Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

I love Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. The book has many possibilities. Kevin Henkes packs so many craft moves into this book.  It was one of the first books introduced to me during my Writer’s Workshop training.  I use it as a mentor text in the primary grades.

Kevin Henkes molds an everyday event into a story of forgiveness and restoration. Lilly is a young student who embraces school. She loves the activities and adores her teacher. Mr. Slinger creates an environment of fun and creativity. I love how Kevin Henkes highlights writing and drawing by have a learning station in the classroom. Lilly writes stories of her beloved teacher. One highlighted scene shows Lilly writing her story and saying, “I’m an author!”

Kevin portrays the child-like quality of impatience through Lilly. She has a new purple plastic purse that played music. Her glasses were like Mr. Slingers and her quarters jingled.  She wanted to show her classmates her wonderful, new possessions. Giving in to temptation, Lilly interrupted class to show everyone.

When Mr. Slinger asks for her things, Lilly’s emotions change from sad to furious. She secretly draws a picture of her teacher in an untasteful way. Unknowingly, her teacher writes a note of encouragement and gentle expectation, slipping it into her purse. With forgiveness displayed, Lilly learns a valuable lesson of the power of words.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse:

  • Alliteration – “curly and crunch and cheesy
  • Letter writing/Notes – teaches young children the power of an audience
  • Magic of 3 – using sentences, phrases, and words in groups of threes
  • Speech Bubbles
  • Repeating Line
  • Emotions – “Lilly’s stomach lurched.”
  • Everyday happening – trouble at school; feelings of regret

2 Responses to Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

  1. the other ruth says:

    This is one of my favorites–I just love Lily! Her teacher rocks too.
    Thanks for the thoughts on possible uses for this as mentor texts. Up till now, it was purely a fun read for me, but I think I’ll turn to it for lessons now too.

  2. Stacey says:

    This is such a fantastic book!

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