Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jumbo and Huck

What do Jumbo, P. T. Barnum's famous elephant, and Huck Finn, the famous character by Mark Twain, have in common? A year: 1885. That was the year that Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in the United States. And, that was the year that Jumbo was sadly hit by a train and died.

This week, one of Alex's assignments in her ancient history class was to write a news report about a certain subject, Pegasus, which must include an interview and a commercial. Her topic was Pegasus and I loved her commercial - Medusa's Hair Salon! Anyway, she is still polishing her story, but while she wrote I decided to write my own news piece.

In Alex's online American history class, we are using A History of Us series by Joy Hakim. Last week, we read about both P. T. Barnum and about Mark Twain. I decided to use those two stories for my newscast. I think this is a GREAT way for students to show what they've learned about a subject. Just another alternative to taking a multiple choice test! (And, a much better alternative in my opinion.)

I found a more detailed version of the story online. It is from the archives of the New York Times and it is titled "The Great Jumbo Killed." So, here's my store:

Mary: Hello. I’m Mary Pachyderm and today is September 16, 1885. Welcome to tonight’s edition of the 10 o’clock news on channel 7.

Mary: We start out with some very sad news. Jumbo, the famous elephant of the Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson circus, died late last night. The circus was in Ontario, Canada for a one day performance. While the performance was still going on, the 31 elephants were being loaded onto their train cars. All had been loaded except for Jumbo and the drawf clown elephant, Tom Thumb. Jumbo’s keeper, Scotty, was walking the two pachyderms down the track to their car when he noticed a train approaching. Scotty is joining us live from Ontario.

Mary: Scotty, thank you for joining us. I know this must be really hard for you.

Scotty: Thanks, Mary. It has been a hard day for all of us at the circus. Jumbo was a wonderful elephant and he will be missed.

Mary: Scotty, could you tell us what happened?

Scotty: Yes. I was walking Jumbo and Tom Thumb down the track towards their car. We had been told that it was safe to load the elephants and that there wouldn’t be any train along for 30 minutes. All of a sudden, I saw the headlights of a locomotive coming towards us! And, I heard the engineeer whistle 3 times for breaks. He must have seen us, too.

So, I urged Jumbo to hurry up and he started running down the track. I ran alongside him, but it was no use. The train couldn’t stop and it hit Tom Thumb and then hit Jumbo. When it hit Jumbo, the train stopped and a couple of the cars came off the tracks.

Mary: How were the elephants after they were hit?

Scotty: Well, Tom Thumb was thrown into a ditch. Jumbo was stuck next to the train. He wasn’t doing very well. He seemed determined and several hundred men worked using ropes to try to get him up off the track. But, after about 15 minutes, he passed away. We were all distraught and had to continue our work to get him off the tracks.

Mary: Were you able to get him off the tracks?

Scotty: Yes. It was a lot of work, but we were able to get him off the tracks.

Mary: Thank you so much for joining us. The whole country is in mourning over the loss of Jumbo.

Scotty: Thank you.

Mary: We’ll be back after a short commercial break.

Did you follow the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? Have you been waiting for Mark Twain’s newest book to hit the bookshelves? Well, you don’t have to wait any longer.  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is here! This book was first published back in February, but sold out all over the country in just 3 days. This time, the publisher has printed up over 40,000 books! And so you can get your own copy today!

In Huck Finn, Huck and Tom are now rich! But, Huck’s drunken, abusive father, Pap, shows up and takes him away to live in a cabin. Pap locks Huck up, but Huck escapes and elaborately fakes his own death. Then, he sets off down the river. Of course, this is just the beinning of Huck’s adventures. You’ll have to get your own copy to find out more.

Adventures of Hucklberry Finn. Buy it today!

Mary: We are happy to announce that Tom Thumb, the drawf elephant who was injured in the accident that claimed Jumbo’s life, is doing well. His leg was set and he is expected to make a full recovery. Also, the Smithsonian Institute is expected to arrive this evening. They will take Jumbo’s skin and skeleton to preserve it. The skin will be donated to Tufft’s College. The skeleton will be displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.


Donna said...

That is such a cute writing form and a special story! Thanks for sharing it. I will show this to my 15yr.old son. This would make a great writing assignment for him. :o)

Dana said...

This is great! I'm sure I will always remember these two things together now, even after just reading it once!

Robin said...

Awesome! I love this format of writing. How did Alex's turn out?

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