Author: Hallie Durand
Illustrator: Tony Fucile
Publication Date: September 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: Battle on! Head to the lanes for another hilarious, high-energy story as four-year-old Mitchell and his obliging dad strike a winning deal.
Mitchell liked to knock things down.
That’s just how he rolled.
One Saturday, when Mitchell almost knocks down his dad, his dad catches him and puts him in the car. And when they step into the bowling alley, Mitchell feels right at home. Pizza! Giant crashing noises! Special shoes! But as Mitchell picks up the biggest ball and quickly learns the word gutter, and when Dad does a little kick with his leg and earns a big X on the scoreboard, Mitchell starts to get peevish. How can Mitchell get a chance to do a steamin’-hot-potato-dance too? With wit, warmth, and comedic charm, Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile roll another strike with this tale of a lovably rambunctious child and his doting dad.
What Jen Thinks: I adore this book! We're talking about books for dads on Sunday, and this book could definitely be added to the lineup. This book gets it right with a great story and wonderful illustrations. Tony Fucile's drawing makes me think of Bink and Gollie but Hallie Durand's text and Mitchell's spirit remind me so much of Bink and Gollie, too. I love that Mitchell's dad has just as much spunk as he does. I will say that there is an illustration of the mom (just once) in the very beginning and she cracked me up, too...I may identify with her a little too much, but I digress.
This book would make a great mentor text for characterization. Writers need to truly know their characters inside and out. Getting to know their characters helps to make sure writers have well-rounded characters but it also makes it easier to write when we know who are characters are off the page. I love Mitchell and his dad, they are full of energy and fun. I think kids would have a lot of fun brainstorming what else Mitchell and/or his dad might do or like and then seeing how through one story, readers feel like they know these two and how that factors into what we need to do as writers if our own stories. We need to help bring characters to life so readers feel like they know our characters. I love finishing a book and feeling like I've made a friend in the characters, people I won't soon forget. Usually I love the great characters but there are a few literary friends whom I remember vividly because I loathe them beyond belief...and that's good, too.
I can't recommend this book enough! It's so much fun. This would also be a great mentor text for writing personal narratives and even before going bowling. I remember going bowling for the first time with Girl Scouts with my dad. I loved it. That was before the electronic scoring system so we had to record our own scores and I loved that. This would be a great lesson in building background knowledge in bowling and in practicing math skills! Bonus!
What Kellee Thinks: I am so glad that this book review falls on Father's Day week, because even though it is not part of our Father's Day post on Sunday, it definitely has a strong father who I loved. Mitchell's dad is one of those goofy dads who may be embarrassed of when you are a teenager, but is always there to support you no matter what. A perfect fatherly role model for a book.
I think Jen hit the nail on the head with all of the lessons that could be done with this book. It could definitely be a huge cross-curricular unit fitting in science (Physics of Bowling from Discover Magazine), math (Bowling Pin Math Game), history (History of bowling from The International Bowling Museum), art (the illustrations in this book are so much fun and could definitely be talked about), PE (would be great to accompany a class field trip to go bowling!), and, of course, reading and writing using the book and Jen's personal narrative activity.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 3
Read Alone: Grades 1 - 4
Read With: Bink and Gollie (series) by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, Marty McGuire (series) by Kate Messner, Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison, Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Snatch of Text: "There were lots of brightly colored balls, a good pizza smell, and giant crashing noises."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Characterization, Commas (series), Onomatopoeia
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something for the first time. Was it easy for you right away or did you have to practice? Did you get frustrated at all?
Topics Covered: Family, Fathers, Bowling, Determination
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