Anthony Pantaloni needs Just One Thing!—one thing he does well, one thing that will replace the Antsy Pants nickname he got tagged with the first day of fifth grade, one GOOD thing he can “own” before moving up to middle school next year. Every kid in Carpenter Elementary has something: Marcus is Mr. Athletic, Alexis is Smart Aleck, Bethany has her horse obsession, and even Cory can stake a claim as being the toughest kid in the whole school. Ant tries lots of things but – KA-BOOM! – nothing sticks! It doesn’t help that there are obstacles along the way—a baton-twirling teacher, an annoying cousin, and Dad’s new girlfriend to name a few.
“With tons of humor and lots of heart, this story jabs into the core of middle grade insanity and the question of whether or not a kid can ever make it out with even a little bit of self-esteem intact.” ~ T. Drecker (Bookworm for Kids) Discussion Guide for Teachers:
Fold an 8 ½ x 11 plain piece paper in half long end to long end.
Fold it again. And once more.
Open sheet to find 8 blocks.
Place paper on desk horizontally so that there are 4 blocks are across the top and 4 at the bottom.
In the corners, number the blocks left to right so that #5 is the first number on the second row.
Write KA-BOOM! somewhere on block #6.
Students get together in pairs, and interview each other using the following questions:
What kinds of activities/sports/hobbies do you do well?
What activities /sports/hobbies do you wish you did well?
In terms of activities/sports/hobbies, what frustrates you?
If you’ve found your One Thing, what is it? Is that working out for you? How?
If you could change your One Thing, what would it be?
Next, using the divided paper, each student creates a visual representation of another student’s journey in finding his/her One Thing. Using the interview answers above as a guide, they write a scene (like a mini-story) in 8 blocks. Each block is illustrated and supported by minimal text. As for the climax, that occurs on block #6 where KA-BOOM! is written. Here, the writer shows the turn of events that leads to a final outcome on block #8. Students can base their story scenes on entirely on the interview and write a factual account, or use the answers for inspiration only and write absolute fiction.
BIO: Nancy Viau no longer worries about finding her One Thing for she has found quite a few things she loves, like being a mom, writing, traveling, and working as a librarian assistant. She is the author of the picture books City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song, and an additional middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head. Nancy grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA and now resides in South Jersey.
Vist Nancy at www.NancyViau.com
www.KidLitAuthorsClub.com or Twitter: @NancyViau1