A Wrinkle in Time

© Madeleine L’Engle

Module 4: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Summary

A Wrinkle in Time is the first installment in The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle. It is about a young girl named Meg Murray whose father has been missing and whose younger brother, Charles Wallace, is exceptionally well tuned to the world around him.  Meg’s parents are both government scientists and when Meg’s father disappears after leaving for an extended trip while working on a tesseract, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their friend Calvin, embark on a journey with the help of three strange women to find their father. The three women, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs Which help the children travel through time and space in search of their father and to stop an evil black mass from enveloping Earth.

Impression

This book was originally published in 1962 so needless to say, I had heard of it for a long time. I was pleased to finally be given an excuse to read the story and I am glad that I did! It is truly a magnificent blend of fantasy and science. Though it errs on the side of science fiction, the true science in the book is intriguing and magical in its own way – such as when Meg uses the rhythm of mathematical equations to stop her mind from being taken over. Not only is the information well researched from a scientific perspective, L’Engle is a lyrical writer. There were many times throughout the book where I had to stop and re-read passages because the language was so fluid. I encourage everyone, not just children, to embark on this story.

Reviews

“A Wrinkle in Time is about the ultimate triumph of love in the battle of good and evil. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the fantasy genre and enjoys a good battle.”

– Terrah Wallarab

“The ending is great. I can describe it in one word: BREATHTAKING!”

– Keke Palmer

Library Use

This book would be a great way to introduce mathematics and scientific themes to children. It could function well in the classroom as a book to read side-by-side with projects dealing with shapes, numbers, and scientific learning.

References

A Wrinkle in Time [image]. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.books.google.com

L’Engle, M. (2007). A Wrinkle in Time. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Palmer, K. (2006). Review of A Wrinkle in TimeStoryworks 13(6), 6. Retrieved from http://storyworks.scholastic.com.

Wallarab, T. (2003). Review of A Wrinkle in TimeScholastic Scope 57(4), 15. Retrieved from http://scope.scholastic.com.

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Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China

© Ed Young

Module 3: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China by Ed Young.

Summary

This story is a Chinese version of the Red Riding Hood children’s fairy tale. In this tale, three young girls are left at the house while their mother goes to visit their grandmother, or Po Po. After the girls lay down for the night, they receive a knock on the door. Outside, a wolf wearing a shawl, pretends to be their Po Po and beckons to be let inside. The children relent and after laying down with the wolf, the children point out his claws and fur but the wolf shrugs them off as items brought for the children’s sake. The eldest child tricks the wolf into going outside where each girl climbs into a ginkgo nut tree. They entice the wolf by telling him how wonderful the nuts are but that he must pick them himself. The children trick the wolf into creating a pulley system which they used to crate the wolf up the tree and drop him from higher and higher heights. Eventually the wolf is defeated and the children run inside and lock the door.

Impression

Although the story is an alternate telling of the Red Riding Hood tale, it piqued my interest by being just different enough from the American version. The children were cunning in tricking the wolf – especially three times with the same trick. The illustrations are incredible – like nothing I’ve ever seen. The images are slightly blended together to create a dreamy quality.

Reviews

The spirit of the wolf pervades the pastel illustrations done in the style of classical Chinese folding-screen panels. The use of a ginkgo tree and its nuts in the plot is problematic, because this tree has an overpowering stench that is never mentioned; but the book boasts a haunting combination of text and illustrations.”

– Suzanne Li

With forceful impressionistic paintings, Young artfully entices readers across the fairy-tale threshold into a story of three girls’ fearless battle of wits with a famished wolf.”

– Trevelyn Jones

Library Use

I think this book would work really well introducing children or even young adults to other cultures. It could be used with other fairy tales from China specifically, or coupled with many cultural fairy tales to provide a wider scope. It could also be read along side fairy tale re-imaginings as they have become popular in the YA genre lately (See Beastly by Alex Flinn, The Lunar Chronicles books by Marissa Meyer, etc.)

References

Jones, T. (1998). Review of Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story From ChinaSchool Library Journal 44(11), 43. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Li, S. (2000). Review of Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story From ChinaBook Links 9(5), 18. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Lon Po Po [image]. (2003). Retrieved from http://www.vickiblackwell.com/lit/lonpopo.html.

Young, E. (1989). Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story From China. New York: Philomel Books.

Kitten’s First Full Moon

© Kevin Henkes

Module 3: Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Summary

This is the story of a kitten and her adventures on the night of her first full moon. The kitten sees the moon full and round for the first time and believe it to be a bowl of milk. She runs through the garden, climbs up a tree, and splashes in a pond only to still have the milk bowl allude her each time. After giving up and returning home, the kitten finds a bowl of milk waiting for her on the door step.

Impression

This book, though simplistic, would be fun for a young audience. The story is simple but the repetitive nature of the prose makes it fun to read and to listen to. The illustrations provide a large part of the wonder of the book because although simple like the story, they are emotive and push the story forward.

