1. Show students the cover of Jumanji. (If possible, choose a copy to share that has the Caldecott Award sticker on the cover.) Discuss the Caldecott Award and how it is won by an illustrator ~ best pictures in a picture book for that year. Note the copyright date is 1981. Remind students that the movie was based on the book and not the other way around.
2. Read Jumanji to the class. Be sure to show the pictures. Ask students why they think Van Allsburg may have chosen to do the pictures in black and white. Accept reasonable responses. Tell students to look for "Fritz" as you read. (He is in the third picture as a pull toy.) After reading is complete, ask the following questions to check for comprehension:
Where did Peter and Judy find the game? in the park
What were the "very important" directions? Once a game has been started, it will not be over until one player reaches the Golden City.
Name something that happened during the game. A lion appears on the piano, monkeys are in the kitchen, a monsoon appears, a tour guide arrives, a stampede, large python is on the fireplace, and a volcano erupts, etc.
Who wins the game and makes it to the Golden City? Judy
Show the last picture to students. Ask them to explain what they think is happening. Walter and Danny Budwing are about to take Jumanji home to play themselves.
3. Pass out Figurative Language worksheet to each student. As a group, read the definition and examples of figurative language at the top. Discuss each quotation from the story. Have students circle "like" or "as" in each quotation. Students should write their interpretation of the quotes.
4. If you have multiple copies of the book, have students work together to complete the Selected Response questions to check for comprehension. You may want to collect and grade this or simply check the answers together once the students are finished.
5. If there is extra time, allow students to read some of Chris Van Allsburg's other books. Remind them to work on their Picture Book Reports.
6. Tell students they should be prepared for a test on the Chris Van Allsburg books read in class. There will be multiple choice questions and one essay. Give each student a copy of the essay question so they can prepare. See Essay Test; you will need to cut the questions into strips to give each student. This will give them a chance to think about and prepare an answer to the essay question on the test to be given tomorrow.
Sometimes after reading this book, we have "game time" at recess. I ask students to bring in different games from home (board games, preferably). We spend our recess time playing games.
I have also offered extra credit to students who create their own board game complete with a set of written/typed directions. This has been quite popular especially among fifth and sixth graders. It's a great learning experience; it involves creativity and reinforces writing skills.