One Fat Summer

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For Bobby Marks, summer does not equal fun.

While most people are happy to take off their heavy jackets and long pants, Bobby can't even button his jeans or reach over his belly to touch his toes. Spending the summer at Rumson Lake is sheer torture.

This particular summer promises to be worse than usual. His parents can't stop fighting. His best friend, Joanie, goes home to New York City and won't tell him why. Dr. Kahn, a rich, stingy estate owner who hires him to manage an enormous lawn, is working him to death. And to top it off, a local bully won't stop torturing him.

Bobby is about to find out just how terrifying and exhilarating one fat summer can be.

Curriculet Details
46 Questions
52 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 6th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining characterization, cultural references from the 1950’s, and figurative language. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about similes and metaphors and tone versus mood. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of identifying types and effects of figurative language, making inferences, and exploring themes of honor, self-esteem, and courage. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Watch the short video on tone versus mood. In the highlighted text, the narrator's tone is bitter, hopeless, and sad. The narrator, whose name is Bobby, has obviously been made fun of for being overweight. His words create a sympathetic and compassionate mood because we can hear his pain and suffering.  (This annotation contains a video)
How old is the narrator, Bobby? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?  
The story takes place during the 1950's. The reference to a jukebox, a popular music playing device during this time period, is pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
What tone is conveyed in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of a wheel of fortune game at a carnival.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why might Bobby, the narrator, be reluctant to be seen with Joanie's pink bear? 
Which word below would most accurately describe the mood created by the highlighted sentence in the majority of readers? 
Bobby uses an allusion, or reference, to Edgar Allan Poe's frightening story called "The Pit or the Pendulum," (a scene from Poe's story with the pendulum swinging is pictured below) where the main character is being tortured. This reference serves to highlight that Robert believes summer camp will be torture.  (This annotation contains an image)
Read the definition of characterization below. Indirect characterization requires readers to make inferences based on a character's physical description, thoughts, feelings, actions, dialogue, or relationship with other characters. What can we infer about Bobby based on his thoughts in the highlighted text? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on Willie's actions, what can be inferred about Willie's character? 
Below is a picture of pay phone from the 1950's. This was well before the time of cell phones! This is further proof that this story is not taking place in today's time.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the outcome of Bobby's phone call? 
Below is a picture of the Lone Ranger, a fictional Texas Ranger, who fought crime as a masked hero. He first appeared on a radio show in 1933, and the TV series ran from 1949-1957. Bobby's reference to the Lone Ranger conveys his sense of awe towards Pete Marino.  (This annotation contains an image)


Watch the short video on similes and metaphors. In the highlighted text, Robert uses a simile to compare Dr. Kahn's lawn to a velvet sea by using the word "like." He goes on to use the same comparison as a metaphor when he says, "a green velvet sea that flowed up..." (This annotation contains a video)
Based on Robert's physical description of Dr. Kahn, what does Robert believe Dr. Kahn will be like? 
Below is an an ad for Chevrolet cars from the 1950's to give you an idea of what the car in the story looks liked. The phrase "souped-up" would insinuate that the car has been worked on to make it possibly faster and "cooler" looking.  (This annotation contains an image)
Willie continues to bully Robert because of Robert's weight. Bullying includes making fun of, intimidating, gossiping, or using force to hurt, threaten, coerce, or dominate someone else. Below are some statistics about bullying. Have you seen or experienced this problem? What advice would you give to Robert? (This annotation contains an image)


What decision is Robert's father asking him about? 
Notice that words like "crackly" and "crunchy" are sound words. This type of figurative language is referred to as onomatopoeia. Below is a picture of other common examples. (This annotation contains an image)


