Slice of Life: Roller Coaster Rides​

Today I was looking through my picture books and came upon Marla Frazee’s Roller Coaster. This book reminds me of the beginning of every year.

Kids come back to school as rusty writers, so we brush up with a familiar experience: the roller coaster story. The time where they overcame their fear and older sibling’s teasing by riding a huge roller coaster. Most kids have that story in their history. This book is a perfect tool to warm up their writing muscles.

First, I ask students to look at the first picture and find the character that most resembles them. I often choose the tense-looking mom next to the pinwheel-hatted boy.

Next, we practice storytelling by taking on the character we chose.
What did we say?
What did we think?
How do we look?


Today, I couldn’t help but look at the couples in the second and last seats. And imagine their stories.

Rachel, looked out at the roller coaster operators, leaning as far away as she could from Cody. I can’t believe I’m sitting here. Why did I say yes? I’m going to die, literally. My hands are so wet, I won’t be able to to hold on.  He’s not even looking at me. How much longer before we start this stupid ride?

Just four seats ahead, George looked at Mabel and squeezed her hand. Her eyes met his and said, this is one mighty fine time George. I’m glad we came.

The sun beat down and the coaster’s CLICK, CLICK, CLICK were all anyone heard as the train climbed UP, UP, UP.

Down they flew.

Rachel instictively threw her arms around Cody and screamed.
Cody instinctively held Rachel and smiled.

Mabel and George leaned back and screamed breathing it all in. Life was good. Experienced riders, that they were, George held on to his hat and Mabel had sensibly wore the one that secured with a tie. The thrill filled them up.

A curve.
A kiss.
Two hardy laughs.

“Hold me, I don’t know if I can stand,” Rachel said as she leaned into Cody.

“Yes, my love, I do remember,” said Mabel.
And George held her tight.

Thank you to Marla Frazee for taking liberties with her story.
And thank you to Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. For more real and possibly imagined Slices click here.