Yo-Yo Fan

August 20, 2009

Daniel Pinkwater must have enjoyed yo-yos during his childhood.  He has created a fun story of determination.  Yo-Yo Man is definitely a boy read.  The storyline has conflict, action, and a desire to be number one.  I must admit that it’s not a book I personally love; but I know my sons and they loved it.

The story begins with a bullying incident.  Kids deal with this issue more than we’d like to admit.  The book could be a springboard for talking about the issue.  The boy does not let the bullying keep him down.  When the yo-yo man comes and performs a spectacular show, the boy determines to be the best yo-yo contestant.  He works hard, practicing over and over.  A parallel story is happening within the classroom.  His teacher loves spelling and he’s intimidated.  Once again, he determines to be the best student possible and practices.  Wouldn’t we like to have him in our class?

Savorings in reading and in writing for Yo-Yo Man:

  • Persuasion – Ramon:  the yo-yo champion does a demonstration and the kids go wild.  He hands out a book – free of charge – with the tricks.  “On the back is stamped – Available at Bill’s Toyland.”
  • Comma in a Series – “I buy a smooth, shiny, heavy, perfect, beautiful, genuine deep red one.”  “They are spinning and bobbing, whizzing and bouncing, sailing through the air.
  • Sensory detail – “The strings make a whispering, humming sound.”
  • Alliteration – “And for good measure, I am going to memorize more spelling words than anyone else and make mincemeat of Mrs. Mousetrap.”
  • Ending with Magic of 3 – “Do I have to say it?  I am perfect.  I am beautiful.  I do every trick, right to the end, right to the double flip-flop flying bouncing sleeper.”

(Warsaw Comm. Public Library)

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