Author: Sarah Weeks
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2008
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Summary: Oggie Cooder isn't the cool kid in school, but things change when he finds himself accidentally entered in a talent contest where he carves cheese into the shape of U.S. states. What does he think of his new-found popularity thanks to charving?
What I Think: I was so excited to share this book with a class of fourth graders at one of my schools this week. I think it's perfect for that age group! Oggie Cooder is a great character who just wants to fit in. I remember wanting to have friends and be included in what other kids were doing when I was that age. I also remember one classmate in particular who wasn't the friendliest of peers who reminds me very much of Donnica Perfecto, the character in the book who tries to claim Oggie's charving talent as her own. This is the perfect book for kids who want to see how the good guys come out on top.
Read Together: 3 - 5
Read Alone: 3 - 6
Read With: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; Charlotte's Web by E.B. White; Matilda by Roald Dahl; Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Snatch of Text:
“He was sitting there, absentmindedly eating his cheese, when suddenly Amy whispered –
‘What?’ Oggie asked, wondering why this strange new girl was talking about Florida all of a sudden.
Amy pointed at the cheese in his hand.
‘It’s Florida,’ she said.
Sure enough, without meaning to, somehow Oggie had managed to bite his cheese into the shape of the state of Florida.” (p. 39-40)
“Charving, a word he made up by combining the words chewing and carving, was something Oggie discovered he not only enjoyed, but also found very relaxing.” (p. 40)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Predictions, Making Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something that made you nervous. Write about a time in your life when you realized someone was a true friend. Explain how to charve the state you live in or your favorite state.
Topics Covered: Differences, Confidence, Friendship, Family, Talents, Adversity, Fitting In
Translated to Spanish: No