Watch the short video on imagery below. Notice how Robert creates imagery by describing the setting in the highlighted text. (This annotation contains a video)
Polio is an extremely infectious disease. There was a crippling outbreak in the second half of the twentieth century until a vaccination was introduced in 1955. It is now easily prevented due to this vaccination. Below is a picture of numerous newspaper headings proclaiming the discovery of the polio vaccination. (This annotation contains an image)
What helps Connie walk again after contracting polio? 
Which type of figurative language is used to convey the ease and speed with which the Marinos swim? 
Notice how Robert uses high and low Basal Metabolisms as metaphors to describe people. According to Robert, what common characteristics are shared by the "high Basals" like Dr. Kahn and Robert's father and sister? 
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
The idiom "a piece of cake" has nothing to do with desserts. Instead, this expression is used to express Robert's belief that mowing the lawn will be incredibly easy. 
Watch the short video on flashbacks. The highlighted text is an example of this literary device. What does Robert's memory reveal about his character?  (This annotation contains a video)
What tone is created through the imagery used in the highlighted text? 
Read the definitions on internal and external conflict below. The highlighted text reveals Robert's internal conflict. He is struggling with the decision of whether or not to just give up.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Robert cry? How would you feel if you were Robert?  


The picture below explains what point of view is in literature. If a story is told from first person point of view, it will use pronouns such as: I, me, mine, my, we, and our. Third person point of view relies on pronouns like: he, him she, her, it, they, their, and them. Based on the highlighted text, from which point of view is this story written? (This annotation contains an image)
From which point of view is this novel written? 


Notice that the large list of foods helps us to understand that the "true" Robert Marks is inside and trying to emerge. Robert believes that underneath all of the food, which he eats for comfort, he is "sword-lean" and "rawhide-tough." What evidence from the text would support this claim? 
Robert recounts his dream where he melts away to reveal his true self. Which central idea is revealed through Robert's description of his dream? 


"Semper fi" is short for "Semper Fidelis." This is the motto for the United States Marine Corps. Willie uses references to the Marines to intimidate others and make himself appear more powerful.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who tries to take Robert's lawn job? 
Quiz One 


Watch the short video on protagonists and antagonists in literature. Who is the clear protagonist in this story? (This annotation contains a video)
Robert jokingly says, "I'm a bearskin rug" in the highlighted text. Why does he use this metaphor? 
Joanie is the opposite of Robert. While Robert is passive and willing to ignore insults rather than confront the offender, Joanie is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.  
What job does Bobby tell his mom he is doing? 


Watch the short video on the personification. The highlighted text is an example of this type of figurative language because the lawn is said to "sneer" at Bobby.  (This annotation contains a video)
A frosted malted is similar to a milkshake but thicker.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Bobby want Pete Marino to lie about Bobby working for him?  
"Red Ryder" was a popular comic strip that ran from 1938-1964.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which types of figurative language are used in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of someone prospecting or panning for gold. Once again, we see Bobby using his imagination as a form of escape.  (This annotation contains an image)
What do the Smith boys do to Bobby? 
Notice that Bobby's outlook is remarkably optimistic for someone who has been shorted pay and abused by the Smith boys. Why do you think Bobby is feeling good?  
Based on the policeman's words, what can you infer about Sergeant Homer? 
Based on Bobby's mom's actions of biting her lower lip and Michelle staring out the window, we can infer that something troubling may be happening between Bobby's parents. As you continue to read, look for evidence that would support or refute this claim. 


How are Bobby's actions throughout the story (especially when dealing with conflict) similar to the description of the "peanut butter strangle" in the highlighted passage? 
Apollo (pictured below) in ancient mythology is the god of light, truth, healing, and music. Bobby's reference to Mercury and Apollo serve as further proof that Bobby has a case of hero worship when it comes to Pete.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Michelle say this to Bobby? 


Below is a picture of the famous baseball player Mickey Mantle.  (This annotation contains an image)
The store keeper uses the word "colored" when referring to the black baseball player Willie Mays. This is another way that we know the novel we are reading takes place in the past. The term "colored" was still being used during the 1950's; it is no longer acceptable to use.  
During this scene between Bobby and Willie, it is clear that Willie is the _______________. 
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Which central idea is conveyed through Willie's words? 
The use of the word "cackling" brings to mind the way a witch might laugh. It conveys a sinister tone.  
What emotion would best characterize how Bobby is feeling based on the highlighted text? Explain your answer. 


Watch the short video below on tension. What emotion do you feel after reading the highlighted text? How does this line and the previous scene between Willie and Bobby create tension? (This annotation contains a video)
Explain the significance of the highlighted text. What message or lesson does it contain for readers about how to handle tough situations? 
The highlighted exchange is a bit humorous in a sad way because we, as readers, know that Bobby's answer is far from the truth. Bobby once again lies to his mother. Why do you think he does that? 


Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted sentence? 
Below is a picture of a drainage ditch.  (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the short video on foreshadowing below. What type of change in Joanie might be foreshadowed in the conversation between Joanie and Bobby on the phone? (This annotation contains a video)
How does Jim's conversation with Bobby about Willie challenge readers' thinking about the antagonist? 


Watch the short video on character traits for further explanation of how authors create characterization. Notice in the highlighted text, Bobby's dad can be described as polite, pleasant, and even absent-minded. Which details from the text would support this analysis? (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text would support Bobby's belief that "Everyone has secrets this summer." 
Below is a picture taken in 1943 of a street in Harlem, NY. The neighborhood of Harlem is located in the northern part of Manhattan. It has been known as a major African-American residential and cultural center.  (This annotation contains an image)
The conversation between Mr. Marino and Bobby's father helps readers understand the racial tension that existed in America during the 1950's. Which character trait would not be used to describe Bobby's father based on his conversation with Mr. Marino? 
Explain what Bobby means by the highlighted statement.  
Quiz Two 


Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of three famous scenes from the comedy show, "I Love Lucy" which ran from 1951-1957. (This annotation contains an image)
According to Pete Marino, what is the best way to announce to the world that Bobby is a "real man"? 
Jim reveals that Willie is unpredictable and dangerous. In addition, even Jim is scared of Willie. This helps to heighten the tension as we move closer to the climax of the story.  
Give at least two reasons why Bobby decides against quitting the lawn job. What does this reveal about Bobby? 
Below is a picture of Humphrey Bogart. (This annotation contains an image)


After watching the trailer of "The Most Dangerous Game" in the last annotation, which element below is responsible for building tension in the video clip that is absent from Robert's retelling in the text? 
Watch the short trailer for the 1932 film adaptation of "The Most Dangerous Game." How does viewing the clip aid in your understanding of what Bobby is talking about?  (This annotation contains a video)
We can infer that Bobby is learning some self-control because he stops his raid on the refrigerator after his disheartening conversation with Joanie.  


What tone is conveyed by Bobby's mom? 
Perry Mason is a fictional defense lawyer in a series of novels and short stories. Usually, Mason was able to prove his client's innocence by implicating another character, who would then confess to murder. The plot line was developed into a radio show and later a TV series (pictured below).  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Bobby's mother wants to head back to the lake tonight? 
Below is a picture of a Cadillac from the 1950's. We known that tensions are about to rise because both sets of parents are now on the scene! (This annotation contains an image)
The use of the simile in the highlighted text suggests what? 


Charles Atlas was the developer of a body building method and featured on a long-running ad during this time period. His claim to fame was that he built himself from a "weakling" into a muscleman. This reference helps us to see Bobby's confidence in himself is soaring.  
Jim tries again to warn Bobby about Willie and convince Bobby to quit the lawn job. Do you think that Bobby is being courageous or reckless? Be sure to explain your answer.  
Both Bobby and Joanie have changed physically since the beginning of the book. However, Joanie seems to become more superficial while Bobby gains confidence while staying true to himself.  
Why does Bobby want a ride home from Pete? 
Below is a picture of a .22 rifle from the 1950's to help you visualize the weapon that Willie is pointing at Bobby, Pete, and Joanie. (This annotation contains an image)


Based on the highlighted text, readers can infer that Jim's purpose is to  
Jim is able to convince Willie to stand down and walk away. The description of Willie's voice when he moans Jimmy's name helps readers to see that Willie is almost child-like at this point. One has to wonder about what Willie has gone through to make him act out in such a violent, erratic way. 
Explain what Bobby means by the highlighted text? Why does he describe himself as "the underwater champ"? 
Why is Pete unable to understand Bobby's point of view? 


Bobby is an example of a dynamic character; watch the short clip on static versus dynamic characters below. The highlighted conversation draws our attention to the drastic change in Bobby, who is now able to speak in complete sentences to Dr. Kahn, to articulate his ideas clearly, and to stand up for himself.  (This annotation contains a video)
Bobby's view of Pete has changed. Explain how it has changed and why.  
Quiz Three