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Captain Nobody

Last updated Monday, June 11, 2012

Author: Dean Pitchford
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0399250344
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2012

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:
Ten-year-old Newt Newman is used to fading into the background: his parents are workaholics; his brother, Chris, is a high school football star; and he and his best buddies, JJ and Cecil, are ignored at school. Determined to get noticed this Halloween, the three friends vow to come up with original costumes. But then Chris takes a hit and is knocked into a coma during the Big Game. Worried about his brother, and with his parents camped out at the hospital, Newt has no interest in creating a costume. When JJ and Cecil arrive at his house for trick-or-treating, they help him transform an assortment of Chris's outgrown clothes into a get-up for a new superhero: Captain Nobody! Enjoying the newfound confidence he experiences behind his mask, Newt continues to wear the costume, and opportunities start cropping up for him to save the day—whether helping a confused old man find his way home or stopping a jewelry store robbery, Captain Nobody gets the job done. But when it comes to his brother's coma, even Captain Nobody is powerless…or is he? Newt is a likable individual, albeit quite mature for 10. Pitchford's screenwriting background is apparent: the book reads like a summertime feel-good movie. Kids who have longed for their own superhero powers will eat this up.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever done something heroic before?
•  Who do you look up to?
•  What do you think are Captain Nobody's superpowers?

•  Scrawl: to write awkwardly
•  Commendable: worthy of praise
•  Manufactured: made by companies
•  Stammer: to speak with involuntary pauses
•  Torrent: rushing, violent, or abundant stream of anything

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What would your superhero costume look like?
•  Have you ever made your own costume?
•  What have you dressed up for Halloween before?
•  What would be your superpower?
•  Has anyone close to you had to go/stay in the hospital?
•  Who has beeen to a high school football game? Who likes/watches football?

Craft ideas:
•  Create their own short comic book with a superhero that they make up or about something that they have done that makes them a hero. Use paper, crayons, colored pencils, and markers.

*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!