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FRAGGLE ROCK

Season One, Disc One



                          EPISODES

                "Beginnings"
                "Wembley and the Gorgs"
                "Let the Water Run"
                "You Can't Do that Without a Hat"
                "The Thirty-Minute Work Week"
                "The Preachification of Convincing John"


         See also "Postcards", A Bedtime Story, at the end of this Guide.

At a Glance  —  Age: 3 - 8; TV Parental Guideline Ratings: TV-Y -- suitable for all children; Animated TV Series; 1983; Color; Available at Amazon.com.

Description  —   These episodes are from the first season of the wonderful television series featuring the cuddly inhabitants of Fraggle Rock. Jim Henson was the creator of this series.

Benefits  —   "Fraggle Rock" contains excellent social and emotional learning for young children, served up with catchy music and dance numbers.




BEGINNINGS

Summary:    Accompanied by his faithful dog Sprocket, an inventor named Doc is converting an old storage room into a workshop. While moving out some boxes, Doc uncovers a large hole in a wall, but he thinks nothing of it. Little does he know that this hole leads to a magical land called Fraggle Rock.

The main Fraggle characters are Uncle Matt, Gobo, Red, Wembley, Boober and Mokey. When Uncle Matt explores the far reaches of Fraggle Rock, he finds the hole into Doc's workshop and thinks he's discovered outer space. Uncle Matt sets off through the hole and from there into the world beyond, but before he goes, Uncle Matt makes his nephew Gobo promise to pick up the postcards that he intends to send to the workshop. When Sprocket starts growling at the other end of the hole, Gobo begins to regret his promise. The first episode of Fraggle Rock tells the story of how Gobo meets this challenge.

Conversation Starters:
    Why did Uncle Matt think that Doc's workshop was outer space?

    If you could explore anything -- past, present, future or make believe -- what would it be?

    Have you ever explored a mysterious place? Tell me about it. [Ask the same question but substitute one of the following for "mysterious": beautiful, scary, or exciting. Adults can also share mysterious, beautiful, scary or exciting experiences that they may have had.]

    Fraggle Rock is a weird place. What's the weirdest thing about it? [Adults can also describe what they think is weird about Fraggle Rock.]

    What do you think it would be like in the real outer space? [Follow up with an imaginative discussion of what it would be like to travel to other planets or what might be found in outer space and what a person could feel, hear, see or smell out there].

    Uncle Matt is fearless and embarks on his exploration through the opening in the wall, even though he has to get by Sprocket, the fearsome dog. Gobo promises to help his Uncle, but Gobo is not fearless. Actually, Gobo is scared out of his wits by Sprocket and doesn't think he can get by Sprocket to retrieve the postcards. What would you have done if you were Gobo? Why would you have done that?

    Have you ever made a promise to do something and then been scared to keep your promise? Why were you scared? What happened? [Adults can describe situations in which fulfilling a promise required a lot of courage.]
For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Talking for Growth With Family Movies.


Fraggle Vocabulary:    Make up sentences using these words and then draw what they mean, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in stories you tell to your child.
weird, totally mysterious, volcanic, opening, outer space, final frontier, embark, big honor, fearless, dignified, intellectual, pinnacle, physical prowess, legend, destiny

Games and Activities:     Singing and Dancing with Fraggle Rock.


WEMBLEY AND THE GORGS

Summary:     Wembley seems to agree with everyone, never having an opinion of his own. When he is captured by the Gorgs, he charms them by being agreeable about everything. However, the limits of Wembley's agreeableness are tested when Junior Gorg captures Wembley's friends and the Gorgs won't let them go.

Conversation Starters:
    Do you think the Gorgs are scary? What's scary about them? Is there anything nice about the Gorgs? Are the King and Queen nice? Why does Junior want to catch Fraggles all the time?

    Junior keeps the Fraggles locked away for his own amusement. Do we ever do things like this to creatures from our garden (ants, butterflies, spiders, fireflies, etc)?

    Why did it take so long for Wembley to realize that he was becoming a slave?

