The Vegetable Museum
Summary: Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years.
For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes.
But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather’s legacy.
Author: Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written six other titles in the Footprints series—Pedal It! Brilliant! Every Last Drop, Trash Talk, Pocket Change and Going Wild. Michelle has also written the novels The Vegetable Museum, Not a Chance, Out of the Box, After Peaches and several other books for young people. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information, visit michellemulder.com.
WITS LEADerS Connection: Look and Listen, Explore Points of View, Act
- Look at the book cover of The Vegetable Museum and describe what you see.
- Can you guess what the book might be about?
- Have you read any other stories about vegetables or museums? What are some of the challenges the main characters in this book might face?
Conflict: Stories are usually based on a conflict. The conflict may be a problem to solve or a goal that the main character wants to reach.
Types of conflicts in stories are:
- Person vs Person
- Person vs Self
- Person vs Nature
- Person vs Society
- Person vs Technology
- Person vs the Supernatural
POST-READING QUESTIONS: Conflict and Feelings
- Who is the main character of the story and what are the conflicts in the story?
- Chloë’s feelings towards her grandfather changes over a period of time. How does Chloë feel about her grandfather before the move? How does she feel about her grandfather after the move? How does she feel about her grandfather after he dies?
- Chloë used a variety of strategies to deal with bullies. What were they?
- What lessons did Chloë learn about friendship, family and saving a family legacy?
- Can the way someone’s friends or family treat them affect how they feel about wanting to do different things?
Post Reading Question and Activity:
- Chloë moved from Montreal to Victoria. After the move she felt lonely and misunderstood. Have students brainstorm ways in which they could make her feel welcome. Write a short skit or welcome letter sharing this information with others in your school.
- At the beginning of the book, Chloë wants a “West coast Adventure.” What kinds of things might she like to do? Write a journal entry of her perfect day.
- Chloë’s life in Victoria is very different from her life in Montreal. Have students write a text from Chloë to Sofia her best friend in Montreal, describing her home, school, friends, or another aspect of her life in Victoria.
- Near the end of the book, Chloëno longer worries about the bully that she faces at schooland in her neighbourhood. Have students discuss what has changed and why she feels more confident.
- Chloë and her father were excited about exploring thecity and province in which they live. Have students research the geography and tourist attractions of their home province, plan an imaginary trip to visit several places within the province, and present their plans to the class.
- Invite to the classroom someone whois from (or has lived in) Montreal to talk about the city
- Lately, supermarkets are offering food that is grown locally and/ororganically. With The Vegetable Museum in mind, what other things might we consider when buying our food?
- As a follow-up to planning imaginary trips around thecity/province, have students create tourism posters or poster-sized maps showing where their trip would take them.
- Have students trace thelife cyclesof various fruits and vegetable such as tomatoes, strawberries, apples, radishes and beans. Radishes and beans grow relatively quickly, and students might even try their hand at growing their own.
This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.
Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada