Story Written by:
Marcia Thornton Jones & Debbie Dadey
Activities Written by:
Reta Broadway & Terri Darr Mclean
Cover Design & Titling by:
Chapter 1 - Fastest
in the West
- A story that is created from the writer’s imagination is called
fiction. "Noodles Makes a Boo-Boo" is an example of fiction.
Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey wrote this story using elements
that are partly or entirely make-believe.
Non-fiction is factual writing about real-life situations. Can you think
of an example of non-fiction? If newspapers come to mind, you’re
right on target. Newspapers are filled with stories about real-life
- Compare fiction writing to non-fiction writing. Look on the front
page of your newspaper for a non-fiction story. How is that story different
from this first chapter of "Noodles?" Which one is written
to entertain? To inform?
- The characters in a story are the humans, animals or other "beings”
created by the author to describe actions and ideas. In the first chapter
of "Noodles" you are introduced to three characters: Noodles,
Danny and Bailey the dog (You’ll meet more characters as the story
- Developing characters is not always easy. Some authors write complete
character sketches first so they will have background information to
us as they write about their characters’ actions in the story.
- Try your hand at writing a character sketch. Turn to the comics section
of your newspaper. Select one character from your favorite comic strip
and think about how the creator of the comic strip might have developed
the character. Write a brief character sketch that makes the cartoon
character come to life.
- Well-written characters evoke emotions: love, hate, respect, etc.
As you read each chapter of "Noodles," write down the emotions
you feel about the individual characters. Don’t be surprised if
your feelings change from chapter to chapter!
Science fair projects require imagination, effort and, most important,
time. Pulling together a project involves much more than you might expect.
The earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have to develop
an idea, test it, write a report and make a display for the fair.
As you read this story see how Noodles’ science fair project stacks
up. Does it have imagination? Does it take effort? And is there enough
time to pull everything together?
- Authors use descriptions to create interesting stories that paint
a picture for the reader. "I scratched my dog’s floppy black
ear" is a good example. The words floppy and black give us a picture
of the dog’s ear and create an image in the reader's mind of what
this dog might look like. As you read the story, underline descriptive
words and phrases that paint a mental picture of what is happening.
- What is Noodles’ real name?
- How did she get this name?
- Who is telling the story? How is this person related to Noodles?
- Why does Noodles want to work on her science project by herself?
- Who is Bailey?
- Noodles gives us a great definition for invention. What is this definition?
- Why hasn’t Noodles won a single thing in her entire life? What
does she say about rules? Do you agree with Noodles’ opinion on
- Now that you have read Chapter 1, you know what Noodles is planning
to create for her science project. Based on the following paragraph
from the story, what do you think is going on in her computer lab? "Bing.
Bang. Bong. I was used to strange noises coming from Noodles’
laboratory, but these noises sounded stranger than ever. Zing. Whing.
Bongzingzang. Bing. Bang. Bong."
For the Advanced Reader
- The first few lines of text may set the theme of a short story. Re-read
the first few paragraphs and summarize the theme that you, the reader,
expect to see throughout the story. Identify the clues that help you
come to this conclusion.
- What is your interpretation of the phrase, "the fastest brain
in the West strikes again?"
- Why does the nickname Noodles equate to disaster or ending up in
a messy plate of trouble? What do you anticipate from a character with
- Describe Noodles using information from this chapter. Include her
appearance and personality in the description.
- Why does Danny worry that "this robot is a bad idea?" Why
does he feel afraid?
- How are inventions associated with making life easier? How would
Noodles’ robot help her and Danny? Think about other inventions:
toasters, microwaves, computers, telephones, CD players, etc. Make a
chart with three columns. Use the first column to list inventions and
the second column to identify the decade (10-year period) in which each
item was invented. Use the final column to show what the invention replaced.
For example, an electric can opener replaced a manual can opener. Be
sure to give each column an appropriate heading or name.
- If you were going to invent a robot to pick up toys and help do other
chores, what would you name it? What name do you think Noodles will
give her robot.