    Uncle Matt thinks that kites are being captured by the people flying them. Have you ever flown a kite? What was it like?
For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies

Fraggle Vocabulary:     Make up sentences using these words and then draw them, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in stories you tell to your child.
catalog, walking stick, mosey, agony, dingy, dangerous, royal subjects, bowing, groveling, memorial stone
Games and Activities:     Remember to sing and dance with Fraggle Rock.
    When Uncle Matt goes to what he calls, "outer space", he always comes across things that are new to him. We see and use these things every day but Uncle Matt doesn't know what they are. Find something around the house that a Fraggle would not be familiar with or take a walk in your neighborhood and look for "mysterious objects" that a Fraggle would see as something other than what they really are. Imagine what Uncle Matt would think about these objects. For example, Uncle Matt might think that a big tree is a scary monster or that a slide is a big tongue, or that sidewalk chalk drawings are important instructions.

    Select a few common household objects (for instance: a spatula, a big pot, a remote control, some spaghetti). Set them out for your child, along with some paper and crayons. The two of you can then try to draw on one side of a piece of paper the object as we see it. Then flip the paper over and draw the object as a Fraggle might see it (the spatula can become a back scratcher, the big pot could be a military helmet, the remote control could be a walkie-talkie for other planets and the spaghetti could become a wig).

    Try making a kite with your child. Look online for kite making ideas. Take it out and fly it.

    While you play these games, remember to have imaginative and lively conversations with your child.


LET THE WATER RUN

Summary: Red is having a Swimming Extravaganza, and decides that she doesn't need help setting up or making posters, which hurts her friends' feelings. Will Red change her tune when the water suddenly stops flowing, and she has to cancel the event?

Conversation Starters:
    Red thinks she can put on her show all by herself. Was she right or wrong? Does she ever ask for help? (Yes, from Gobo to help her get the umbrella, but she wants to do most of the preparation herself.)

    Wembley's feelings were hurt when Red wouldn't even look at the poster he made for her. How did Red make it right?

    Uncle Matt thinks that the "silly creatures" (humans) cause water to fall from the sky with their umbrellas, when they turn them upside down. Why does rain actually fall? And how do umbrellas really work?

    For children 3 - 8: Play concept games with the concept of cause and effect. Tell your child, "The sun and the light come at the same time every day. We think that the sun causes the light. How do we know that the light doesn't cause the sun to rise? When it rains, there are almost always dark clouds in the sky. How do we know that the clouds bring the rain? Couldn't the clouds be chasing the rain and trying to stop it? When we get under the covers at night, the bed warms up. Since blankets aren't alive, we know that the heat has to come from our bodies. But does the blanket trap heat that our bodies give off or does it signal our bodies to make more heat?

For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies

Fraggle Vocabulary:     Make up sentences using these words and then draw them, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in stories you tell to your child.
adjustable wrench, boiler, gasket, publicity campaign, lily pads, pipes (water pipes), sire, royal ancestor, lecture
Games and Activities:     Remember to sing and dance with Fraggle Rock.
    Word Diary:    Some people keep diaries of things they have seen or learned. Keep a vocabulary diary with your child. Pick three or four words from the Fraggle Vocabulary for each episode and write them down in the diary. If your child can write, he or she can copy down the words. Then have your child choose their favorite word and put a star by it. Pick the longest word, and put a circle next to it. Pick the shortest word and put a square next to it. The diary can have pictures of the words, definitions, synonyms, or anything else your child wants to add. As you create the diary, make up short paragraphs or sentences using the vocabulary words.

    While you make entries in the diary, have imaginative and lively conversations with your child.


YOU CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT A HAT

Summary: Boober thinks he is a big coward, so he goes to the Trash Heap for advice. She tells him that he'll always be brave as long as he wears his hat. Boober finally feels brave, daring and bold... that is, until he loses his hat.

Conversation Starters:
    Did you notice that Gobo took the "stave shaver" that Doc was looking for? (Explain what a stave is and why it is shaved.) What did you think about the fact that Gobo took the stave shaver? Should we take things from people without asking? What happened to Sprocket because Gobo took the stave shaver?

