Assignment #5 & 6
The Graveyard Book
Gaiman, N. & McKean, D. (2008) The Graveyard book. New York: Harper Collins Pub.
This book is about a boy named Bod. Owens has lived in a graveyard all his life. He is raised and educated by ghosts, but he cannot leave the graveyard he calls home. However, when Nobody begins to investigate how he ended up in his graveyard, he discovers a secret society from which he may never be safe.
Yes, this book is set in a graveyard; the book gives the exact location of being in Old town, and walk up the hill. An important description is that is covered with “some ten thousand souls”. The description of the graveyard is how I would imagine a haunted graveyard to be. By day, it’s a normal cemetery but, by night it is mysterious with the dead souls awaking. At first I was confused with the time period. I thought they were from the 1800’s by the way they act and talk. But, there is little hints that let me know we’re in the 21st century. Scarlett talks about cell phones, and shool yard bullies taking videos of their victims. I enjoyed all the descriptive words that helped me visualize this book.
This book can be interrupted different ways. There is a theme of friendship when Bod shows curiosity about the people buried in the various graves. Silas helping him learn how to read. He uses some books but, mostly the gravestones. Once he takes interest in the graves he learns something new and interesting about each one. For example, when Bod goes to Hell he goes through a grave that also happens to be a ghoul gate. There is also a theme of symbolisms. The author says he got the idea for The Graveyard Book form his experience of practically living in the library when he was a kid, transported to other world through books. We might think of the graveyard as Bod’s own library, and of each grave as a book, which leads to something new and exciting.
Landy, D. (2008). Skullduggery Pleasant: Playing with fire. Harper Collins Children’s Book: London
This book is about a skeleton and a twelve year girl named Stephaine Edgley. They meet through her uncle and go on an adventure fighting demons, and magic. They go a quest to fight for Stephaine’s family legend. Throughout their quest they become friends. They conquer the evil sorcerer Serpine.
Characters and Plot:
The main characters are uncommon characters. The main male character is dead. He’s also a walking, talking skeleton that can do magic. The main female character is a twelve year old girl named Stephaine Edgley. I was suprising to find out that she would being fighting demons with Skulduggery. This allows young readers to relate to the story. Some little girls and boys dream about being a hero and fighting crime. Also, it hits close to home for readers who are close to their family because, the main purpose of the story is for Stephanie to stop evil sorcerer Serpine from searching for her unless ancient legend. The relationship between the main characters is entertaining, magical and lots of humor.
The plot is believable, logical, and internally consistent. This book has a good flow, change of events. The beginning sets up the information the reader needs to know to understand the main purpose of the book. The book explains that after Stephaines uncle death. See meets one of her uncle’s oldest and strangest friends. The meeting of this friend set up the fantasy in the book. This is when she gets tossed into a world of magic with Skuldugger. After fighting and overcoming their obstacles, the book ends with Stephaine back in your normal world.
Holm, J. (n.d) Comics Squad: Recess!
This book is about eight separate stories that are centered around what happens or doesn’t happen during recess. This book is like a comic book. It is full of laughter and vivid illustrations. It is a contribution to classic Sunday comics. With popular characters from Babymouse and Lunch Lady and brand-new soon-to-be favorite characters from superstars including Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, Gene Yang and many more.
Theme & Setting:
The theme of all stories is supposed to be what happens or doesn’t happen during recess, but the connections between the stories and the theme are often tenuous. All of the comics are colored in shades of black and orange, which make one wonder if a Halloween theme was originally intended. One of my favorites stories was “Jimmy Spinkles in Freeze Tag” written by Eric Wight. It was one of the funniest stories to me.
The setting is at one of my favorite places in grade school, which is recess. The author is very creative with the eight stories in the book. A unique story to me was Babymouse. There was some editing choices that were different for example, when Babymouse binoculars is placed not after the story about Babymouse, but on a different page altogether; and a page on how to draw Betty, another one of the characters, is placed not near her story but at the end of the book. The author was very creative with the humorous and imaginative dialogue and vivid illustrations.
Gregor the Overlander
Collins, S. (2003) Gregor the Overlander. New York: Scholastic
This book is about Gregor and his toddler sister, Boots, fall through a grate in their laundry room and into the land of the Underland, a world far from earth. Surrounded with giant intelligent bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders. Taken in by the humans who live in an underground city, at first they only want to find a way back home. But then Gregor learns that his father, who disappeared years before, is in the Underland too, held prisoner by the rats, who are about to launch a war on the humans. In the end, He defeats the rats, and the Underlanders think that Gregor is the warrior of the prophecy.
