Mr. Gedrick and Me

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Patrick Carman’s website:

Activities & Resources:



Learn about lizards:

Horned Lizards:

Design your own version of a lizard habitat. Make it as crazy or simple as you want. Try different architecture styles!


Styles of American Architecture (9:38):

Architecture Facts:

Architecture Adventure: Crash Course Kids #47.2 (4:26):


History of Baseball:

Baseball Facts:

History of baseball cards:

MakerSpace Activities:

Create your own plans for a building.Would you like to design an office like Mrs. Darrow’s, a tree house, or your very own community center? Maybe you could create something totally unique. Draw out a blueprint and research interior design styles you might like to use.

Build a model tree house and decorate it:

Create your very own Swoghollow secret globe out of paper plates:

Create “Artist Trading Cards” and trade with your friends or classmates:

Discussion Questions:

The book starts out with Stanley trying to gain the attention of each of his family members and being ignored all three times. This results in Stanley leaving the house on his bicycle and going to visit his Dad’s grave by himself. Have you ever been in the situation where you felt ignored? How did you try to gain attention? How did that work out in the end for you?

On his bike ride to the cemetery, Stanley related a story about the fun he and his dad would have while out riding bikes. Think of a special fun memory you have with someone. Describe that memory.

After finding a mysterious website for “Mr. Gedrick of Swoghollow” that only held a logo and a space to enter an address Stanley decides to go ahead and enter their address after his mother leaves the room. What do you predict will happen next? Who do you think Mr. Gedrick is?

When Mr. Gedrick arrives at the Darrow’s house, he finds it a mess and appears to be “forming a battle plan” to fix it up. Describe a situation where you had a lot of work to do and had to devise your own battle plan to make it happen. As an alternative, you could create a fictional situation and do the same.

Mr. Gedrick has been officially invited to stay at the Darrow’s house. In a few sentences, predict what he might do while living there.

While playing baseball with Fergus and Stanley, Mr. Gedrick says, “Throw hard, run fast.” This is a special phrase that Mr. Darrow used to tell Fergus when he was playing baseball. Do you have any special phrases or secret codes with your friends or family members? What is it? If you wanted to make one up, what might it be?

Mr. Gedrick’s first night in the house is filled with the sounds of construction coming from his room until the early morning hours. In a few sentences, what do you think he might be up to?

Both Mrs. Darrow and Amelia face a lack of inspiration when it comes to their designs in the beginning of the book. When you find yourself lacking inspiration, how do you get yourself out of your head and find your inspiration again? If you haven’t faced this situation, how do you think you would handle it?

Stanley gets angry while trying to find Swoghollow on his dad’s globe for a second time. Mr. Gedrick tells him that “it’s okay to be angry sometimes” and suggests that they find a way to channel his anger into something useful. In a few sentences, talk about how you can channel your negative emotions into something useful. Describe how you yourself turn negative emotions into something useful.

Mr. Gedrick and Stanley enlist the help of Amelia to draw up some plans for their big project. What do you think their big project will entail? What kind of project would you want to spend the summer working on?

Amelia dreams about being an architect when she is older. What do you dream about being when you grow up? Describe your ideal future career.

Bob gets out of his cage and both Fergus and Amelia blame Stanley for it. Have you ever lost something and been blamed for it? How did you fix the situation? Has someone ever lost something of yours? In a few sentences, describe how you would handle either situation if it happened to you.

In order to find Bob, Stanley must crawl into the dark crawl space underneath the house which scares him. Have you ever had to do something that scared you to help out a friend? In a few sentences, describe a situation where that has, or might, happen.

Amelia tells Stanley and Mr. Gedrick that their new lizard habitat for Bob has given her the inspiration she needed to make their plans a reality. In a few sentences, describe where you find your creative inspiration.

Mr. Gedrick tells Fergus that Stanley looks up to him. Who do you look up to? In a few sentences describe why you look up to this person.

While visiting the house to go over Mrs. Darrow’s plans for the Community Arts Center, Stanley catches Mr. Huxley taking photos of the plans while Mrs. Darrow’s back is turned. What do you think Mr. Huxley’s plan for the photos is?

When Amelia cuts down the dead tree in the backyard, it falls and destroys their kitchen. How do you think they will handle the accident? Do you think Amelia will get in trouble?

Mr. Gedrick directs Stanley to place the rope he found in the crawl space around the globe and pull as hard as he can. Were you surprised when the globe opened up? In a few sentences, describe what you thought was going to happen and how that differs from what actually happened.

After visiting Mr. Darrow’s grave together as a family with Mr. Gedrick, Mr. Gedrick announces that he will be leaving but “will visit soon.” Do you think they will ever see Mr. Gedric again? Describe how you think that meeting would go.

Book Talk Teasers:

Show the book trailer for Mr. Gedrick and Me. After viewing, ask for predictions for what will happen in the story.

Have students design their ideal nanny, magical powers included! Discuss what life would be like being taken care of by their ideal nanny. Encourage them to read the book to find out what life with Mr. Gedrick is like.