    Boober thinks he is a "worthless coward" and wants to be "brave, daring and bold". The Trash Heap tells him that he will be brave only if he wears his hat, something he had been doing the whole time. But after that, whenever Boober wore his hat, he was very brave. Was Boober's hat really what made him brave or was it something else? [For children who have seen The Wizard of Oz remind them of how the Cowardly Lion got his courage and how Scarecrow became wise. Talk about the similarities among these stories.]

    Uncle Matt gets a treasure (a coin) and accidentally exchanges it for a donut, which gets eaten by a dog. If you had a coin, what would you like to trade it for?

For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies


Fraggle Vocabulary:     Make up sentences using these words and then draw them, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in stories you tell to your children and make entries in your word diary.
barrel, scrape the bottom of the barrel, dangerous, gong, coward, brave, daring, bold, the coast is clear, newfound bravado, exhausting, treasure
Games and Activities:     Remember to sing and dance with Fraggle Rock.
    Gather up coins in different denominations. Have kids arrange them from biggest in size to smallest in size, and talk about how much each coin is worth. Explain that five pennies are the same as one nickel and two nickels are the same as one dime. Show the different faces on the coins. The next time you go out, allow your child to purchase something small. It can be something he or she needs or it can be a treat. Give enough money to purchase the item and then help count out the money and count the change. Eventually, your child will be able to perform the entire transaction. Over time, expand the denominations that you provide and allow your child to make more important purchases.

    Remember to have imaginative and lively conversations with your child during these activities.


THE THIRTY-MINUTE WORK WEEK

Summary: Every Fraggle has to have a job, whether it's picking radishes, doing the laundry, or swimming. The complication in the episode is that Wembley can't decide which job he wants.

Conversation Starters:
    Is there something Sprocket could have done to make his soup/donut choice easier? (He could have split each flavor in half and shared with Doc. Then he would get to try both kinds.)

    Why do you think Boober said mean things to Wembley before his firefighter interview?
For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies

Fraggle Vocabulary:     Make up sentences using these words and then draw them, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in the stories you tell your child and make entries in your word diary.
custard, decision, tedium, drudgery, duties, work week, transportation systems, rapid, wishy-washy, ladders, hoses, suspenders, sirens, axes
Games and Activities:     Remember to sing and dance with Fraggle Rock.
    Ask kids what they want to be when they get older, and share what you used to want to be as well. Then play a guessing game using jobs that kids know something about and some they know nothing about. Give hints about what the occupation does, and see if your child can guess what job you are talking about. For instance: "I help people feel better when they are sick" / doctor, "I help children learn their ABCs" / teacher. You can also use the occupations listed in the episode: radish collector, launder, swimmer/splasher, accountant, farmer, shoe salesman, prime minister, firefighter.

    Uncle Matt rides a roller coaster, thinking that it's the Silly Creatures' preferred mode of transportation. You can pretend to be on a roller coaster. Line up and put your arms on the shoulders of the person in front of you. The person at the head of the line is the leader. He or she runs as fast as possible, and everyone must hold on!

    It is always interesting to look back on the things we thought and believed when we were little. If you haven't started one already, keep a binder about your child, and every few months, record the following: age, height, weight, favorite food, favorite friend, favorite game to play, and "what do I want to be when I get older?" You can use 3-ring plastic pockets to keep a yearly picture of your child, as well as a drawing by your child of him or herself. If you write with a dark marker, kids can also color on the "information" pages. Over the years, some answers will change, and some will stay the same, and it will always be fun to go over your special book!

    While you play these games, remember to have imaginative and lively conversations with your child.


THE PREACHIFICATION OF CONVINCING JOHN

Summary: Mokey decides that it is wrong for the Fraggles to eat Doozer constructions, so she enlists the help of Convincing John, a Fraggle who can convince anyone to do anything. What Mokey doesn't know is that the Doozers rely on the Fraggles to eat their constructions, so that they can build more. If they can't build, they can't live in Fraggle Rock.

Conversation Starters:
    What do you think Doozer constructions are made from? If you were a Fraggle and had to eat Doozer constructions, what would you want them to taste like?

