Monday, November 10, 2008

Big Plans by Bob Shea & Lane Smith

I like this kid. Not that I see anything familiar in him or anything. Just because he's sitting in the corner of his classroom at 3:01 and the chalk board is covered with his assigned "I will not..." sentences, doesn't mean I immediately recognize something familiar or that I flashback to any one particular incident. Oh, no … a-hem … nothing like that. I just like him.

He's got big plans.

“Plans so big I’ll need Dad’s shiniest tie and fanciest shoes. Then I’ll climb atop the highest hill in town and shout, ‘I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!’”

As he spends more time in his corner of the world, he comes up with more plans that will affect the entire world. “I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!”

What does a young man with big plans need?
  1. A Yes-Man – He meets an agreeable mynah bird.
  2. Power – Local big shots, bigwigs, and muckety-mucks support his big plans.
  3. Prestige – He scores the winning touchdown for the home team.
  4. Position – He becomes mayor and president president (as opposed to assistant president).
  5. A Great Hat – Even Davy Crockett would be envious of his skunk-skin cap.

Now, fully supplied, the boy finds a way to pronounce to the whole world, “I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!"

What else is a boy sitting in the corner after school supposed to do? Throughout the history of schools there have been a whole lot of kids in corners thinking, “Someday, when I get older, you’ll see. I’ll show you!” and this young man is making some seriously big plans to do just that.

Students will read along with teachers. “I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!” they’ll announce together with our protagonist. (Or antagonist, depending on your perspective.) They’ll even continue announcing it. “I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!” you’ll hear from the hallway and the playground.

On subsequent readings, take a close look at the pictures. Lane Smith includes hilarious details. Check out the Idaho potato space suit and the Pennsylvania rocket ship. Notice the humble look on the mynah bird’s face when he realizes the president will answer to him, and how Mr. Bird takes over the president’s official seal. There’s even a phone number on the boy’s cell phone. (Go ahead. Give it a call.)

“I GOT BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY!” Everybody should! Right now my plans include using Bob Shea's book in the classroom.


  1. Thanks new best friend!

    Clearly, you have excellent taste and are something of a genius.


  2. Ah...well...I, uh...gee, I just thought that, um...

    Aww, shucks!

  3. I love this book and it was a huge hit in THE PIT! The kids won't let it rest on the shelf for very long and I still hear cries of "BIG PLANS, I SAY!" on the playground. Great review.

  4. Glad to see that my students' experiences with Big Plans are similar to others'. Thanks for the comment and compliment.

  5. Brian,
    My class love this book. After reading we wrote our own BIG PLANS. Since we are from Ohio most plans dealt with clobbering Michigan or at least making them wear scarlet and gray forever!! Debbiek


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