Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Mario Makes a Move

McElmurry, Jill (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2012. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780375868542 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Mario is a squirrel who invents amazing moves. There’s the “Tail, Don’t Fail,” the “Super Looper” and the “Upside Down Around.” His family calls his acrobatics “artistic” and “astonishing.” But when he tries to wow his friend, Isabelle, she is unimpressed and has some moves of her own to show off. Jealous and frustrated, Mario resorts to collecting sticks instead of dance routines. But Isabelle woos him back, and together they combine their moves to invent the “Even More Amazing Amazer.” It turns out two squirrels are better than one.

The text is fast-paced and dialogue-driven, inserting the reader inside Mario’s world and relationships. “‘That’s nice,’ said Isabelle. ‘NICE?’ said Mario. ‘I think maybe you mean amazing. Or astonishing, maybe.’”

Gouache illustrations carry the thrust of the story with an autumnal colour scheme in browns, oranges and greys; graph paper sketches map out Mario’s moves. The facial expressions and gestural language of the two main squirrel characters are so alive as to feel animated. When Mario realizes that all animals have moves, a close-up of his wide-eyed face, paws to cheeks, shows his astonishment and dismay.

The end page of humorous facts, called “If You Are a Squirrel,” appears to be written by Mario himself, in scrawled pencil. It is a comical capping of the story, with “You make amazing moves” last on the list.

  •  

    Discuss special talents. What are you very good at? Can more than one person have the same special talent? How does it feel when this happens?

  •  

    Use a graphic organizer to record examples of Mario and Isabelle being good friends.

  •  

    Try out some of Mario’s amazing moves on the second page. Invent and name your own amazing move. Draw a diagram to illustrate how to do it.

  •  Read the “If You Are a Squirrel” facts at the back of the book. Compare the squirrel with a different favourite animal.
  •  Discuss special talents. What are you very good at? Can more than one person have the same special talent? How does it feel when this happens?
  •  Discuss how Isabelle and Mario use their friendship skills to get along. Is there anything they could do better?
  •  

    Dramatize a similar real-life situation, reusing some of the expressions from the book.

  •  

    Describe your own special talent. Use pictures of yourself and graph paper, as modelled in the book.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • Personal and Career Planning