I love when libraries put books on sale or when our school librarian pulls books to be discarded that we can take for free. Recently when that occurred, I picked up The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket without really checking into it. When I finally got around to reading it, I was delighted and knew I just had to use the book for this week’s mentor text.
This week’s mentor text is called The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket by Sonia Levitin. This book is about a man who got hurt one time and decided it was important for him to keep his heart nearby and safe. Therefore he kept his heart in a bucket that he traveled around with. This man was completing tasks for other people, such as the baker, the musician, and a family. However because he carried his heart around protected, he wasn’t able to see things, feel things, or enjoy things as much. One day he ran across a maiden who stole his heart — literally! The only way he could get it back was by solving his riddle. The ironic thing was, solving the riddle put his heart exactly where it needed to be – and caused the man and maiden to fall in love.
At first read, I was thinking I know my third graders aren’t always hip on that “lovey-dovey” stuff, but I don’t think there is too much of that in here. What I did notice is how easy it was for me as a reader to ask questions as I was reading, along with noticing the parallels between figurative and literal concepts. How often do we as teachers struggle with getting students to understand that “line” between figurative and literal language? This book would be a great book to explore that. Additionally, it could be used to discuss story elements and theme and, even more excitingly, character change, because there is definitely a lot of that!