When Georges's father loses his job, the other dominoes in Georges's life began to follow. The family has to move to an apartment house in Brooklyn, his mother begins working double shifts in the hospital's ICU unit, and Georges (silent S) is now in middle school where he immediately becomes the target of two 7th grade bullies and feels ostracized by clickish students. Georges mother helps him look at the big picture, just as the painter Georges Seurat (his namesake) did in the painting above his couch, the one made of tiny, shapeless unimportant blobs which, by themselves, are meaningless. As you step back, however, the dots blend together to make a beautiful picture. So, Georges practices ignoring the bullies's attacks and finding balance in the bigger picture.
Fortunately (or unfortunately?) Georges makes friends with a boy named Safer and his eccentric family who live in his apartment house. Safer has begun recruiting members for his "Spy Club." As it turns out, Georges is his first and only member. The Spy Club's first job is to gather information on the mysterious Mr. X who lives on the fourth floor. The first mundane training tasks soon transition into more perilous ones. Georges becomes suspicious of Safer himself who begins to invade his own privacy and then starts to demand that Georges participate with him in possibly dangerous, and even illegal activities. How far will Georges go to please his only friend? Where will he draw the line? Who is the liar? Who is the spy?
Told in Georges's first person voice in the present tense, Liar & Spy gets more and more exciting as the intrigue grows. Funny, often emotional subplots develop, which late in the novel, dare readers to reexamine their understanding of the whole story. Sixth and seventh graders will relate to the problems of middle school and the spy plot, and younger students will relate to Safer's bright younger sister, Candy, and her clever contributions. With an unchallenging vocabulary, often short sentences, and lots of feisty dialog, it's a story that can appeal to everyone as it stimulates problem solving and decision making.
The Kids Wings literature guide by master teacher Suzy Red, comes to you in both PowerPoint and PDF format. The Activities include:
Pre-Reading Discussion Cards
Where in the USA is Buffalo, New York?
2-page, two-voice Readers’ Theater Introduction
Research: How do we taste?
6 Grouped Chapters: Vocabulary & Predict-Read-Confirm Chapter Questions
Visualizing the Story, Comprehension
3 Activities for Turning a Chapter into Dramatic Reading
Multiple Choice and Short-Answer Chapter Questions
Crossword Puzzle: The Plot Thickens
Writing Directions and Rules
Looking Back at the Story Through New Eyes
Sweet Research on Candy's Future
Lies and Truth Game
Conundrums: Table for Analyzing the Story
Discussion and Writing Prompts
Plus, a BONUS Interactive Jeopardy-type Game in PowerPoint format!
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