Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Graphic Novel Week: Three Thieves series

Tower of Treasure
by Scott Chandler
Kids Can Press, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

Three circus characters -- an orphan girl who's an acrobat, a blue elf-like creature who juggles (and can pick locks), and a giant purple creature who has enormous strength -- conspire to rob the queen's Tower of Treasure. Flashbacks in black and white show us that the girl, Dessa, has a twin brother who has met an uncertain fate by saving her. The trio finds the treasure room, is caught, escapes, are separated, and are reunited. In the process, Dessa gathers some clues about what might have happened to her brother, and in the end, the three set out together to find him.

The Sign of the Black Rock
by Scott Chandler
Kids Can Press, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

In book two, the three characters from TOWER OF TREASURE wind up at the same inn as the Queen's men who are chasing them. They are helped, discovered, and locked up. They escape, but are rediscovered, separated, locked up again, and escape and are reunited again with more help and more clues about how to find Dessa's brother.

I'm thinking of previewing this series by reading aloud Act One of the first book using the document camera and the SmartBoard.

We can continue to develop our habit of thoroughly previewing a book (and starting our reading thinking) before we ever open a book. The front cover image of THE TOWER OF TREASURE is great for prediction and wondering. The blurb on the back will introduce us to the characters before we meet them and set up the basic outline of the story.

When we open the book, we will see that it is divided into Acts, rather than chapters. We can look at the conventions of graphic novels: panels -- and the direction to read the panels, speech bubbles -- and the direction to read the speech bubbles, size of print, information that is in the illustration rather than the text, and the black and white flashbacks.

We will see that, just like in non-graphic novels, it takes awhile (in this case, about 30 pages) to set up the story for the reader. We will learn about the characters, the setting (place AND time), and the problems/conflicts/what the characters want.

Hmm...that sounds like about three different mini-lessons, not to mention the time it would take to read the first 30 pages under the document camera. Maybe I'll hijack read aloud for a MAXI-lesson...or it could be a week-long series of mini-lessons with one hijacked read aloud.

This is a graphic novel series that needs to be read sequentially. Recommended for readers in 4th-6th grade.

If you're looking for graphic novels for younger readers, browse through our Graphic Novel tag. For even younger readers, wordless books often work in some of the same ways. We haven't been as thorough about tagging wordless books, but a search of our blog with the term "wordless" does an okay job of finding lots of titles.

1 comment:

  1. I will look for these for my boys--thanks!


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