Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald has written dozens of books for children, including picture books, historical fiction, mystery, and series books for beginning readers. She is probably best known for the delightful adventures of Judy Moody and her little brother, Stink — now translated into more than 20 languages ('Fleur Humeur' in French!). But have you met Amanda Frankenstein who loves bugs and nothing but bugs? Or the hermit crab who is searching high and low for the perfect home?

Prompt for Grades K-2 (Level I)

Practical Jokes

Megan McDonald's spunky and all-too-real protagonist, Judy Moody, once played a great practical joke on her younger brother Stink when she puts a fake hand in the toilet (something McDonald actually did to her one of her own sisters). When Stink discovers the stray hand… "he burst out of the bathroom, [Uncle Sam] hat crashing to the floor, stars flying…" Have you ever played a practical joke on someone? Tell us about it, or make up a new one that you would love to try on a family member.

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Animal Homes: Prompt for Grades 3-5 (Level II)

Hermit Crab

In McDonald's first book, Is This a House for a Hermit Crab?, readers are introduced to Hermit Crab who has outgrown his home. He crawls along the sand "scritch-scatch, scritch-scratch" searching for a new place to live. A tin can is too noisy, a plastic bucket is too big. Nothing feels just right until he takes shelter inside an empty sea snail's shell. Select an animal that fascinates you and find out about its habitat, life cycle, behavior, social structure — and its home. Is it a cave, hive, nest, burrow, or tree hollow? Take the point of view of the animal and write a one-page descriptive essay using specific details and rich language to describe your home and why it's perfect for you. Include a drawing if you wish.

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Prompt for Grades 6-8 (Level III)


McDonald has lots of fun with idioms in Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker, featuring Judy Moody's pesky 7-year-old brother. 'Like a kid in a candy store,' 'when it rains, it pours,' 'mad as a hornet' …there are 36 of them sprinkled throughout the story. Talk about the use of figurative language in texts. Select and research the history of one English idiom, and write a one-page piece that includes the following:

Part I: a colorful anecdote or short story with your own explanation of the origin of the idiom
Part II: a brief, true history of the idiom and what it means (cite your source)

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Prompt for Grades 9-12 (Level IV)


McDonald's fiction and nonfiction books reveal a deep interest in insects, reptiles, crustaceans, and other living creatures. In this writing challenge, you'll be creating a page spread from "The Insect Guidebook" or "The Reptile Guidebook." Select and research an insect or reptile you would like to know more about. Components of the page spread include: 1-2 images with captions and labeling; map (optional); subheads; expository text that describes where this critter lives, what it eats, social structure, what kind of home it has and how it behaves; scientific name; and a 'fun facts' callout box. Think about the layout of your page and how you help the reader scan and absorb different 'levels' of information. Submit your final page spread as a PDF or jpeg file.

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More about the Megan McDonald

More about descriptive writing and voice

Resources and books about animal homes

More about idioms

More about informational text and expository writing

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