Author: Carol Otis Hurst
Illustrator: James Stevenson
Type of Illustration
Pen and watercolor washes.
Watercolor painting is so much fun! There's watercolor pencils available now that are really cool. You just draw and color with them and then add a wet brush to turn it into paint. But the good old $1 variety watercolors work great too. Using a watercolor paper really can elevate the art to the frame worthy level. You can help out the younger ones by drawing something for them with pen, say a close up of a rose, then let them paint the flower. You can also always turn to the internet and print a line drawing for them to paint as well. It's good to make sure they understand how to not mix their paints and to rinse their brush in between changing colors, otherwise they will end up with a whole bunch of black paint. That being said, they can also learn to mix their paints to get new colors. Framed watercolor paintings by your kiddos make great gifts for their grandparents!
Here's a blog with 32 Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas for Kids for further inspiration.
The stock market crashed in late October 1929.
Active Game or Activity
Go rock collecting and let the kids start a collection of their own. See how many different types, sizes and colors you can find. Checking out a rock and mineral identification book from the library would be a good idea. Have an old toothbrush handy so the kids can clean and shine their rocks like Mr. Hurst did. You can also gather some rocks ahead of time and let the kids paint them. It's fun to see what kids can come up with to paint on the different shaped rocks. Permanent markers also work well on rocks... if you dare.
Your rock collection can be organized by color or size, as in smallest to largest etc.
Armory St. in Springfield, Massachusetts is where Mr. Hurst had Antler Filling Station. We don't know the address but you can find Armory Street on a map. On Google Maps you can see a “street view” of it! Can you figure out how many miles away it is from your house? How many states would you have to go through to get to MA? Mark Springfield, Massachusetts on your US map and draw a line from your town to Springfield along your chosen route. You could draw a rock on Springfield, put an H on it for Hurst or just circle it. Mark it anyway you like so that you will remember that Springfield, MA is where this book took place.
Search and Find
Mop and bucket
Do you like to collect anything? If not, is there anything you might like to collect?
Do you know anyone who collects something?
What did Mr. Hurst use the toothbrush for?
What color are the gas pumps at the Antler Filling Station?
Do you think Mr. Hurst was happy to have a job working with rocks?
What game did Mr. Hurst like to play at his filling station?
What do you think it means for grandfather to “mind” the filling station?
(Some of these research suggestion may require you to teach your child how to search for these answers online. If your child is too young then you can simply do the research ahead of time and share it with them, getting their ideas and input as you go.)
Count the labeled rocks on the pages in the book. Which page has the most rocks?
Who was Henry Ford?
Can you find out what year the Model T came out? You can add that to your timeline if you like. Perhaps draw a picture of the Model T for that year.
How many of them were sold when they first came out?
Have you ever heard someone say you have ants in your pants? That is similar to people saying Mr. Hurst had rocks in his head. These terms are called idioms, which means that the words are not to be taken literally. Ants in your pants means you can't sit still, but there are no ants in your pants.. hopefully! What do you think the term rocks in his head means? Can you think of some other idioms? Growing like a weed may be one kiddos have hear before!
Find photographs online of a Model T and a Packard Touring car. Which car do you think cost more money at the time? Can you find out if your guess is correct? How much do these cars sell for now?
Learn more about the stock market crash of 1929 and the "Great Depression" that followed. This looks like a good site to learn more on but I have not checked out every page: http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/money_01.html http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/life_04.html
Mineralogy is the scientific study of minerals. There are lots of labeled rocks in the book. Do a web search on some of those and see what they look like in photographs.
As suggested above, find a good book at the library on identifying rocks and minerals and go rock hunting. How many different types can you find?
Put your favorite rock in your treasure box so that you will remember Mr. Hurst and his love of collecting rocks.
Filling stations... People didn't used to pump their own gas. When you would pull in someone would come out and do it for you! They would also clean your windshield while the car was filling up.
When Mr. Hurst was a little boy he thought he would grow up and have “something to do with rocks.” He was right! What do you think you will have something to do with when you grow up?