Un-Forgettable Friday: The Secrets of The Cheese Syndicate Book Give-away!
August 22, 2009 in Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Middle Grade Novel, Reading Skills, St. Cyr, Donna, Un-Forgettable Friday Tags: Donna St. Cyr, Middle-grade fantasy novel, The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate
Leave a comment by 8:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, August 23 for a chance to win a copy of The Secrets of The Cheese Syndicate!
*Middle-grade novel, fantasy
*13-year-old boy as main character
Rating: The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate is a wild ride through a cheesy world mixed with mythology and adventure. A perfect book for boys–it reminds me a bit of M.T. Anderson’s work.
Short, short summary: Thirteen-year-old Robert Montasio is having a bad day, which gets even worse when his annoying little sister, Janine, drinks a bottle of elixir that Robert finds on the bus. Soon, Robert realizes that Janine is starting to shrink. So, he reads the label on the elixir and is thrown into a fantasy world where cheese holds powers that he never knew it had. Robert meets Madame Gorgonzola who explains a little bit of the secret society of the Cheese Syndicate. He is willing to listen to this stranger and go on an adventure because 1. he needs a cure for his shrunken sister, who now fits in his pocket and 2. he needs to find his dad whom Robert discovers is also a syndicate agent and searching for cheese. On his quest, Robert meets Neptune and Euryale, Medusa’s sister. Along the way, he also begins to have more confidence in himself and realizes that his annoying little sister isn’t so bad after all. What will happen when or if Robert finds the Lost City of Eliki and its cheese?
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Since mythology is woven into the plot of The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate, you may want to discuss some mythology with your students or children. Neptune and Medusa are two well-known figures, and they play roles in this book. If your students know some of the myths, it may help their comprehension and enrich their reading experience. You can also discuss with students or your children why they think Donna St. Cyr included real mythological characters in her fantasy “cheese” world? How does this help or hurt the story? What is their opinion?
2. Most children will be able to relate to the sibling rivalry in the book. If you have a lot of students that are “only” children, they may have had similar experiences with a neighborhood friend or cousin. Ask students to make personal connections between the characters of Janine and Robert in the story and their families by writing about these relatonships in their reading response journals. Why is it important for Janine and Robert to work together? Why is it important for your students to work together with their siblings or friends or cousins?
3. To celebrate the book when you are finished reading it, you can have a cheese tasting and secrets party. Ask parents to donate different kinds of cheese, crackers, and fruit. Make up score sheets for students to taste and rate the different types of cheese. Ask students to make up more rhyming secrets for the Cheese Syndicate, using examples in the book to give them ideas.
4. For more information on the author and her books, check out Donna St. Cyr’s website.
This is a terrific book for middle-grade kids, especially boys, although girls will enjoy it, too! It is a perfect read-aloud book for elementary classrooms. Leave a comment or question for the author, Donna St. Cyr, and you will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate. You can also leave a “pick me” comment.