Read Alikes:

Alternative Caregivers

Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost. Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself. (NoveList Plus)

Martin, Ann M. Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has left her Upside-Down House and the animals that live there in the care of her twenty-something niece, Missy. Luckily for the town’s families, Missy Piggle-Wiggle is capable of concocting the same sort of inventive cures for bad behavior that made her aunt an indispensable community resource. (NoveList Plus)

Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins. The wind brings four English children a new nanny who slides up the banister and introduces them to some delightful people and experiences. (NoveList Plus)


O’Connor, Barbara. Wish. A story about a girl who, with the help of the dog of her dreams, discovers that family doesn’t always have to be related–they are simply people who love you for who you are. (NoveList Plus)


Kuhlman, Evan. The last invisible boy. In the wake of his father’s sudden death, twelve-year-old Finn feels he is becoming invisible as his hair and skin become whiter by the day, and so he writes and illustrates a book to try to understand what is happening and to hold on to himself and his father. (NoveList Plus)

MacLachlan, Patricia. Waiting for the magic. When Papa goes away for a little while, his family tries to cope with the separation by adopting four dogs and a cat. (NoveList Plus)

Oppel, Kenneth. Inkling. Inkling drags himself from the pages of a sketchbook on a mission to help Ethan and his artist dad. (NoveList Plus)

Williams, Carol Lynch. Never that far. When twelve-year-old Libby’s grandfather dies of a heart attack, it’s up to her–and his spirit–to find a way to help her father overcome his grief and for their family to find peace. (NoveList Plus)


Fusco, Kimberly Newton. Chasing Augustus. Rosie’s led a charmed life with her loving dad, who runs the town donut shop. It’s true her mother abandoned them when Rosie was just a baby, but her dad’s all she’s ever needed. But now that her father’s had a stroke, Rosie lives with her tough-as-nails grandfather. And her beloved dog, Gloaty Gus, has just gone missing. Rosie’s determined to find him. With the help of a new friend and her own determination, she’ll follow the trail anywhere . . . no matter where it leads. If she doesn’t drive the whole world crazy in the meantime. (NoveList Plus)

Teague, David. How Oscar Indigo broke the universe: and put it back together again. Oscar Indigo has never been good at baseball, so naturally he’s nervous when he has to fill in for his team’s injured All-Star, Lourdes. Luckily, Oscar has a mysterious gold watch that can stop time, which he uses to fake a game-winning home run. Now Oscar’s the underdog hero of his town and even Lourdes wants to be his friend. (NoveList Plus)


Carman, Patrick.  Mr. Gedrick and Me. Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.


Mr. Gedrick and Me.

Carman, Patrick (author).

Nov. 2017. 224p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, hardcover, $16.99 (9780062421609); HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, e-book, $16.99 (9780062421623). Grades 3-6. REVIEW. First published November 1, 2017 (Booklist).

Stanley’s family hasn’t been the same since his dad died. His sister is always in her room, his brother never has time to play, and his mom is buried in work. While visiting his dad one day in the cemetery, Stanley sees a strange, jauntily dressed man sitting near his dad’s grave. Imagine his surprise when this man—Mr. Gedrick—shows up at their doorstep as their new nanny. Mr. Gedrick begins to clean up the house right away, and soon he and Stanley are spending much of their time together. With his particular magic, the children and their mom begin to realize that they’re all afraid of doing what their father would have wanted them to do: move on. Along the way, the kids come together to work on a special plan and help their mom rediscover her talent and passion. With an energetic, bright, and outgoing narrator in Stanley, there is never a dull moment. Lightly fantastical with plenty of emotional heft, this will please young readers who like their stories to have some depth. — Selenia Paz                           Used with the permission of Booklist

School Library Journal (August 1, 2017

Gr 3-5-A stand-alone novel that brings a little magic to a difficult but familiar middle grade topic. The Darrow family has recently lost their father. Stanley, the youngest, pines to be noticed, while his brother Fergus seeks solace on the baseball field. Amelia rarely leaves her room, while Mrs. Darrow struggles to find inspiration and regain her footing at her architectural firm. The Darrows hire Mr. Gedrick to help around the house, but they soon find out he is a very different sort of nanny. Mr. Gedrick has a car that bends time, a talent for breakfast, and uncanny similarities to the late Mr. Darrow. Ultimately, the family and Mr. Gedrick work together to heal their wounds and grow stronger. While it is clear that Mr. Gedrick has magical abilities, it is a subtle form of fantasy and packed with humor. The presentation of loss is tempered substantially through Stanley, the most optimistic of the Darrows. The plot resolves neatly and not all that realistically, but this doesn’t prevent a satisfying conclusion. This joy-filled and charming tale will resonate with children who have faced a recent loss. Readers will come away with a feel-good assurance that wounds heal in time and loved ones are never far away. VERDICT A good choice as a family read-aloud or for those experiencing grief; generally recommended for large collections.-Taylor Worley, Springfield Public Library, OR © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.  Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal ©2017