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Chrysanthemum (Mouse Books)

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  26,581 ratings  ·  856 reviews
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Kitten's First Full Moon, Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round.

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. "You're named af...more
Published December 30th 2008 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 1991)
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Community Reviews

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This is just a darling book. Having saddled my eldest with a somewhat unusual name, I used to read this book to him frequently in the hopes that he would absorb the message that an unusual name is something you can be proud of. I can't say for sure whether this story made a difference, but he likes his name and has never let anyone's teasing change his mind.
Chrysanthemum is so much fun to read. I do wish that the epilogue was just a little different. The last page has the mean girl making a mis...more
Mar 29, 2009 R. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to R. by: NICHOLE
Shelves: 2009
I loved the subplot, told only in the pictures, wherein the father consults archaic psychological texts in order to understand his daughter's distress.
Forgive me one, forgive me all, I'm about to do what the school librarian, my teachers and my guardians told me never to do. I'm about to break one of the chief cardinal rules of the internet - I'm going to tell you all my real name.


Hello all, my name is Acacia. It's a romanization of a hellenization of what most scholars probably agree upon was an old Egyptian word, but it may go back farther than that. It's also a type of tree with the best, most delicious looking buttery yellow flowers...more
“Chrysanthemum” is a cute tale from Kevin Henkes about how a young girl mouse named Chrysanthemum tries to appreciate her long and unusual name when she goes to school and is teased by her classmates. “Chrysanthemum” is a truly heartwarming story that children will easily enjoy for many years.

Kevin Henkes has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this book. Kevin Henkes’ story about how Chrysanthemum starts to loathe her name because some kids teased her about her name is easily...more
This is a very good picture book, dealing subtly with several issues--identity, ego, bullying, ineffective parenting/teaching--all around how a girl feels about herself and her name before she goes to school, and then after she goes to school and discovers that the rosy world view presented by her parents does not conform to reality, when her classmates mock her for her odd name--and the teacher is ineffective in dealing with it, and the parents simply deal with it by feeding her bomoides that n...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 11, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: very young kids (ages 3-6) who either have unusual names or who know others with unusual names
For a basically sweet book, I think it’s a tad too mean at the end, unnecessarily so. But, it can be a helpful book for young kids who have unusual names or get teased for their names, or teased for any other reason. Good also for kids who tease others or those who have witnessed other kids being teased. In other words, just about every young child.
Mary Jo
Chrysanthemum is an award-winning picture book written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. The story is based on a little girl’s journey of dealing with her very unique name. She starts loving her name, until she is teased about it at school. Eventually with the help of her teacher, Chrysanthemum is able proudly love her name again. Chrysanthemum falls into the realistic fiction category, because it is believable and relate-able. This a great book to introduce to a classroom because the emotions th...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Impulse grab while visiting the charming library in McDermitt, NV. I see other reviewers have slightly divergent reactions to this. I must say, it worked for me. I don't think I'd ever be brave enough to be so creative with my child's name, but if you are, get this book, then go for it.
Very cute illustrations and a sweet portrayal of a loving, happy family soften a realistic portrayal of how mean and xenophobic children can be, and how easily a child can be excluded and made to feel abnormal.
Amy Ballard
For my read-aloud book, I chose Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, I think it’s a perfect book to be read aloud. I would choose it mostly for lower levels such as first or second. Chrysanthemum is a small mouse whose parents wanted to have the perfect name for their new child. They wanted a name as perfect as their little girl already was. Growing up Chrysanthemum loved her name, loved the way it looked, sounded, and written. This is changed when school started and everyone else in her class whose...more
Bailey Ubellacker
I vividly remember reading this picture storybook as a small girl, so when I saw it on the list I knew I wanted to track it down to re-read it at an older age. Chrysanthemum was such a fun name to say and I never quite understood why she ever need to feel self-conscious about it. The pictures were just as bright and cheery as I remembered and I loved seeing what creative activity she would be doing. I really enjoyed watching Chrysanthemum age through the use of nine cleverly depicted images. I t...more
Jackie O'Neil
I would use this book to introduce the meaning of bullying to my classroom. It teaches us that words can hurt people's feelings. Children can learn to acknowledge and reconsider their comments before they express them to the group or to a classmate. However, I truly believe this book could have been better if her parents engaged a conversation with Chrysanthemum about her feelings. They did not encourage her to speak up to them or to her classmates about how she felt. Her mother said to her that...more
Kimberly B.
I'm not in the habit of rating the dozens and dozens of children's books I read to my kids, but I had to review this one. This is a terrible book and I can't figure out why the heck everyone thinks it's so wonderful! Basically, it's about a girl named Chrysanthemum who doesn't like her name, because she gets teased and bullied for it (her friends have 'normal' names). Then, one of her teachers tells Chrysanthemum how much she loves her name and that she wants to name her baby (the teacher is pre...more
Crystal Marcos
I enjoyed this book and reading the discussion about it. I liked the attention to detail in the illustrations. For example, the books Dad was reading or the chalkboard with words. I also smiled at the little mice sleeping, some of them with their arms strait up in the air. Too funny! I got a kick out of the students names listed on the page seeing Kay and Max next to each other. I will have to share this book with Kaylee and her cousin Max when they are old enough to read.