    Why did Mokey think that the Fraggles should stop eating Doozer constructions? Was she right?
For more ideas to spark family discussions, visit Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies


Fraggle Vocabulary: Make up sentences using these words and then draw them, act them out, dance them, or write them down. Use the words in the stories you tell your child or make entries in your word diary.
coffee grinder, diary, terrible, caterpillars, construction, belly flop, delicious, solemn oath, sworn, rituals, destiny, to release
Games and Activities:     Remember to sing and dance with Fraggle Rock.
    Uncle Matt visits a construction site and it reminds him of the Doozers. You can build your own tower with things like building blocks, empty boxes or plastic jars, a deck of cards, and even pillows and blankets. See who can build the tallest tower, without it falling down!

    Some people keep diaries for "special private secret thoughts" like Doc says, but some people keep diaries or journals about day to day events, to remember what they did as they get older. Doc thinks that "everyone should keep a diary". Make a diary/journal with your child for one week. You can keep one in a notebook, or staple blank pieces of paper together to make a small book. Write down all the fun things you did together, interesting things you found, good questions you talked about. Your child can color on the pages and you can write over the pictures with a dark marker, just like Mokey, who draws pictures in her diary. Older children can practice writing and spelling by writing the entries themselves, or writing choice words from the entry and drawing pictures of what the word means. Your child might find keeping the diary to be wonderfully fun and stick with it for a long time.

    While you play these games, remember to have imaginative and lively conversations with your child.


STORY TIME

Stories are essential tools for verbal development, social-emotional learning, and character education. Intentional parents can use family movies as a basis for storytelling.
    Repeat the story of an episode at bedtime, on a rainy day, or at any quiet time. Let your child correct you if you make a mistake and, better yet, encourage your child to tell you the story.

    Both of you can invent new adventures for the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs. Invent new characters and create situations that are not in the episodes. Weave the same new characters through many of your own stories based on Fraggle Rock.

For tips on story telling, go to How to Tell Bedtime Stories . . . Any Time.

Here is a story to read to your child. Before starting the story, have your child help you to print out copies of the pictures referred to in the story.
POSTCARDS
Carlos didn't have any brothers or sisters, but he did have a lot of aunts and uncles. While they were all nice, Carlos' favorite was Aunt Isabel. She was young and pretty with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She worked in an art museum where people would come from all over the world to look at the paintings of famous artists. Aunt Isabel lived nearby and on Saturdays, she arranged her schedule so that she could come over and spend time with Carlos. They would drink hot chocolate and sit close together on the couch. Sometimes Aunt Isabel would bring Carlos pictures of the paintings that were in the museum. She would tell him about the artists who painted them and explain why she thought the painting was beautiful. Her favorite hobby was astronomy and Aunt Isabel would tell Carlos about the planets and stars that she saw when she went to Friday night meetings of her astronomy club. Carlos couldn't wait until he was old enough to go with Aunt Isabel and look into the night sky through a big telescope.

Carlos loved it when Aunt Isabel brought pictures of the paintings and talked about the stars, but his favorite thing to do with Aunt Isabel was to watch "Fraggle Rock". They watched an episode every Saturday and when the Fraggles sang and danced, Carlos and Aunt Isabel would carefully put their mugs of cocoa on the table at the end of the couch and dance to the music. Aunt Isabel was the best dancer Carlos had ever seen.

Carlos always laughed at Gobo's Uncle, Traveling Matt. Carlos and his aunt would keep a list in a special diary of all the words that Uncle Matt used that Carlos didn't know how to spell, like "outer space". Aunt Isabel would write out the word, Carlos would draw a small picture next to it and then write the word out beside it. Saturday mornings were always Carlos' favorite time of the week.

Then one Saturday, Aunt Isabel didn't show up. Carlos asked his mother if maybe it wasn't really Saturday, if maybe it was actually Friday, and he had gotten confused. Carlos' mother motioned for him to sit at the kitchen table. She sat down next to him and said, "Honey, I'm sorry. Aunt Isabel had to go out of town for work. She's going to be gone for a long time. I just didn't know how to tell you." Carlos felt hot tears in his eyes and put his head down on the table. But then his mom squeezed his arm and said, "Oh! I forgot!" She jumped up and pulled open a drawer, taking out an orange envelope. She placed it on the table in front of Carlos. He peeked up at it. "CARLOS" was written on it in graceful black letters. It was Aunt Isabel's handwriting!

