Module 5: Gregor the Overlander

11 07 2010

Book Cover

Summary: While 11-year-old Gregor is watching his 2-year-old sister Boots she opens a vent and falls in. Gregor goes after her only to discover the vent is a chute that carries them miles below the earth’s surface into the Underland. Here he discovers a world he never knew, a world filled with giant cockroaches, bats, rats, and people with translucent skin. He also discovers that he has to fulfill a prophecy that was made hundreds of years ago when then first humans came to dwell below the earth, a prophecy that could mean his death, and could mean the rescue of his father who has been trapped in the Underland for over two years.

Citation: Collins, Suzanne. (2003) Gregor the Overlander. New York: Scholastic Press.

My Impressions: I’ve read Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series which I loved and was eager to read more of her work. Although I enjoyed the book, it took me a while to get over the giant cockroaches (gross, gross, gross!!!). It wasn’t until I got toward the middle of the book that I really started to get into the story. It was then that I felt I understood the characters and that the world that Gregor had fallen into came alive for me. However, by the end of the book I was into the story enough that I was ready to read the sequel.

Reviews:

“Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collin’s debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget.” –Goodreads.com review

“Collins creates a fascinating, vivid, highly original world and a superb story to go along with it, and Gregor is endearing as a caring, responsible big brother who rises triumphantly to every challenge. This is sure to be a solid hit with young fantasy fans.” –Ed Sullivan, Booklist Online review

Library Use Suggestion: Gregor, like Alice in Wonderland and the Pensive children, finds his way into another world through a portal in his world. Children could come up with their own world, describing who or what inhabits it, and what portal would exist between our world and the one they made up.

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Module 1: The Story of Ferdinand

27 06 2010

Book Cover

Summary: This is the classic story of the pacifist bull Ferdinand. Unlike the other bulls who love to “run and jump, and butt their head together”, Ferdinand wants nothing more than to live out his days sitting underneath a cork tree. However, Ferdinand is selected to perform in the bullfighting ring in Madrid and thus ensues a comic tableau.

Citation: Leaf, Munro. (1936) The Story of Ferdinand. New York: Viking.

My Impressions: I enjoyed this book about the pacifist Ferdinand. The black-and-white illustrations are simple, just as Ferdinand’s life and pleasures are simple. The author really did make me wonder how Ferdinand would get out of having to spend his life in the bull ring, but Ferdinand’s solution was simple and appropriate.

Reviews:

“What else can be said about the fabulous Ferdinand? Published more than 50 years ago (and one of the bestselling children’s books of all time), this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations…Robert Lawson’s black-and-white drawings are evocative and detailed, with especially sweet renditions of Ferdinand, the serene bull hero. The Story of Ferdinand closes with one of the happiest endings in the history of happy endings–readers of all ages will drift off to a peaceful sleep, dreaming of sweet-smelling flowers and contented cows.” –Amazon.com review excerpt

Library Use Suggestions: This book could be used in a story time and afterward children could come up with things that make them happy, just like Ferdinand was happy sitting under the cork tree smelling flowers, and draw it.