Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Magician's Nephew

A: The Magician’s Nephew
B: C.S. Lewis
D: Harper Collins Publications, 1994
E: High Fantasy Novel
F: advanced 4th and 5th
G: Digory is a country boy living in London with his Aunt and Uncle because his mother is very ill. He meets Polly while playing outside and they become close friends. One day while exploring Polly’s attic and trying to get to the next empty, they windup in Digory’s Uncle’s study. He is experimenting with some magic and ends up sending Polly and Digory into another world using a set of rings. This new world is a wooded area with many pools. Each of these pools leads them to another world. In one world the accidentally release a powerful witch named Jadis. They mistakenly bring her back to earth and quickly find out they must get her back to her own world, so the take her, and their uncle, and a cab driver and horse with them, but they wind up in Narnia by accident. They get to see a lion singing the world into existence. After the lion has created the world, he makes the cab driver king and his wife queen. He also sends Digory and Polly on a winged horse to a garden to get an apple that will be planted to form a tree that will protect the world from the evil witch Jadis. Digory also takes one of the apples to his mother when he gets back, and it cures her. He then plants the core and it grows into a tree, which is later made into a magical wardrobe.
H: This book hit all the right buttons for me. From start to finish I was totally engrossed with the magical world created be C.S. Lewis. One thing I noticed, and something that I really liked, was that Digory and Polly did not get along for the whole story, the fought just like real kids. This allowed me to trust the story a lot more. The magical aspect of this book made me think of the “Harry Potter” series. I really loved this book and will be reading the rest of the series as soon as possible.
I: To me, this book would best be used as a free read to get kids interested in reading. I think, that for many kids, this will be a great read and will get them geared up to read the rest of the series.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The books I
compared are
The Stinky
Cheese Man,
and Chicken Little.

Swamp Angel

A: Swamp Angel
B: Isaacs, Anne
C: Zelinsky, Paul O.
D: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1994
E: Picture Book, Tall Tale, and Caldecott Honor Book
F: K-3
G: Angelica Longrider was born scarcely taller than her mother and couldn’t climb a tree without help. She grows up to be a great woods woman, building cabins, butting out fires, stopping floods, and other great things. She even saved a wagon train from the swamp. There was also a giant bear in those parts at that time. His name was Thundering Tarnation and he was terrorizing all of Tennessee. Swamp Angel entered a competition to kill him and was soon the last person standing. When she finally found the bear, they started a great fight. They fought and fought when they finally fell asleep. While they were asleep, Swamp Angel snored down a tree that killed Tarnation. When they cooked him up, he fed all of Tennessee. Swamp angel took his hid and went west; his hide is now the Shortgrass Prairie.
H: This book is awesome. I am a fan of the old Jack Tales and this book is along the same lines, only with pictures. The story in this book breaks the stereotype that men have to be the hero by having a larger than life woman saving the day. This story also shows her in a larger then life battle with a giant bear. I also love how the fight takes them all over the state. She is a giant hero whose tradition lives on.
I found the illustrations in this book to be amazing. The way that Paul O. Zelinsky painted the pictures on wood veneers. This gives the book an old fashioned feel. It also adds a wonderful border around the pages. The wood background also gives the paintings a very soft feel. This makes them feel more realistic. I also like the way that the pictures tell the story along with the words. Even if a child could not read, they would still be able to understand the story.
I: This would be a great book to just have as a silent reading book for students. Even students that have a hard time reading would be able to figure out the story and this might spark their interest and would keep them from getting frustrated. I would also use this book to introduce tall tales and folklore. I could then have the student write down a story that they have heard or that they make up. This would be a great way to practice creative writing skills.

Lon PoPo

A: Lon Po Po
B: Young, Ed
D: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1989
E: Picture Book, Asian Folktale, and Winner of the 1990 Caldecott Medal
F: K-2
G: This book starts with a dedication to all of the wolves of the world, thanking them for lending their good name for our symbol of darkness. The story starts as a Mother is going away to see the Grandmother (PoPo) on her birthday. She left her three daughters behind with instructions to lock the door at sunset and latch it. That night, a wolf sneaks up to the house and convinces that children that it is their PoPo. The wolf says that it did not pass their mother and convinces the children to let him in. When the wolf is inside, he blows out the candle quickly, so that the children cannot see his face. They then get in bed, but the children notice something different about their Grandmother. The comment on her tail (which they think is a brush) and her claws (which they think are thorns). The wolf diverts that questions but Sang, the oldest girl, quickly light a light and see the wolf before he blows out the light. She then tells that wolf that the nuts of gingko will make her live-forever. The wolf believes this and lets them climb the tree to pick some. The girls climb the tree than say that the wolf must pick them for himself, so they start to pull him up, however the keep dropping him until he dies and they are safe. When their mother gets back, they tell he the whole story.
H: I remember reading this story when I was very young and I remember how I thought it was so much better than our story of little red ridding hood. I will start by talking about the illustrations. I love the imagery crated by the tone of them. Like the darkness that follows the wolf inside. I do not, however, like the way the illustrations are sectioned on the pages. I feel like this takes away from their effectiveness.
This story captures the fear that children have when staying by themselves. I remember when I was smaller, I was always scared at night, and that was when my parents were home. This book also does a wonderful job of capturing the creativeness of children. This is at its peak when Sang decides to trick the Wolf with the Gingko tree. It is also wonderful when the children all work together to defeat the Wolf. This is a great book, but it does have its fallbacks for me.
I: This book would be great to use in a kindergarten class when talking about family. The way the sisters bonded together would be a great way to talk about sibling connection. This would also be a great way to show creative thinking in action. It shows how quick thinking can solve problems, or give you enough time to solve the problems. It also shows teamwork between the sisters.