My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

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My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

by Patricia Polacco

Painted illustrations, wise advice from a grandmother and amusing battles between a younger sister and her rotten brother, are all charmingly portrayed in this timeless tale of “anything you can do, I can do better.”

Introduce the book and tell the children a little bit about it. Follow that with a comment or question
that is related to the story such as, Have you ever played a trick on someone? How did it make them
feel? Encourage a discussion so the children can comment, ask questions, and express their feelings.
Set the stage for listening by asking an “I wonder” statement based on the cover illustration.
• I wonder what the boy ate that made him spit like that?

Encourage the children to comment on the illustrations, ask questions, and predict what
will happen next in the story. Children gain confidence and a sense of achievement
through being able to correctly predict how a story will end. Point out “rare words” (e.g.,
those words that are not commonly used in every day conversation) and help the
children relate the meaning in a way that makes sense to them.

Rare Words in My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
• ordinary: common, everyday kind of thing
• magical: produced by magic, wonderful
• challenged: with particular impairment
• rotten: decayed, affected by rot or decay
• sneered: expression of scorn or hostility in which your upper lip may be raised
• inspired: extraordinarily good, creative and brilliant
• cooed: make sound of a pigeon
• rhubarb: plant with edible stalks, pink and cooked as fruit
• sourest: sharp-tasting, having a tart, acidic taste
• puckers: gather into wrinkles around the lips
• consoled: to provide a source of comfort to somebody who is distressed or disappointed
• weasel: small animal with long body, short legs and small eyes
• carnival: public celebration, festive occasion with costumes, music and dancing
• incredible: beyond belief, amazing
• carousel: same as a merry-go-round


Taste Testing
You will need: bread, rhubarb jam/jelly and other fruit flavored jam/jelly
After reading the story, show the children pictures of a rhubarb plant. Talk about the characteristics
of the plant and what it is used for. Hand out bread slices to each child and put some rhubarb jelly
or jam on it. Have the children sample the fruit and describe what it tastes like.

Extra activity
If desired, compare the fruit with others the children might like. For example, grape, strawberry,
cherry or peach jelly/jam.


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