Wonderstruck

My youngest squirt was perusing the books in the library the other day when my oldest squirt suggested she read, Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck.  The oldest’s third grade teacher had read to the class Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and she had thoroughly enjoyed it.  Seeing that his books are novels comprised of words and pictures, I asked how the teacher was able to show a class of 20+ eight and nine-year-olds numerous pictures interspersed with words and maintain control.  She replied, “My teacher used the PolyVision Board.”  Gotta love technology especially when used to enhance literacy . . .

wonderstruck

When my youngest cracked open Wonderstruck, great belly laughs could be heard from the backseat on our way home from the library as she watched the wolves approach closer and closer with every turn of the page.

Seeing the novel had heft at over 600 pages, I was concerned it may have been too much for my seven-year-old until I flipped through the pages and saw the plethora of intricate drawings filled with much emotion.  I figured it was worth a try.

That evening I discovered my youngest in her bed, headband light on her head, reading intently, and repeatedly yelling, “Guess what page I’m on now?!”  Needless to say, my oldest squirt hit it out of the ballpark with her recommendation.  The tough part now was asking little sissy to part with Wonderstruck in order to sleep.

Less than a week later, my youngest had finished Wonderstruck and sent me to the library for Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  The pride she exhibited at having read a novel with such girth prompted me to read Wonderstruck, too.  A cross between a picture book, a graphic novel, and historical fiction, I, too, was hooked with those wolves quickly approaching from page one and intrigued by pictures which did not match the storyline being revealed.  Thus, the pictures represent a story in and of itself separate from the written word until the two join towards the end of the novel.  Complex, mysterious, and informative, Selznick has created a new genre of writing, the graphic novel on steroids, which, I think, will engage even the most reluctant readers.

Black Beauty (Graphic Novel)

Lately we’re on a graphic novel kick because my oldest squirt’s BFF introduced her to the Babymouse series.  While at the berry, my oldest and I picked Black Beauty, the graphic novel written by Anna Sewell, retold by L.L. Owens, and illustrated by Jennifer Tanner, for my youngest squirt, and, boy, did we score.

My first grader was immediately drawn to the striking cover which was comprised of Black Beauty set against a cobalt blue background.

After reading the story on her own, my youngest then wanted to read it aloud to me and my hub.  When discussing the book afterwards, we realized the word “kind” was used at least nine times in its sixty-three pages.  Thus, the moral of the story, being humane to animals and one another, was, without a doubt, reiterated and emphasized throughout the book’s entirety.

Not only am I a huge fan of the book’s message, but I also learned what never to use on a horse, a checkrein, a term I am glad I had never been acquainted with before now.

A definite must-read for even the most reluctant young reader.

Later, my squirts and I plan to reenact some of the scenes with our black lab, Daisy Duke, starring as Black Beauty and our American Girls acting as riders. . . literacy in action.