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Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch

Last updated Friday, February 17, 2012

Author: Eileen Spinelli
Illustrator: Paul Yalowitz
Date of Publication: 1996
ISBN: 0785776591
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2012

Synopsis: From Publishers Weekly:
This warmhearted tale examines the effect that love and tender regard can have on a lackluster existence. Mr. Hatch is a drab, predictable gentleman who leads a painfully ordered and uninteresting life, his dreary routine at the shoelace factory barely broken by the same joyless lunch day after day. One Valentine's Day a giant candy-filled heart is delivered to Mr. Hatch with a note that reads, "Somebody loves you." Just the thought of someone taking an interest in him completely changes the way Mr. Hatch interacts with his neighbors and co-workers. The newly adorable gentleman becomes so much a part of people's lives that when it is disclosed that the heart was delivered by mistake, his friends and neighbors rally around him in a loving demonstration. With its carefully measured pace, Spinelli's gentle prose is perfectly married to Yalowitz's ( Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters ; The Spooky Eerie Night Noise ) contemporary-style colored pencil illustrations, rendered with skill and sensitivity.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Picture walk- note how grey the pictures are at the beginning and how much brighter they become.
•  Find the mouse on every page in his house.
•  Make sure the kids know they should never go with a stranger.

•  Satiny: made of satin material
•  Harmonica: small rectangular musical instrument you play using your mouth and hands
•  Dab: tap something softly
•  Aftershave: scented liquid men use on their face after they shave
•  Uneasy: uncomfortable
•  Mysterious: knowing very little about something, can seem scary to you

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who do you love?
•  Who would you share your box of candy with?
•  Why would a Valentine change Mr. Hatch?
•  What would you want for a surprise gift?
•  Why did the neighbors start treating Mr. Hatch differently?
•  Why did Mr. Hatch turn back when he found out the Valentine wasn't for him?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of Mr. Hatch doing a nice thing for someone
•  Make a Valentine's card for someone you love. Hide a mouse in the card!

Special activities:
•  Dance at Mr. Hatch's party

*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!