Written by: Matthew Olshan
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Preview and Predict
Lalouche may be small and skinny, but he is also strong, nimble, and fast, and any opponent that comes against him is in for a real surprise. Start your read through by considering the front cover and illustrations, and make predictions together about what the story will be about and what you will find within its pages.
What do you notice on the cover? What are these two people doing?
What makes a good boxer? The smaller man is Lalouche. Do you think he would make a good boxer? Why/why not?
Who do you think will win this match? Why?
As You Read
Discuss unfamiliar words and encourage your child to discover a word’s meaning by using the illustrations and words surrounding it. There is a short glossary in the beginning of the book that defines the french phrases in the story, so if you or your child have difficulty finding the meaning, or want to double-check, take a look there. Some of the words may sound like English words like IMPOSSIBLE, so encourage your child to use different clues to find out a word's meaning. Examples of new words or phrases in The Mighty Lalouche include:
- Je suis désolé
Help ensure comprehension by talking about different parts of the story as you go along. Encourage your child to ask questions, and ask a few yourself. Think about the reasons behind a character's actions, and how your child would react to certain scenarios. Ask questions like, "Why do you think they had to let Lalouche go when they got the electric autocars? Who do you think will win this match? If you were Lalouche when he saw the poster, what would you have done? Would you have gone to become a boxer? Why/why not?"
Help your child look at the story as a whole once you've completed your read-through by asking/discussing questions like:
Did you like that story? Did you think Lalouche was going to be a good boxer?
If you were a boxer, what would your name be?
Even though Lalouche was the smallest boxer, he never gave up. Why do you think that is?
Also have a discussion with your child about how everyone has special talents and that you shouldn't judge a person by the way they look. The other players assumed that Lalouche wouldn't be a good boxer because of his size, but he proved them wrong.
Extending the Story
Make Your Own Player Card!
Supplies: Paper, coloring materials, scissors, and laminating sheets (optional)
On the front and back covers of the book, there are player cards that show each boxer and their stats. Look them over and then create your own! Your child can just make one for him/herself or create them for the whole family! First discuss your child's boxing persona: their name, country of origin, attributes (talk about what an attribute is and what your child's attributes are), and his/her imagined record. Then, get to work creating the card(s). Help your child write it all out and draw his/her own likeness.
Go One Step Further!
Turn these cards into a matching game! All you need to do is create two of each card or make copies on a copier (which you can laminate to make them last longer). Then, shuffle the cards together and lay them face down. It can be a one person game or a multi-player game, with each player flipping over two cards at a time. If they are a match, you collect them and it's your turn again. If not, move on to the next player. Whoever has the most pairs at the end of the game wins!