Papa Piccolo (FIAR)

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Back in February, I rowed Papa Piccolo from Five in a Row Volume 1 with the boys. I love this book and we had so much fun with it!


(Please note: This post contains lessons from the Five in a Row Volume 1 manual as well as activities added by me and ideas I’ve found from other homeschool moms.)

Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley and illustrated by Itoko Maeno is such a neat story! It is about a cat named Piccolo who lives in Venice, Italy. One night he comes across two orphan kittens. These kittens start following him and he ends up falling in love with them and “adopting” them and they become a family.

We started with reading the book and talking about where it takes place, Italy. Then we placed our story disk on Italy. We used a few library books to learn more about that country. We also used one of our World Atlases and looked up Italy as well as a few of our favorite books, A School Like Mine and Children Just Like Me to see what life is like for school kids in Italy.



Here are some of the other books we used to go along with Papa Piccolo:




For Social Studies, we also talked about the Italian language. The book pictured above called Count Your Way Through Italy was neat because we got to practice the numbers in Italian. Then for SS we learned about Marco Polo because he was an Italian explorer and Piccolo actually names the kittens Marco and Polo in the story! I’ve done this book before with Popstar & Flash and so we pulled out our Timeline Notebook where we had already added Marco Polo and read more about him there and looked to see where he was at in history.

We talked about Fatherhood and what it means to be a good father as well as how all families are different and have different relationships in them.

We talked about the Homeless and Adoption, since the kittens were homeless and Piccolo “adopted” them. Then last for Social Studies we talked about Occupations on Water, since in Venice there are many people who work on the canals for a living. There were lots of them listed in the book and I was a little surprised that the boys remembered most of them!

For Bible we talked about fathers, how God is our heavenly father and how father’s work hard to take care of their families and the many examples in the bible of fathers.

For Language, we learned some new Vocabulary words and went over some action vocabulary and had some fun acting out the different body & facial gestures in the book.

For Art, we talked about “Live Eyes”, how the artist used the technique of Highlights to make the cats’ eyes look alive in the pictures and looked through the book to find them.

Then we talked about the beautiful watercolor paintings in the story and how the artist really made you feel like you were in Venice with use of lots of bright colors. Last, for Art we went over the Primary, Secondary and Complimentary color wheel. There was a worksheet at the back of the manual that I copied and we used some oil pastels on it to label the different colors. I talked with them about how to find the complimentary colors across from each other on the wheel. Then I had them choose a few colors that are complimentary to each other and use them to draw a picture. (Princess tagged along on this one!)






For Science, we read a book about Cats. The one pictured above was really great. The boys have been talking about what they learned from that book for weeks afterwards!

We also went over the Science lesson on Peripheral Vision. We learned what that was and practiced using our Peripheral Vision. They were amazed with that.

The last thing we did was to make a diorama of the story and Venice. This was a lot of fun. We took a week and spent a little time each day on it. We used a lot of items from our recycle bin! I think it turned out pretty neat.



Here’s a close up of Papa and the kittens:



So that finished up our time with Papa Piccolo. We ended up spending 3 weeks on this book. The diorama was completely unplanned, but it ended up being so much fun and I think it really added a lot to our study. We all had so much fun working on it together!

The boys are moving onto their next Five in a Row book, The Rag Coat.

Until next time,








Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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