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Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare



Last updated Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Author: Patricia Polacco
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0399245316
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2007

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: When Trisha's family moves from Union City to Battle Creek, her older brother makes her life miserable. He embarrasses her at school with rude, gross behavior at every turn, and they fight over which is better, ice hockey or ballet. At last she triple dares him in front of his friends to perform in her ballet recital. He has to accept, but does so only on the condition that she play on his ice-hockey team in the upcoming game. She learns the hard way how brutal the sport is, but manages to make the winning goal. Then it is her brother's turn to live up to his part of the bargain. At first he is a laughingstock, but when the male lead hurts his ankle and cannot dance, Richie comes through, and he and Trisha declare a truce. To this day, he calls her Slap shot and she calls him Dance King.

Note to readers:
•  Note this is a true story about the author and her brother. See the photos on the inside cover.
•  Vocabulary: Stale, rancid, reeked, putrid, adagio, chortled, cooed, reeled, triumphant, leered, stamina, dither. Note the words italicized are French Dance moves.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What uniforms/costumes are they wearing on the front cover?
•  Do you know what hockey or ballet are? Does it take practice or lessons to do?
•  Do you play any other sports or activities?
•  Do you practice or take lessons?
•  Have you ever played a new sport or activity?
•  How do they look on the front cover versus how do they look on the back cover?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you get along with them?
•  Do you play the same things they do? Are you good at the same things as them?
•  Have you ever tried something new that you thought would be easy? Was it easy when you tried it?
•  When Tricia is the only person on the ice, what do you think is going to happen?
•  When Paul LeBlanc is injured, what do you think is going to happen?
•  For the boys? Would you ever try a sport/activity that girls generally play?
•  For the girls? Would you ever try a sport/activity that boys generally play?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a puppet show: Draw two Richies—one in a hockey costume and one in a ballet costume. Draw two Tricias—one in a ballet costume and one in a hockey costume. Attach the two Richies to a popsicle stick and the two Tricia’s to a popsicle stick (back to back). Make a puppet show… If there is time, take a piece of paper and on one side draw a hockey rink; on the other side draw a ballet stage
•  Draw or write a story about you and your sister/ brother that you want to remember.

*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!