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Gotcha! Hardcover – March 20, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618543562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618543564
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,649,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Gotcha! is what a second-grade bully delights in saying to a classmate. As the children learn about arachnids, Richard feels more like prey while Patrick the predator seems to be out to get him. A field trip to observe spiders finds the two paired up, and Patrick tempts Richard into leaving the group against strict warnings. They get into life-threatening trouble at a lake as Patrick swings out over the water on a vine, falls, and needs to be rescued. Sprinkled with humorous moments, the text is fast paced and engaging. Wummer spices up the narrative with similarly humorous line drawings, engaging readers in the zany story. In this easy chapter book, Gilson mixes fun and facts about spiders with realistic dealings with bullies. Pair this title with Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Spider (HarperCollins, 2005) for a science unit or Patrick Jennings's The Lightning Bugs (Holiday House, 2003) for a lesson on bullying.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Richard is fed up with archnemesis Patrick. In just one morning, Richard has been zapped by a rubber band and has his nose bloodied in a scuffle. It's Patrick's fault, but Richard's name is still written on the blackboard. Then Patrick gleefully flashes a sign proclaiming "GOTCHA!" just to rub it in. To make matters worse, Mrs. Zookey pairs up Patrick and Richard on a field trip to Green Lake, where the class is going to observe spiders. After Patrick falls into the lake, Richard loses his motivation for payback, and hopes that the troublemaker has learned his lesson: that the natural consequences to breaking rules can be worse than punishment. Gilson weaves a web of interesting facts about spiders and other crawly things into this fourth book featuring Mrs. Zookey's second-grade class. The reading level may be too tough for some second-graders, but kids will have no trouble recognizing the emotions and experiences captured by the story or Wummer's simple drawings. Nancy Kim
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author



I was born to the sound of fireworks in Beardstown, Illinois, in 1933. My birthday is on the 4th of July. I grew up celebrating it in small Midwestern towns, decorating my bicycle spokes with red, white, and blue crepe paper for the Main Street parades.

My father was a flour miller and because of his job we often moved.

I began grade school in Boonville, Missouri, where I learned to read from Dick and Jane books. But one Sunday morning when I was in fourth grade the mill in Boonville burned down, so we moved again, this time to Pittsfield, Illinois, a small town that has a beautiful Victorian courthouse with a pig statue on its front lawn. The statue has a sign under it that says, "Pittsfield, Pork Capital of the World." I set two of my stories, Harvey the Beer Can King and Hello, My Name is Scrambled Eggs in Pittsfield as I remembered it, including not only the statue, but even the bakery where I bought fat, warm cream puffs after school.

After Pittsfield, we lived in Independence, Missouri, which yearly holds the Santa-Cali-Gon, a festival celebrating its place as pushing-off point for the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon trails. While writing Wagon Train 911, I went back to visit the new Independence Trails Museum. It's located in the old flour mill building where my father worked.

Just before my last year in high school, we moved to Oak Park, Illinois, where, at Oak Park-River Forest High School, I had writing classes in the same handsome, fireplaced room in which Ernest Hemingway studied. That fine room didn't inspire me to write books, though. It was well after I'd graduated from Northwestern University that I thought of it.

First, I taught junior high for a year, then wrote, produced, and acted in educational radio programs at the Chicago Public Schools station WBEZ, now National Public Radio. Then I wrote commercials for fine arts radio station WFMT in Chicago. I also wrote films and film strips for Encyclopaedia Brittanica Films and, for ten years, was a columnist for Chicago magazine.

In 1955, Jerome Gilson, who is now a trademark lawyer, and I married. We have three children, Tom and Anne, now lawyers, and Matthew, who is a photographer. No pets now. We used to have a great cat named Al E. Cat. He's in Do Bananas Chew Gum?

I began to write novels in 1978 when our children were in grade school. I couldn't have done it without reading the books they read, listening to them talk, seeing what it was they thought was funny.

Twenty books is a goodly number, but I always have ideas for more.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oleanna on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Gotcha!" is Patrick the Pest's own game of sneaky torment. Mrs. Zookey's lively second grade provides audience and victims for his clowning and nasty tricks. Gilson's easy chapter book is in the first person voice of Richard, Patrick's favorite target, who describes everything that's going on as the class learns about spiders and takes a field trip to find some. Besides incidental arachnid info and briskly paced you-know-everything's-going -to-turn-out okay entertainment with just the right amount of tension, Richard's interesting observations offer a lot to think about concerning responsibility, getting along, and behaving well toward others -not like the neat, preachy bullying books, but from Richard's satisfying, realistic perspective. He describes his own impulses and susceptibility to Patrick's quick wit, mean ploys, and challenges, and candidly weighs his attempts at restraint and inclination to retaliate. Richard is a sympathetic character, a regular, perceptive kid who can't resist Patrick's manipulations and strays from his good intentions. His glimpses of the feelings and characters of other members of the class, and descriptions of the roles they play in the dynamics of Patrick's pranks are effortlessly brilliant. They provide context and ring true. The incident with Richard tipping his chair and hurting his head perfectly reflects the Patrick-Richard relationship (although personally, I'm terrified of kids' skull fractures from chairs falling backward, and am dismayed when chair tipping is treated too lightly.) Principal Prothero's positive attitude and general competence make his heroic rescue of Patrick a perfect climax. Underwear holds powerful meaning in many ways for children the age of the intended audience.Read more ›
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