Carlos wiped his eyes and tore the envelope open. Inside was a postcard, just like the cards that Uncle Matt left for Gobo. "Dear Carlos," the card read, "I'm so sorry that I have to miss our special Saturday mornings. But I have a secret to tell you. You might think I'm traveling for my job… but I'm really exploring outer space!" Carlos' eyes widened. Could this be true? "I don't have time to write much more, but every Saturday, keep an eye on your mailbox. Love, Aunt Isabel."

Carlos read and reread his card. Is Aunt Isabel really exploring outer space? And what did she mean by "keep an eye on your mailbox"? Today was Saturday. Should he keep an eye on his mailbox today? He thought hard until he heard his mother coming back into the kitchen. He stuffed the card into his sweatshirt and jumped up from the chair. "Bye Mom! I'm going to play in the yard."

But instead of playing, Carlos sat right next to the driveway, underneath his mailbox. He was waiting for the mailman.

As the sun slowly got higher and higher in the sky, Carlos was getting bored. "What time does the mail come, anyway?" he thought to himself. Carlos pulled at blades of grass. He picked up some sticks and leaves and made a small fort. Just as the pine cones were about to invade, he heard something jingling. He looked to the left, squinting his eyes but there was nothing there. He turned to the right and jumped; right in front of him was the mailman!

"Why hello there," said the mailman, "Waiting for the mail today? Waiting for something special?"

Carlos nodded. "Yeah, I'm waiting for a postcard from my Aunt Isabel. She's traveling through outer spa-," Carlos stopped himself, not wanting to give away his secret, "I mean for work. She's traveling for work."

The mailman nodded absentmindedly as he shuffled through his stack of mail. He tossed some thick envelopes, some thin envelopes and a couple of magazines into Carlos' mailbox. "No postcard?" Carlos asked quietly.

"Nope, not today, son. No postcard today." The mailman waved goodbye to Carlos and as he did, something flew from his sleeve. He looked surprised, and picked up a small glossy card from the ground. "I stand corrected. Are you Carlos?" he said with a smile. Carlos nodded "yes" and put out his hand for the postcard.

Carlos could hardly contain his excitement. Sputtering out a "thanks" and "goodbye" he ran into the house, leapt onto the couch, and looked at the picture on the back of the card. It was nothing he'd ever seen before. It showed a gigantic ball of fire, with smaller balls to the right of it with the paths of their orbits around the ball of fire shown by purple lines. The smaller balls were different colors, one was reddish-brown, one was orange, two were blue and another one was mostly blue but also had white on it. Carlos ran his fingers from the ball of fire to the other circles. "Pretty cool," he thought.

He turned the postcard over and read "Dear Carlos, Happy Saturday! This is our Solar System. We live on the third planet from the Sun. That's the blue and white one. The blue is the ocean and the white is the clouds. I'm looking at it right now, as I write this. Outer space is a funny thing. It's very quiet, and dark, but then you come across something as gorgeous as this. Love, Aunt Isabel."

Carlos turned the words over with his tongue. "So-lar Sys-tem," he said aloud. He turned the card back over and counted three planets from the sun. There was the blue circle with the white clouds.
Click here and here for views of the solar system.
Every Saturday, Carlos would wait for the mailman. If it was raining, he would stand at the window looking out. On hot days, Carlos would wait outside with a glass of lemonade to give to the mailman. And every Saturday, he received a postcard. Every Sunday, he would take out all of the postcards he'd received so far and lay them out in a line on his bed. He would look at each one carefully, first at the picture and then at the writing. He kept all of his postcards under his bed, inside a shoe box.

Some of the postcards were normal, with a short message like "Dear Carlos, Not much time to write today, I've got to fix the wing of our ship! Love, Aunt Isabel." But others were longer, stranger, and more interesting.

