Mother Bruce

Mother Bruce
Written and Illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins

Publisher’s Summary:
Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes no one and nothing but cooked eggs, but when some eggs he was planning to boil hatch and the goslings believe he is their mother, he must try to make the best of the situation.

Primary Source Pairing:
Bruce, despite his overall grumpiness, does love to cook. He is a chef at heart. For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze a recipe for an egg dish. The recipe above is from my mom’s recipe box. I have fond memories of her making this delicious egg custard during the cold winter months of my childhood growing up in Nebraska. Use the two sides of the recipe included above or take this an opportunity to raid your own recipe box or one of a dear loved one. What egg dishes can you find? Make copies of the recipe so students can hold the small card in their hands. As the lesson allows, invite students to think of egg dishes from their family and whether or not they think Bruce would like it.

Additionally, take the opportunity to talk about recipes as technical texts and how readers read technical texts differently than fiction and some nonfiction. Technical texts do not require immediate comprehension and are designed to be revisited. One would not expect the reader to read the recipe card once and remember all the ingredients and steps. The reader must revisit, review, and reread the technical text for maximum understanding. Invite students to brainstorm other types of technical texts and how a reader reads those. Examples include travel directions, assignment instructions, origami or paper airplane folding directions, and more. What strategies do you use? How are they different than when reading fiction and nonfiction?

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Why do you think this was made?
  • Who do you think the audience is for this image?
  • What can you learn from examining this image?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Recipe card: My lovely mother’s recipe box