Thursday, December 29, 2011


Sidekicks by Dan Santat is a hoot!!  From first page to last, I was chuckling at the bumbling, and sometimes successful, attempt of pets who want to be their owner's (an aging superhero) sidekick.   A mouse, a dog, a cat, and and a chameleon -- not the most likely candidates to be a superhero's sidekick, but as they try to win the coveted role, sometimes by outdoing the other, humor ensues.  I love that buried inside the humor and the wonderful art of this graphic novel, there is also a great message - we are better when we work together.

This book comes complete with a great villian as well; he even has a great villian name -- Dr. Archibald Havoc.  And there's a Society of Superheroes in this town that work together to help one another.  Who knew you could pick up a phone to assemble a group of superheroes to find a new sidekick?!

On my second read of this book, there were some great clues in the pictures that I had missed the first time; clues that foreshadowed the events that would lead to the destruction of our superhero.  And if you don't usually read the author's page on the back flap, make an exception for this one!!  First of all, Dan Santat's picture is posted in the outfit he would be wearing if he was chosen to be the sidekick for the superhero - priceless!  And the very last page of the book is his application to be the superhero sidekick - fun!!

I am so happy I found this book with my students when we were checking out the Top 20 Books of 2011 compiled by John Schumacher and Travis Jonker (I can't get a bookmark for this one / will come back and try later), two amazing librarians.  As we read what they said about this book, I knew I had to read it and get it into our classroom pronto!

Speaking of which, I was in a dilemma about whether to buy 2 copies of Sidekicks because I know it will be so popular, and I teach language arts to two different groups of 5th graders.  After an online conversation with Donalyn Miller, she gave me a great idea.  She said for popular books like this, she holds a drawing for who gets the book.  Once the book comes back in, she draws another name out of the jar.  Smart thinking, right?  I guess that's why they call her The Book Whisperer!

I can't wait for students to start enjoying Sidekicks in 2012!!!!

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