Like yesterday's. It showed two boys at what looked like a beach, dressed in clothes very different from clothing people wear nowadays. They were carrying a bucket together and there was a sailboat behind them, but it didn't have any sails. And although the scene looked like it was on the shore of an ocean, the picture on the card didn't show any water. Then Carlos gasped. Was that a shark on the ground in front of them? Carlos wondered what he would do if he saw a shark on the ground, right in front of him. "Dear Carlos," the back of the postcard read, "I made some new friends today. I think you'd really like them, too. You wouldn't believe what they carry around in that bucket of theirs. And that shark! Well, that's their best friend! We're going to go sand sailing tonight. It's a blast! Love, Aunt Isabel."

"A shark as your best friend?" thought Carlos. He figured that those boys must be pretty brave. And "sand sailing"? Carlos couldn't quite work out what that meant, but he thought maybe the boys and Aunt Isabel would be using that boat. He wondered if the boys were the captains of the ship. He smiled. Aunt Isabel was right -- he would definitely like them!
See the picture entitled "A Basket of Clams" and learn more about the artist who painted it in the Learning Guide to Winslow Homer: An American Original.
The next Saturday's postcard was also sort of strange. It showed a girl in a ballerina costume, posing. Carlos could see the feet and tutus of other ballerinas standing behind her, in some sort of orangey brown wall. Carlos thought for a minute and then realized that maybe the main ballerina was on stage, and the other ballerinas were waiting in the curtains for their turn to dance. But something else caught Carlos' eye: it was a man, who looked like he was wearing a black suit. He was standing back in the curtains and you couldn't see his face. "What's he doing up there?" Carlos wondered aloud.

Carlos flipped the postcard over and read, "Dear Carlos, Today I saw a show, and oh, what a splendid show it was! There was lots of twirling and spinning, and even you would have liked it, especially when the sword dancers came out!" Carlos' eyes widened. He continued reading. "This picture shows a dancer named 'The Star'. The man behind her is a magician, and he has cast a spell on her. She's dancing now, forever. We all wonder when she'll be finished spinning so that she can bow to the applause of her audience. Love, Aunt Isabel." Carlos looked again at the front of the card and stared at the man. He couldn't tell if the ballerina was happy being twirled forever or not. She looked like she was smiling, so maybe she was happy. And Carlos would sure like to meet a magician.
See the picture entitled "L'Etoile" and learn more about the artist who painted it in the Learning Guide to Degas and the Dancer.
Another postcard seemed less mysterious. It showed a woman and a girl sitting in a boat. The woman was peering over the edge of the boat, into the water. A couple of ducks paddled around them. Carlos shrugged. He didn't know what was so special about this postcard. "Dear Carlos," Aunt Isabel had written, "Have you ever gone in search of treasure?" Carlos furrowed his brow. What was Aunt Isabel talking about? "Well, my dear Carlos! Have I got a story for you! These two ladies are searching for treasure. Legend has it, a big storm struck here a long, long time ago. In the storm, many ships were lost, and many treasure chests sunk to the bottom of the sea. Every year, pieces of gold and a couple of rubies wash up on the shore. But these ladies, my new friends, believe that they have located seven treasure chests underneath the water. We're going to go diving later to find out! Wish me luck, and if we find it, I'll send you a gold coin! Love, Aunt Isabel."

"Whoa!" yelled Carlos. His mom poked her head into his room.

"Everything okay in here?" she asked.

