Posted in Books for Assignment #5

CRENSHAW

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Applegate, K. (2015). Crenshaw. New York: Feiwel & Friends.

Fifth-grader Jackson is too good a budding scientist not to understand where the data is leading him. Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. It all reminds him of what happened a few years ago, when his family became homeless and lived in their minivan for 14 weeks. But as he broods about this possibility, Jackson is surprised by another blast from the past: the return of Crenshaw, his former imaginary friend, a giant, snarky cat with a taste for purple jelly beans. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Theme-

In Crenshaw, there’s an undertone of sadness that is coupled with a hopefulness that is extremely important in children’s literature. Crenshaw makes you think about the harshness of homelessness; however, it shows the importance of family, hope, and friendship–both of the imaginary and real kind.

Character-

Jackson, Crenshaw’s protagonist, is going through a rough patch emotionally because of his parents’ job situations and their past financial problems. Crenshaw, Jackson’s imaginary friend, serves as a tool for Jackson to be able to tell his parents the truth about how he really feels. Jackson feels such anxiety and pressure on him because he knows he has to be a grown up for himself and his younger sister.

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Posted in Books for Assignment #5

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT

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Landry, D. (2007).  Skulduggery pleasant NY: HarperCollins.

Skulduggery Pleasant is about a young girl named Stephanie Edgley and a long-dead mage named Skulduggery Pleasant as they try to stop an evil Adept named Nefarian Serpine from getting his hands on the Sceptre of the Ancients and bringing back the Faceless Ones.When twelve-year-old Stephanie’s beloved uncle dies, she finds herself the benefactor of his sizable fortune. What she is most surprised to inherit is her uncle’s dear friend Skulduggery Pleasant, ace detective and sorcerer extraordinaire. Once she learns about Skulduggery’s magical world, Stephanie realizes that she can never go back to her own ordinary existence. After some convincing, Stephanie teams up with Skulduggery to uncover the truth behind her uncle’s death.

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Character –

Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton who is very cunning and comical. After his horrifying death, Skulduggery did not move on but stayed and watched the war around him. He also watches over Stephanie (Valkyrie Cain) throughout the novel as they search for the mysteries behind her Uncle’s death.

Plot-

Stephanie is left a fortune when her novelist uncle passes away unexpectedly. While his will is being reading, Stephanie notice a strange figure in the room who turns out to be Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective. Together, Stephanie and Skulduggery try to solve the mystery of her uncle’s death. Towards the end of the book, Stephanie even choose a new name for herself, Valkyrie Cain.

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Posted in Books for Assignment #5

COMICS SQUAD

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Holm, J. (2014). Comics squad: Recess! NY: Random House.

This amusing and intriguing comic book style graphic novel is the perfect book for children of all ages. The animated stories bring the characters to life including Baby Mouse and Lunch Lady. The conglomeration of stories from multiple authors gives unique perspectives on the theme: recess.

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Style-

Comics Squad: Recess features comic strip/graphic novel style stories by different authors but that are all connected by their same color scheme of black, white and orange.  There are a range of writing styles represented to show each artist’s unique qualities which help the book flow smoothly.

Theme-

All of the stories within Comics Squad: Recess are held together by the theme of recess, and many of the stories also feature aspects of fantasy. The recess theme is consistent throughout but seen in different ways including through a lunch lady fighting a pizza monster, a magic acorn, a cupcake with superpowers, mean vegetables, and an evil cat who erases all the words in books to make other dumb. Although this is a collection of individual stories, the common theme throughout is what make this compilation so great.

Lesson Plans

Posted in Books for Assignment #5

RAPUNZEL’S REVENGE

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Hale, S. (2008).  Rapunzel’s revenge. NY: Bloomsbury.

The main character is Rapunzel, a young girl raised in a well-guarded villa by a woman she thinks is her mother. When Rapunzel learns that the woman is in fact an evil sorceress who rules the land with an iron fist, she tries to escape, only to end up imprisoned in a high tower, her hair cursed to grow endlessly. But rather than waiting for any handsome prince to come along and rescue her, Rapunzel simply braids her hair into two long rope-like braids, frees herself, and then using her braids as lariats and whips sets out to end the sorceress’s rule once and for all. She meets up with Jack, who is down on his luck until his pet goose finally lays an egg, and together they travel across the deserts and forests, having adventures.

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Character-

Rapunzel is a strong, young woman who waits for no prince. Her curiosity leads her to uncover the truth about the woman who she thought was her mother. This causes her to be locked in a tower away from everyone. Motivated by her desire to see Gothel brought to justice, she breaks free from her captor and begins a journey to find the truth about her past,  

Setting-  

The setting of Rapunzel’s Revenge is mainly seen through the illustrations in the book. Since this setting is a fictional fantastical, wild west type place, the illustrations have to show that. There are elements of normalcy mixed with fantasy to create a spectacular setting.

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Posted in Books for Assignment #5

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

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Gaiman, N. (2008).  The graveyard book. NY: HarperCollins.

 

As a toddler, Bod crawls to safety after the attack of his family to a nearby graveyard. He is raised by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery inhabitants. On his journey through childhood and adolescence, he befriends a human girl, helps the spirit of a witch, opens and subsequently escapes a ghoul-gate, dances the Macabray, and even attends school outside of the graveyard, where he confronts the school bullies. The characters in Bod’s life are unique and influential.

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Style-

It is fascinating to see how The Graveyard Book is like a short story collection and also a novel. Each chapter in the book is a different part in Bod’s life, but the story as a whole comes together to form a cohesive novel, creating something new with The Graveyard Book.

Setting-

This book is set in a graveyard that is Bod’s home. The contemporary setting is displayed through the technology that surrounds Bod even though he is separated from it. At the end of the book, Bod leaves the graveyard for good which signifies his growth.

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Posted in Books for Assignment #5

GREGOR THE OVERLANDER

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Collins, S. (2004). Gregor the Overlander. NY: Scholastic.

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his two-year-old sister, Boots, through a grate in their New York City apartment building’s laundry room, they discover an amazing Underland world filled with giant talking cockroaches, bats, spiders, and rats. In this Underland lies the kingdom of Regalia, inhabited by pale-skinned, violet-eyed humans called Underlanders. Gregor’s appearance sparks a war between the Underlanders and the rats, and he finds himself the reluctant subject of a strange prophecy that foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. He embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

Evaluative Criteria for Fantasy:

Setting-

Overland is the setting at the beginning the book with Gregor and his family at his house in New York. Most of the book takes place in the city of Regalia or other parts of the Underland. The descriptions of Regalia and the Underland city are so extensively vivid and distinct that readers are meant to visualize those settings.

Theme-

Gregor the Overlander covers political themes, but is still exciting and thrilling enough to engage young readers.  The book addresses , such as war, genocide, prejudice, broken families, and the nature of trust and friendship.