How could someone like Phoebe’s brother die? Mick Harte was one of the coolest kids you’d ever want to meet – the kid who freaked his mom out by putting a ceramic eye in a defrosted chicken; who went trick-or-treating as Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the modern-day flush toilet; who did a wild solo dance in front of the whole school.
Mick was also the kid who would still be alive now – if he’d only worn his bicycle helmet…
The summary is from the back of the book, published by Yearling.
This is a heart wrenching story of a tragic accident that is so authentic, I often felt like I was intruding on the family’s grief. Phoebe is a brave young girl who spans all the emotions of loss, while witnessing her parents’ heartbreak as well. The way she deals with the accident and the choices she makes that help her heal are heroic in a time when that is the last thing she thought she was.
1. This book made me wonder what draws people to certain books. I read this because I like Barbara Park and I was interested to see how she would portray such difficult emotions in a young girl. Afterward, I felt like I walked away with a small bit of knowledge that might help me better understand a person whose gone through this kind of loss. Discuss the various kinds of books out there and give each student a chance to tell or write about what draws them to books or types of books.
2. Bicycle safety is at the heart of this book, but is not the only thing we teach kids to do to be careful. Have the class brainstorm a list of different types of safety rules or procedures. Then, in groups, have them give more detailed information on the safety plans in order to regroup and discuss their details as a class. Look for commonalities between all the plans.
3. Creative thinking – Have the students come up with a device, vehicle, or sport for the future. Next, have them list safety equipment, procedures, rules, and guidelines that will accompany their new invention.