My Pal Victor/ Mi amigo Victor

Last updated Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Author: Diane Gonzalez-Bertrand
Illustrator: Robert Sweetland
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0972019294
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2007

Synopsis: From My Pal, Victor/Mi amigo, Victor is a beautiful and insightful portrait of true friendship. The book is about two boys, Victor and Dominic, who enjoy a variety of typical activities including storytelling, baseball, riddles, swimming, roller coasters, coloring, fishing, and playing in the park. Victor tells the funniest jokes, swims better than a fish, loves the wildest amusement park rides, claps the loudest for his friend at baseball games, and above all accepts Dominic just as he is. The typicality of their relationship becomes something more profound when we learn that Victor is disabled and lives his open-hearted, fully active life from a wheelchair. The writing is unique and full of movement. For example, the author describes scary ghost tales as "heart-booming stories" in which even "goose bumps get scared." The Spanish text is paralleled throughout and is just as exciting. A bilingual vocabulary list is included. The illustrations are bright, colorful and active, underscoring the author's message.

Note to readers:
•  This is a bilingual book. Please read the book IN ENGLISH.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is another word or name for "Pal"?
•  Who is Victor?
•  Do you have any pals like Victor?
•  What do you do with your friends?
•  What makes a friend a "best" friend?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What are the answers to the riddles on pages 8 and 10? (see the very last page on the bottom next to the dog)
•  How is Victor important to Dominic? How is Dominic important to Victor?
•  How does a friend make you feel?
•  How are you a good friend? What do you do for your friends?
•  Did you notice that Victor was ina wheel chair? Did this matter to Dominic?

Craft ideas:
•  Have the kids write and illustrate a joke or riddle they know.
•  Draw a picture of you with your best friend. Title it "My Pal ___"
•  Fold a paper into 4 squares and make a comic strip of things you do with your best friend. Title it "My Pal ____"

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!