As for the story itsel...more
Chrysanthemum is a wonderful book about learning to find happiness within one's unique identity. Filled with colorful illustrations, this book is a delightful tale about a young girl who loves her unusual name until her peers at school begin to make fun of her. Throughout the story, Chrysanthemum's parents encourage her to embrace her identity and be happy with herself, but Chrysanthemum is miserable until a teacher gives her the highest compliment. Not only does she like Chrysanthemum's name, b...more
Poor Chrysanthemum! As a parent, I can surely relate to the teasing that children can dish out. My son was much like Chysanthemum, confident in himself and excited about going to school. But he had to deal with being teased too - as son many kids are. What I liked about the book was that it showed how much power grown-ups have to deal with this sort of thing. Mrs. Chud ignored it, but dear Mrs. Twinkle lifted Chysanthemum up as a child who should be envied, not made fun of. And soon, the other k...more
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Chrysanthemum. / Kevin Henkes. / 1991.

Genre: Fiction.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
self-esteem, unusual names, bullying

Review citation:
“this sensitive story will strike a chord with young children, particularly those who also have difficult or unfamiliar names” (Joan McGrath in School L...more
Ashley Williams
"Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum..."

Oh me. I remember identifying with Chrsanthemum when I was in 3rd grade. Not becuase I had a funny name (obviously), but because I connected with the need Chrysanthemum experienced of being validated and confirmed. Especially at that time when you are SO insecure of who you are. "Yes, Ashley, you are of great worth." Validation is something every human being needs; something we need to ensure is present in our classrooms.

This book is just the read...more
Tracy Poff
This review also appears on my blog.

When Chrysanthemum was born, her parents thought she was perfect, and wanted to give her the perfect name. Chrysanthemum loved her name. She loved everything about her name. Until the first day of school, that is. The others don't love her name--it hardly even fits on her name tag! What will poor Chrysanthemum do?


Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is about dealing with bullying when you don't quite fit in.

Chrysanthemum loved her name.

She loved the way it sounded
Diana Garcia
I love books that show each person as an individual. I love how the parents adored their daughter and wanted to name her something unique and as they described absolutely perfect. The parents were also supportive and she was able to go home and tell them about her good and bad days. It's a great book to show the value and worth that each child has in them. The illustrations were simple yet descriptive of her enviroment. The vocabulary also used description of her outfit, her feelings, and overal...more
Geneva Roberts
I loved this book! A little mouse her parents named Chrysanthemum because it was perfect just like her in their eyes. She grew older and loved her name , the way it sounded, the way it looked written down.When she starts school the other students tease her about her long name. Victoria tells her she would change her name if it was hers and Chrysanthemum wishes she could. She goes home in tears and that night dreams that her name is Jane. She comes home the next day just as sad as she was the day...more
Mrs. Gabrielle Zastrow's
We used this book to help us to learn about the Rule of 3. We created story maps about this book by discussing WWWWWH of the book. This is what we discovered:

Who is the book about? Chrystantemum
When and Where does the story take place? At school on the first few days of the school year and at home.
What is the problem? Her classmates pick on her name.