Plot & Theme:
The Plot is logical and internally consistent with adventure. The logic of the order of events in the book is apparent from the beginning. As a reader you find out that Gregors dad died two years ago and lives with his mom, sister and grandma. I automatically knew there was a reason that the dad’s death was mentioned. His dad’s death ends up being the focus point of the storyline. The book ends with him finding his dad. Even though, Gregor found his dad in the end. There was a fair amount of adventure. The rats and spiders being enlarged give the story an element of creativity and fantasy. The plot has a great framework and also has great meaning.
There are several themes in this book. It addresses war, prejudice, broken families, and the nature of trust and friendship. Some readers may also recognize themselves in Gregor, who manfully struggles to accept the loss of his father and to support his mother, even though he cannot always help comparing his life to the lives of other children. Collins deals with all these issues subtly and sensitively, never moralizing and never shrinking away from portraying the world as she sees it, intermingled with both the good and the bad. As a reader, you realize the amount of bravery it takes to overcome the creatures of the Underland. I admired him for his bravery and determination in finding his father. He was rewarding to see the transformation and maturity of Collin. This book is great for parents to show child about family and self growth.
Hale, S., & Hale D. (2008). – Urban, L. Rapunzel’s revenge. New York: Bloomsbury.
This book is about is a twist on the tale of Repunzel. After using her hair to free herself from her prison tower, this Rapunzel ignores the pompous prince and teams up with Jack (of Beanstalk fame) in an attempt to free her birth mother and an entire kingdom from the evil witch who once acted as her mother. In the end, she frees her mother and entire kingdom from the evil witch.
Theme & Style:
There is a theme of friendship and bravery. Rapunzel does not conquer her challenges alone she has her friend Jack to accompany her. Jack leaves his old life to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter. Rapunzel could be an inspiration to young readers because of her curiosity and integrity. It is impressive to see Rapunzel battles a wild boar, a sea serpent, killer coyotes, and outlaw kidnappers. In a land filled with liars and thieves, Rapunzel maintains her integrity. This story could show kids not to give up when times get rough. She had a goal and overcame her challenges to uncover her past.
This book has several unique components. It is an action-packed graphic novel follows a comic book format (illustrated by Nathan Hale) and is cleverly peppered with fairy tale references. The Hales apply a new twist to the classic tale. The main character has the characteristics of a modern woman with a strong, sassy, braid-whipping character who waits for no prince. Nathan Hale’s art is stylistically reminiscent of a picture book. It provides a snazzy counterpoint to the folksy text. A dash of typical fairy-tale romance, a strong sense of social justice and a spunky heroine make this a great choice for younger teens.
Selznick, B. (2011). Wonderstruck. New York. Scholastic
This book is about Ben and Rose who secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. In the end, after fifty years apart, these two independent stories, Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures weave back and forth with symmetry.
The book Wonderstruck is appealing to readers that enjoy illustrations. There is more illustrations than text. The story is richly layered and full of small, important details, both in words and pictures. This book could be interesting for adults and young readers. Adults should find themselves more than challenged to delve into all the symbolism and fine details. Kids and adults will be captured by the compelling prose and beautiful pencil drawings. I went back and forth at various pictures to find clues, more details, but often just to marvel at the story unfolding in front of me. I would read this book over again and would share it with my younger niece.
Brian Selznick books: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Houdin Box, The Boy of a Thousand
All three have a quest they are trying to achieve. In Houdini Box, Victor is trying to unlock the box to uncover houdins secrets. In the boy of a thousand, Alonzo is trying to solve the mystery of the creature stalking his town and make his dream of becoming The Boy of a Thousand Faces come true. In The invention of Hugo Cabret, Hugo is trying to save his undercover life and precious secrets.
Love that dog
Creech, S. (2011). Love that dog. New York: Harper Collins.
This book is about the story of Jack, his dog, his teacher, and words. The story develops through Jack’s responses to his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, over the course of a school year. At first, his responses are short and cranky: “I don’t want to” and “I tried. Can’t do it. Once his teacher feeds him inspiration, Jack finds that he has a lot to say and he finds ways to say it. Jack becomes especially fond of a poem by Walter Dean Myers titled “Love That Boy,” and it is this poem that gives Jack a way to tell the story of his beloved dog, Sky.
This book is a wonderful story told in free verse and in journal format. The story evolves in a series of short, pithy poems written by Jake as he responds to his teacher’s attempts to introduce a love of poetry and elicit more information in his responses. It is told completely in Jake’s words, although you can easily conclude the teacher’s comments. This is one my favorite book that I have read. This would be a great tool for English teachers. Even though I am a dance teacher I can relate in the way children give up on dance steps. I could use this story to help motivate those students. This is a perfect resource for teachers and students alike.
These books are all centered on life, love, relationships and especially family relationships. For Creech to grow up in a big family in Cleveland, Ohio, helps her to learn to tell stories that wouldn’t be forgotten in all of the commotion: “I learned to exaggerate and embellish, because if you didn’t, your story was drowned out by someone else’s more exciting one.”