Freckle Juice is a relatable and entertaining chapter book, appropriate for students in grades 1-3. Award winning author, Judy Blume, tells a hilarious story about wanting to be different. The main character, Andrew Marcus, will do just about anything to have freckles like his classmate Nicky Lane. When a classmate offers to sell Andrew a recipe for a concoction called "freckle juice", he wants some immediately.
Students will quickly identify with the characters, and will love Andrew’s attempt to solve his troubles by making "freckle juice". This is an ideal book for beginning plot and character mapping, and using these Freckle Juice lesson plans, your students will be able to bring the story to life!
By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!
Second grader Andrew Marcus wants freckles more than anything in the world. His classmate Nicky Lane has the perfect set of freckles. One day Andrew counted 86 of them! If only Andrew could find out how to get them, he wouldn’t have to wash his neck and he’d never be late for school! He probably wouldn’t get in as much trouble with Ms. Kelly either, because he wouldn’t be so distracted by Nicky’s freckles. The only problem is, freckles seem impossible to get.
That is, until his obnoxious classmate Sharon lets Andrew in on her secret: the recipe for "freckle juice" has been in her family for years. It’ll only cost Andrew fifty cents. Although Andrew would rather not pay Sharon for anything, he can’t stop thinking about it. He decides it must be worth a try. Things don’t go smoothly during the recipe exchange. After paying up, Sharon throws the recipe across the classroom, and Andrew falls on the floor trying to grab it. Ms. Kelly confiscates the recipe. Luckily (or unluckily) for Andrew, she returns it to him at the end of the school day.
Andrew can’t contain his excitement, and runs home from school to mix the recipe. Andrew mixes up the recipe, using some substitute ingredients, ignores the foul smell, and gulps it down. Soon, Andrew is feeling strange, but more of a sick strange than a freckle strange. When Mrs. Marcus comes home, Andrew is in rough shape. At first she is concerned, but after seeing the mess of ingredients in the kitchen, she sends Andrew to bed.
There was no way Andrew was going to let Sharon get away with tricking him. He comes up with a plan: he’ll simply draw the freckles on! His classmates get a kick out of his blue magic markers freckles, but Andrew doesn’t care. Soon, his kind teacher lets him in on her little secret. She quietly gives him a secret formula for removing freckles – for free! Andrew finds a bar of soap and instructions wrapped neatly in the secret box. When he sheepishly returns to class, Nicky Lane can’t believe it. He asks Ms. Kelly if he can use her secret formula. Andrew can’t believe Nicky would want to get rid of his freckles. The story ends with a lesson about self-esteem for Andrew, and one last offer from Sharon. She wants to sell a secret recipe for freckle remover to Nicky Lane. The recipe has been in her family for years...
Essential Questions for Freckle Juice
Have you ever wished you could be like someone else? Why did you feel that way?
[ELA-Literacy/RL/2/2] Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
[ELA-Literacy/RL/2/5] Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
In grades 1-3, retelling is a skill that needs to be practiced and refined with a variety of genres, and with books of different lengths. As students begin to explore chapter books, retelling becomes more challenging. Students need to determine the importance of events in the plot in order to synthesize longer story lines. Creating a story board for retelling Freckle Juice will challenge students to decide what is essential. Similar to a "five finger retell", students need to think critically about the events in order. The storyboard option will also give students the opportunity to explore characters in more depth, using speech bubbles.
Consider having students plan their storyboard with a blank template prior to creating the full storyboard online. Students should begin with the retold narrative in each box before adding character dialogue. This will allow them to focus on the purpose of retelling without getting distracted by the details of the storyboard.
After students create their retelling storyboards, they can print and cut them out, then have a partner try to put the events in order!
Example Freckle Juice Retelling
Andrew Marcus dreams of having freckles like Nicky Lane. If he had freckles, he wouldn't have to wash his neck! Then, he wouldn't be late for school.
Sharon convinces Andrew to buy her secret recipe for freckle juice.
Andrew rushes home to make the freckle juice! He gulps it down and hopes it will work.
Andrew gets sicker and sicker. After being sent to bed, he dreams of Sharon and freckles. He decides he can't let Sharon get away with it. He'll just draw freckles on!
Ms. Kelly offers Andrew her secret recipe for removing freckles for free. Nicky Lane wishes he could use the freckle remover too!
Sharon tries to sell a secret recipe for removing freckles to Nicky Lane.
In this activity, students can create a character map of the characters in Freckle Juice. They can describe character traits and provide textual evidence for those traits. After brainstorming possible character traits and creating a word bank with your class, have student choose one word to describe each character in the story. They can also list specific evidence in their character map; for example, what the character says, thinks, feels, and does to support their character trait.
This character map can be modified to cater to specific classroom needs. Students can answer more specific questions about the characters, or describe how their actions affect they plot. They could also write about different characters’ opinions of freckles, and support their ideas with textual evidence.
Possible character traits for characters in Freckle Juice:
Andrew Marcus: Self-conscious, shy, curious, jealous, gullible, desperate, determined
In this activity, students can create vocabulary boards to go with Freckle Juice. Students can create visual vocabulary boards using the context clues from the book to depict their understanding of words. They can also depict the meaning of the words without pictures, or use the words in another context.