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November 3, 2008

Chill

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Chill

Author: Colin Frizzell

Page Length: 98

Reading Level: 3.5

Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Chill is exactly that – a teenager with an even temper that doesn’t let life get him down. Even though he was born with a limp leg, he doesn’t let that bother him. He is a talented artist with a promising future. Sean is his good friend. Sean is the narrator of the story and an insightful & funny one at that.

When the school hires a new English teacher, things start to become interesting. Mr. Sfinkter makes it his mission to belittle all the students in his class. He is stern, crushes students’ hopes and dreams, and does not seem to show any concern for his pupils. All of the students realize this except for one – Sean. Mr. Sfinkter, for an unknown reason, takes a liking to Sean’s aspirations to become a writer. Sean is excited and begins a novel which he finishes and turns into Mr. Sfinkter for possible publishing.

On the flip-side, Mr. Sfinkter pokes fun at Chill’s desire to become an artist. This angers Chill who is set out to expose Mr. Sfinkter for the cruel man that he is. The entire faculty, view Mr. Sfinkter as a genuine and courteous man.  However, the students know better. The “face” that Mr. Sfinkter puts on for his teaching peers is the opposite of what he wears in class.

Chill first uses his drawing abilities to post (on the local news) an artistic rendering of a man suspected of flashing women. The man that Chill draws looks exactly like Mr. Sfinkter. The students enjoy this trick, however the faculty seem un-phased. Chill continues his quest to expose Mr. Sfinkter by altering his own mural for the school and adding a “few special touches”. At the murals unveiling, what is seen is a picture of Mr. Sfinkter with a “flaming face”. Chill’s mural is intended to depict Mr. Sfinkter in a bad light. Chill is called into the office along with others who follow to hear the gossip. Mr. Sfinkter is present as well. It is in the office that Mr. Sfinkter “blows up” and begins calling Chill names such as “daydreamer” and “gimp”. In this fit of rage, Mr. Sfinkter reveals to all his true nature.

Sean realizes that Mr. Sfinkter was never going to read his book or publish it and understands all that Chill has been going through. Their friendship, once strained with the arrival of Mr. Sfinkter, is now growing stronger.

REVIEW: I truly enjoyed this book. The topic will be of great interest to many students since I am sure that any student can remember a time when they had a teacher that was “less than nice” to them. The vivid and fresh dialogue of the character Sean was wonderful to read. It kept my interest. I must credit the great writing to author Colin Frizzell. The writing was authentic in that it was almost as if teenagers were writing this book expressing their concerns over Mr. Sfinkter.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: simile (page 5), descriptive paragraphs about teachers (page 8-9), descriptive paragraphs about reading/English (page 14)

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: the topic of teachers being disrespectful to students

RELATED WEBSITES:

websites about “good teachers”

http://www.abcteach.com/free/m/myteacher.htm

http://www.orange.k12.oh.us/teachers/ohs/TJordan/Pages/habitsgoodteacher.html

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

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3 Comments

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