© Kevin Henkes

Reviews

“This Caldecott illustrator’s expressive charcoal drawings give quiet life to the eloquent prose”

– Peggy Leggat, Steve Metzger

“[B]road black lines give the drafting a stylized clarity, but there’s enough textured modeling to ensure that the result is emphatic rather than merely flat; framed sequences and creative page layout help keep the momentum flowing and the visual interest high even with the deceptive simplicity of line and palette. The result is a tender but robust little picture book that will be storytime catnip.”

– Deborah Stevenson

Library Use

The book could be a fun way to introduce the phases of the moon to young children. It could be a good starting point to introduce the the moon phases while prompting children to come up with their own ideas of what the moon looks like.

References

Henkes, K. (2004). Kitten’s First Full Moon. USA: Greenwillow Books.

Kitten’s First Full Moon [image]. (2012). Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2012/06/11/top-100-picture-books-25-kittens-first-full-moon-by-kevin-henkes/

Leggat, P & Metzger, S. (2004). Review of Kitten’s First Full MoonScholastic Parent & Child 12(1), 16. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Stevenson, D. (2004). Review of Kitten’s First Full MoonBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 57(7), 277-278. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

© Judi & Ron Barrett

Module 2: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett

Summary

One night, after a pancake incident in the kitchen, two children listen to a tall-tale bedtime story told by their grandfather. The story is about the town of Chewandswallow. This town is noteworthy because it doesn’t rain or snow or storm there with water or wind, it rains juice, snows peas, and storms hamburgers. The people of the town use the weather as their primary food source. The grandfather tells of once instance where the weather got so out of control, the people of Chewandswallow had to evacuate the town – the pancakes were so large they covered the school, the meatballs so heavy they broke holes in the roofs, and the tomato sauce so thick it created a tornado. The children are delighted at this story and imagine the snow in their backyards as mashed potatoes and the sun as a pat of butter.

Impression

Though this is an older book, this is the first time I had read it and I thought it was adorable. I have seen the film which keeps the basics the same but is very different from the book. The illustrations go from black and white in “the real world” to colorful and exiting in the town of Chewandswallow. In the style of Richard Scarry, the illustrations of the town are packed full of things to look at – different foods, people reacting to different things, the town signs, the background areas. The images would be ideal for a young audience who can inspect each illustration; the story itself may go over the heads of a younger audience as part of the humor comes from having watched and understood the weather forecast portion of the news.

Reviews

“Don’t look for hidden depths here; the story lives on the surface, and as slapstick it works just fine.”

– Peter Lewis

A savory story to share over and over again.”

– Genevieve Gallagher

Library Use

I think this book would be ideal for teaching kids about weather systems for older children and the food pyramid for younger children. It could easily segue into learning about how weather, inclement and calm, affects peoples daily lives. It could be used to discuss the different types of food show in the book for young readers.

References

Barrett, J. & Barrett, R (Illustrator). (1978). Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. New York: Antheneum Books For Young Readers.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs [image]. (2011). Retrieved from http://miranda-sofroniou.blogspot.com/2011/02/cloudy-with-chance-of-meatballs.html

Gallagher, G. (2006). Review of Cloudy With a Chance of MeatballsSchool Library Journal 52(7), 45. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Lewis, P. (n.d.). Review of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs

Book Trailers

For my Children’s Literature class at the University of North Texas, I had to create book trailers for children’s books. This is the result of that – hope you enjoy them!

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

Harold and the Purple Crayon

© Crockett Johnson

Module 2: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Summary

Harold is a child who, armed with a purple crayon, decides to go for a walk. He encounters many dilemmas, mostly how to get back home, but is saved by his quick thinking and of course – his purple crayon. Harold draws himself back into bed and falls peacefully asleep.

Impression

I thoroughly enjoyed Harold and his sense of adventure. His story is cutesy without being condescending in any way. Harold shows children how to be creative and how to solve problems quickly. Though it is a quite simple story, it still resonates with audiences today and you can see the influence it may have had on newer generations of authors (See Journey by Aaron Becker).

Reviews

Preschool-Gr. 2. Our library’s copy of this has its endpapers decorated with marks of (unauthorized) purple crayon. Perhaps this is not the kind of child empowerment the author of this fantasy meant, but it is still clear evidence of the author’s message: you can create your own world.”

– Jane Marino & Nancy Zachary

Although deceptively simple, with minimalist, childlike drawings, this beloved story continues to be a classic because it evokes the artistic spirit and complete abandon to imagination.”

– Angela Leeper

Library Use

I think that Harold and the Purple Crayon would be a great book to use to segue into art projects or other creativity based programs for students. The story provides a great beginning for a craft workshop, a drawing workshop, or even a writing workshop as it illustrates how to create the world around you.

References

Crockett, J. (1955) Harold and the Purple Crayon. USA:  Harper Collins.

Harold and the Purple Crayon [image]. (2012). Retreived from http://lookiobooks.com/2012/07/18/harold-and-the-purple-crayon/

Leeper, A. (2010). Beyond Harold and the Purple Crayon. Book Links 19(3), 28. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Marino, J. & Zachary, N. (1999). Review of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Book Links 8(3), 29. Retrieved from ProQuest.