"We're gonna be rich!" he said, as he jumped up and down on his bed. His mom raised an eyebrow and smiled. Carlos blushed. "Er, never mind, Mom," said Carlos. She looked a little confused, but shrugged her shoulders and walked away. Carlos took another look at the picture on the postcard. Now that he looked more closely, he noticed that the water wasn't just flat, blue water. It shimmered with different colors. It was darker in some places, lighter in others. Pockets of blue and green and brown appeared on the surface. And yes, spots of gold! Carlos gasped. He couldn't wait to get his gold coin, but in the meantime, he decided he'd better not tell anybody about Aunt Isabel's treasure- just in case there were any pirates listening.
See the picture entitled "Summertime" and learn more about the artist who painted it at the Learning Guide to Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist.
The postcards continued for what felt like ages. And still, every Saturday Carlos anxiously awaited the mail, and carefully set the new postcard on top of the others in the shoe box that he kept under the bed. Then one day, Carlos received a postcard that made him just a little sad but very happy, too. The postcard read, "Dear Carlos, This will be my last postcard to you. I am finally coming home. I will see you soon. For now, look at this postcard and you will see how marvelous a place, and how wonderful a people, I am leaving."
Ask your child, "Why do you think the message on the postcard made Carlos a little sad? After all, it told him that Aunt Isabel was coming home."
Carlos stopped reading and looked at the image. It showed three figures, one holding a guitar, one playing a clarinet and one holding pieces of paper with music notes on it. Their eyes were just black dots, and their bodies looked like they were made from building blocks that were sort of jumbled. Carlos couldn't imagine what kind of music this band would play! Aunt Isabel wrote that this was a band she had seen every weekend, at her favorite nightclub. They played all types of music, fast songs that you jumped up and down to, slow songs that you wiggled around to, and goofy songs that made everybody laugh.
See this picture by clicking here.
Aunt Isabel wrote that her favorite type of music is puzzle music. It is when the building block faces and bodies of the orchestra in the picture switch around, a head over here, an arm over there. They would play the guitar with eyelashes, or the clarinet with a toe, and they could sing with an elbow. Puzzle people! Carlos thought this sounded awesome! He got out a pad of paper and drew a picture of himself as a collection of blocks. Then he cut out his eyes, nose, mouth, arms and legs from the picture. He moved them around his body, looking at all of the different combinations he could find. "Aunt Isabel sure knows some cool people!" he thought to himself. He looked back at the postcard and began to sing, making up the songs and music he thought a puzzle band might play.

This was Carlos' favorite postcard by far. "Wow," he whispered to himself. Out of all of things on the postcards Aunt Isabel had sent, this was the one that Carlos wanted to see for himself. And instead of gently slipping the card into his shoe box, Carlos tucked it under his pillow and kept it there while he slept.

The next week was the longest week of Carlos' life. Time went by more slowly than it did during the week before Christmas. Carlos couldn't wait for each day to end because the coming of night brought him one day closer to Saturday.

The next Saturday morning Carlos felt a nudge. He didn't want to wake up. It was too early. He groaned and rolled over on his side. He felt a nudge again. And then he heard a voice say, "Well get up already, sleepy head! It's almost time for 'Fraggle Rock'!"

Carlos' eyes shot wide open. Aunt Isabel! He leapt out of bed and gave her a great big hug. She hugged him back, squeezing tightly, then set him back down on the bed. "But first," she said, "I have a present." She stepped into the hallway and returned with a large rectangle, wrapped up in newspaper.

"For me?" Carlos asked. Aunt Isabel nodded and motioned for him to open the package. He tore into the paper revealing a frame. Inside the frame was that last postcard, his favorite, but bigger, much bigger.

"It's for your bedroom, to hang on the wall," said Aunt Isabel.

"How did you know?" asked Carlos excitedly, "This was my favorite!"

Aunt Isabel chuckled. "I had a feeling," she said. "Oh, and I brought you this, too." She pulled out a small, thick book. Carlos flipped through the pages. Each page had one of his postcards on it.

Before Carlos could ask how she got all of her postcards in a book, Aunt Isabel was off, skipping down the hall. "Come on, Carlos!" she shouted. Carlos laughed and tossed the book on his bed. Just as he was about to leave the room, he saw a gold coin roll out of the book and onto the floor. He couldn't believe his eyes. Aunt Isabel called for him again. His face broke into a giant grin and he ran to the living room just in time to start dancing with Aunt Isabel to the opening song of the next episode of "Fraggle Rock".



Talking and playing based on family movies is an excellent way to enhance verbal skills and foster social and emotional learning. It's also a great opportunity for character education and increases communication between parent and child. When fathers and mothers make entertainment an engine for their child's growth and development, they are practicing intentional parenting at its best.
Check out TWM's Index of Guides to Talking and Playing with Movies.

Use movies to supplement curriculum and to inspire and educate children in grades K - 12. Go to TeachWithMovies.com.

This web page was written by Lauren Humphrey and James Frieden. It was last updated on July 25, 2009.

© by TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. DVD covers are shown by permission of Amazon.com. "TeachWithMovies.org", "TeachWithMovies.com", "Talking and Playing with Movies", and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

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