Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fox on Wheels by Edward Marshall

I read this to 2nd graders and they loved the character of Fox. He is annoyed with his younger sister that he has to babysit, has to deal with his fear of heights, and makes a bad choice by racing in the supermarket with his friends. This tied in nicely with the start of the year and talking to students about appropriate places to run and not run. My huge library is prime ground for sprinting youngsters. Fox is a distinct character with high energy, talks back, shows he's annoyed with younger sister while at the same time showing that he cares about her as well. He's mischievous and likeable.

This transitional book has repetition, slang, and plenty of action to keep students engaged. The author has surprising elements that balance well with the predictability of Fox's actions. For instance, when Louise hurts herself Fox feels guilty and gets her anything she wants. She gets more outrageous with her requests and while she asks Fox for things, he replies, "Of course" meaning of course he will get her what she wants. It isn't until her friends show up and she pops out of bed that Fox realizes she is taking advantage of his attention. There is a depth to how the characters act that allowed for some good discussions with students and laughter to-boot.

This is a level three book with greater frequency of compound and complex sentences and the pictures function more as decoration versus explanation. Although the illustrations do help with understanding some sections and words such as when Louise climbs a ladder and falls off while Fox watches TV. The students like the ending that shows Fox being punished by using a push mower and his other friends being punished as well by washing the car and using a push mower. Many students didn't know what a push mower was but they got the idea that it wasn't as fun as skateboarding which is what Fox is trying to do throughout the entire story. The other phrase they didn't understand was "hold your horses" and laughed when I explained it.

The first page of Fox on Wheels draws readers in with Fox wanting to skateboard with his friends and his mom telling him he has to babysit his younger sister. There's nothing like not getting your own way that pulls a reader into a story. I inevitably have someone blurt out, "I have to watch my sister too!" They are sympathetic toward Fox immediately and drawn by the fun of skateboarding. The three chapters are episodic with the action beginning at the start of the chapter and a resolution happening at the end.

Reading Level 1.9
5 out of 5 Smileys

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