Module 10: Amulet: The Stonekeeper

12 08 2010

Book Cover

Summary: When Emily and Navin move with their mom to an old family house in a small town they aren’t expecting much. But when their mom is kidnapped by a strange tentacled creature Emily and Navin follow them through the basement door and into another world. Here they discover a strange land beset by many dangers that they must survive in order to save their mom. With the help of some unexpected friends and a strange amulet they will do whatever they must to get her back.

Citation: Kibuishi, Kazu (2008) Amulet: The Stonekeeper. New York: Scholastic.

My Impressions: I began this book with low expectations and not expecting to like it. I’ve never read a graphic novel, and have never had a desire to. I like having lots of words on the page to be able to understand the story and characters better, and I wanted to create my own images in my mind. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I liked Amulet. The story was entertaining and fast-paced and despite the lack of words I was able to get a firm grasp on the characters and plot. This book definitely changed my view of graphic novels. While I probably won’t be reading many on my own, they certainly have their place and they are not without merit.


“Almost too clever and poignant, Amulet is, on the surface, about navigating the murky waters of adolescence and, beneath that, an exploration of abandonment and survival. This first volume of Amulet isn’t a disappointment, but it does feel like a warmup to the main event. If anything, it’s a clear indication that Kibuishi has just begun skimming the surface of his own talent.” —Publishers Weekly review excerpt

Library Use Suggestion: This would be a good book to recommend to an ESL student or one who does not like reading. Since the story is told through pictures and words are secondary (but still present on every page) this would be a good book to try to get a patron interested in reading and books.


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.


“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.” – 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.

Module 2: Jumanji

27 06 2010

Book Cover

Summary: One afternoon two restless children discover a board game that has been abandoned in the park and they decide to play. However, they soon discover that this is no ordinary board game, this is a board game that comes to life, causing a stampede of rhinos, a pack of rhinos, and other outrageous things to come to life right in their house. The children must hurry and finish the game before their house is destroyed, or worse their parents come home to find what has been unleashed on the house!

Citation: Van Allsburg, Chris. (1981) Jumanji. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

My Impressions: Although I’ve seen the movie a long time ago, I don’t remember reading Jumanji. This was a very entertaining book with great black-and-white illustrations that enhance the text and bring it to life. I thought the characters were believable as well as the scenario–I for one remember clearly the intense boredom that overcomes children with too much time on their hands. Jumanji also reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, also by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express. Obviously the style of illustration is very similar, but the idea that kids can experience fantastical adventure that is unique to childhood and that adults do not understand is also what I love about both books.


“A beautiful simplicity of design, balance, texture, and a subtle intelligence beyond the call of illustration.” —New York Times Book Review

Library Use Suggestions: A fun story time activity to go along with this book is to have children create their own “board” games on a piece of paper.