dream?
- In the last moments of Jonathan’s dream, as he watches the sunrise, he seems to be in two places at once, have you ever felt that sensation? Where and when?
- In the kitchen, we finally see what Madame Froupon meant by Pamplemousse. What is a Pamplemousse, actually? Why is Jonathan frightened and confused?
- Why does Jonathan decide to have orange juice for breakfast?
Activity - Language and Imagination
(This activity can be completed before or after reading the story.)
Choose one of the French words below and draw what kind of person, animal or object you imagine it to be. Write a few sentences about your imaginary creation. If it’s an animal or person, where does it live and what does it eat? Is it friendly or ferocious? If you created an object, how big is it? Where would it be found? Would you want to have one or not?
Afterwards, discuss why you imagined what you did. Finally, look up the word online or in a dictionary and find out what it actually means.
Choose from these or others: champignon, fromage, oeuf, flor or original.
For advanced/older students (after-reading): Discuss what a cognate is and contrast this with a false-cognate. In this story is “Pamplemousse” a cognate? Why or why not? Ask students to work in groups – and possibly online – to create a list of 5 cognates and 5 false cognates, from a language of their choosing.
Activity – Geography
Ask students to work in groups using classroom and online resources to answer the following questions, supply students with a paper world map:
What continent, country and city is Madame Froupon from? Mark these areas on your map.
France is divided up into Provinces, much like the United States is divided into States. Which province is she from? Shade it in on your map.
Canada, Japan and Switzerland are also divided in a similar way. In each country, what are those areas called and how many are there?
Madame Froupon clearly speaks French and we are told she comes from France. If we didn’t know where she came from, and only that she spoke French, suggest some other countries she might reasonably come from?
The author never tells us where Jonathan lives, but we do get a few clues. List three countries where he might live and explain why each makes sense.
We don’t learn much about French culture in the book, but we do hear a little bit about what kind of foods Jonathan’s Mother and Father would cook with Madame Froupon, when they were children. How is cooking and eating different in France from where you live?
*At this time, Flight of the Pamplemousse is only published in digital format (iPhone and iPad). The app comes complete with nearly 30 pages of immersive illustrations as well as excellent audio narration. In 2012, it was named a Top 20 Essential Storybook App by Digital Media Diet as well as included in the eSpark Digital Curriculum.