Slob by Ellen Potter

What a great book!

If you would like to read an interview with Ellen Potter- click here.


Owen might be the fattest kid in school but he’s a genius. While some kids might be tempted to run away from their fears- Owen decides to face them head on. Be that fear the school psycho who is stealing his cookies from his lunch or the next period PE class. He’s learned from the past that some fears you can never run from. Owen has a great sense of humor and my boys quickly related to his story.

Basic Outline:

Obstacle Course
Build a Catapult

Book Talk

Snacks: Oreos- but good luck rationing them to 3/boy!

Prepare: Gather items for your catapults.

I found a few videos. Here's a complex "spoon" catapult- HERE
For a simple one- Here's a different kind of catapult- HERE

(For boy scouts this would fulfill a Webelo Engineer Requirement pg 224-225)

Gather marshmallows and plastic cups or bowls for the catapult game.
Set up an obstacle course in your yard.

Gathering Game: Obstacle Course.

Dress up as Mr. Wooly (or any other stereotypical gym teacher with whistle) and set up an obstacle course in your yard. The more absurd the better. Make sure boys have to use a variety of movements- climb over, crawl under , weave in and out, balance, etc…

(pg 80) Of course start off with a little stretching exercise - one where they hop on different feet blowing the whistle. Let each boy take a turn calling out the stretches.

(If your son is in Boy Scouts there are different exercises and drills to do with a buddy that would be fun. Boys could work on their Tenderfoot fitness pg 96, Webelos on their Athlete Requirements pg 124)

Incentive Game: Catapult Fun
Demonstrate how to make a catapult and let each boy make one. (Relates to the story: Owen likes to invent and make contraptions. Here is a "simple machine" called a Catapult. This is actually a requirement for Webelo scouts- so if you have any scouters in your book club- you are full filling one of their requirements!)

Ask the questions below in the book talk and for each right answer they earn a marshmallow. (to be used in a future game.) After you finish the book talk- and the boys have their marshmallows place plastic cups/ bowls in front of their catapults and give them opportunities to make it in the cup/bowl. For each marshmallow that goes in- that boy earns an Oreo.

Enjoy milk and cookies and marshmallows while boys continue to visit.
(Or if you know how to make Momo’s-- that would be a tasty treat!)

Book Talk-
1. Is Andre a friend or foe? (not really a right or wrong answer- they just have to tell why they think he is or isn’t.
2. What are some ways Owen tried to protect his lunch cookies? ( jaws of death and facial hair crème.)
3. Who wrote the note: SLOB?
4. Why did Owen keep it in the beginning?
5. Why did he let it go in the end?

6. How did Andre think Owen could get out of PE? ( The fat exemption, using a lawyer to sue Mr. Wooly for his leash treatment.)
7. In the story did you ever suspect Mom wasn’t his “biological” mother?
When did you first know? (pg 31 she said she had seen pictures of when Owen was skinny)
8. What did Owens parents do for a living?
9. What does his Mom do now?

10. How did Mason know there was a scheduled fire drill during PE class?
11. Is Mason a friend or foe?
12. What does this say about first impressions? What is a “First Impression”?
13. Who can explain Owen’s invention: Nemesis?
14. Ultimately, how did Owen gain respect from his classmates?
15. Why was Jeremy allowed to join the GWAB group-- without cutting her hair?
16. Why does Owen give Jeremy’s friend Arthur his old clothes?
17. Who is Nima?

18. What is a Momo? Would you ever eat one?
19. What is Karma?
20. What was really in Mason’s sock?
21. Name some of Owen’s other inventions. (The momo Ferris wheel, the poop catcher, etc.)
22. What does SLOB stand for?

For Scouts you could also extend the discussion to talk about healthy foods, snacks and what foods are good for you. Boys could complete their Webelo Fitness requirements pg246. While Boys scouts fulfill theirs on page pg 95.


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