The Rule of 3: What 3 events happen in which the character tries to solve the problem, but FAILS?
1. Her parents try to make her feel better by makin...more
Little girls are catty even in Kindergarten. (Well, not these little girls, because they're mice, but still.) Isn't that horrible? But it's true. And these little micey girls have the power to bring even the ever-sunny Chrysanthemum down (if only temporarily).

There is nothing wrong with this book. It's perfect. Read it to your babies and tell them how beautiful they are. And how beautiful their names are, too.
Julian Franklin
Chrysanthemum is a story of the importance and value of every persons name. Chrysanthemum always loved her name, until she started school. The other children in the class teased Chrysanthemum for having such a long name and being named after a flower, so Chrysanthemum began to feel ashamed of her name. At the end, she finds the joy and happiness that she once found in her name with the help of her teacher Ms. Twinkle.
Chrysanthemum is a good book to use for teaching diversity and community. This...more
I love this book as much as I did when I read it to my first class! Chrysanthemum is embarrassed by her name when she begins attending school. She's teased and made fun of by her classmates. Finally, Mrs. Twinkle tells Chrysanthemum that she loves her name and names her own baby Chrysanthemum too. A great story for the beginning of the school year.
Interest Level: Ages 3-6
Lexile Reading Level: 460L
ALA Notable 1992
Horn Book Fanfare 1992

Share this beloved classic on the first day of school. Henkes's energetic illustrations and perfect understanding of a young child's mind makes this well suited for both reading aloud or one-on-one sharing.
Margaret Henderson
A name like Chrysanthemum is sure to draw attention. This wonderful story of individuality and finding your inner self is a great one to teach self esteem and encountering new situations. The vibrant illustrations make it kid friendly and goes along well with the story. I really like that the class picture is displayed in a year book format and that the children's names are handwritten. This shows creativity and helps connect the reader to the class on a more personal level. The ending is very c...more
Emily Miller
I would definitely recommend this story for a Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade classroom, especially at the beginning of the year. Chrysanthemum is so excited about going to school, but shortly after the start of the year she is not feeling so good about it anymore. She used to love the uniqueness of her name, but once children at school start teasing her about how long it is or funny it sounds, she begins to hate it. It wasn't until her music teacher pointed out how beautiful her name is that Ch...more
Neha Amin
Review: I really enjoyed this book. There is so much to learn. There is a lot of vocabulary. It teaches us to be respectful to others. It teaches us confidence as well. I really loved the fact that Chrysanthemum could relate to her music teacher since she also had a long name and was named after a flower.

Learning Experience: As a extension, you can simply teach children to plant. You can go outside and look at all the different plants and then each child can plant a flower of their own. Later,...more
I loved this story and the pictures. This book talks about the names we are given by our parents. The meaning of our names or were the name comes from. Chryanthemum addresses bullying and name called because of differences. Shows how her parents are very supportive of her and make her feel very loved everyday she comes home. She has the tenacity the courage to keep going back to school no matter what. she realizes that her name is special and so is she.

L.E. ~ have children count the letters in t...more
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read aloud 2 34 Jul 12, 2011 11:34AM  
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Kevin Henkes became an author/illustrator when he was nineteen years old, working on a card table in his bedroom.
Today he's the author of many award-winning picture books and novels.
More about Kevin Henkes...
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse Kitten's First Full Moon Owen Wemberly Worried Olive's Ocean

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