Zak’s Lunch

February 25, 2011

On our snow day yesterday, my oldest son came down around 10:15 a.m. and said, “Is is almost lunch?”  His seventeen year old stomach process food rather quickly and my refrigerator is my witness. 🙂

Margie Palatini adds humor to an ordinary, every day happening – lunch.  I’m sure your student shave plenty of stories about cafeteria food.  I have several lunch stories myself.

In Zak’s Lunch, the scene begins with Mother calling Zak for lunch.  His dog, George, bounds in with him.  Zak is hungry.  But when he sees his sandwich, Zak pouts.  He does not want ham and cheese for lunch.

“This is not a restaurant.  Hmmf! Well, it should be a restaurant.My very own restaurant where I could eat anything I wanted.  As much as I wanted. Anytime I wanted.”

The scene changes as you turn the page and Lou, the waitress, appears.  The neon sign shines Zak’s Place and boy, does Zak’s dreams come true: cheeseburgers with the works, mounds of fries, baseball-sized meatballs, three-tiered chocolate cake.  Mouth-watering illustrations by Howard Fine will have your students drooling.  (I highly recommend not reading this before lunch.)

The story is funny with lots of repeating phrases.  I love the descriptions that will create wild visualizations in each child’s mind.  Have fun with this book.

Side Note: Thanks to a fellow slicer on TwoWritingTeachersOne Literacy Coach mentioned her experience with Sentence Smack Down lesson.  As I was reading Zak’s Lunch, I noticed two-word sentences.  After combing the text again, I found 11 sentences that would work (i.e. Lou laughed).  I’m putting this text in my folder for future lessons.  Thanks for sharing your lesson or I would not have noticed.  (and Thanks to TwoWritingTeachers for encouraging teachers to write about life.  I learn so much from others in this career.  It’s encouraging!)

Sentence Smack Down lesson by Jeff Anderson:  Jeff has a great lesson to help teach subject and predict, noun and verb, in his book Mechanically Inclined.  I highly recommend his book for work on conventions and grammar.  Zak’s Lunch has several two-word sentences for sentence smack down.  Check it out.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Zak’s Lunch:

  • Everyday happening – it is so important for children to realize that they can write about anything and that the ordinary happenings in life can have meaning and fun too
  • Action scenes – show not tell
  • Voice – you can hear the kid talking!!
  • Slang words – chugalugged, thisaway
  • Descriptive – “chocolate shakes so thick the straws stood straight up
  • 2 word sentence for Sentence Smack Down
  • Interweaving of detail – Palatini does an excellent job of adding a tag on to said that deepens the meaning of the text