Friday, April 1, 2011

Module 3-Tuesday and Jumanji

Tuesday is a fabulous children's book with very vivid images that really emphasize the plot. It starts with "Tuesday evening, around 8." Such an innocuous statement, but in this case, it leads us into a story that has flying frogs running amok in a town that doesn't know how to begin dealing with them! Lily pads are dropped everywhere and frogs chase the dog that chased it, teaching the dog (HOPEFULLY!) not to chase frogs!

This story really made me laugh and I think that it will appeal to kids of all ages. Frogs fly through the air and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting town. The illustration are hilarious and creative.

In Class
The illustrations in this story just amazing. They capture the excitement and the surprise of flying frogs. I would love to use this story with a class that is beginning a unit about fiction or narrative writing. Getting kids to think 'outside of the box' can be difficult, but using this as an example could help them understand that it is ok to think outside of the parameters of daily life.

On the publisher's website, several reviews are listed and the book was even a started book for the School Library Journal. The best reviews are as follows:

*“Kids will love its lighthearted, meticulously imagined, fun-without-a-moral fantasy. Tuesday is bound to take off.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“A surreal, almost wordless picture book shows the mysterious levitation of lily pads and frogs from a pond one Tuesday at dusk. The frogs soar around town until they fall to the ground at sunrise. Large, detailed watercolors use dramatic points of view and lighting effects and often show a humorous range of expressions. There is a forecast of further surprises to come on following Tuesdays.” — Horn Book

Jumanji was such an outstanding book, that it was adapted for a movie. The illustrations that van Allsburg created are life-like and creative. He uses the illustrations to show the action in ways that are not necessarily 'head on' like you might typically see in a regular children's book. We see more of what is happening from the characters point of view, instead. The thought and planning that went into the story are really evident in that the story's excitement is not lost even though the images are only black and white pencil drawings.

Jumanji landed at number 50 on the School Library Journal's "Top 100 Picture Books" list. Travis Jonker reviews the book and really emphasizes that the illustrations keep this book from going silly. I do have to disagree with Mr. Jonker, though, on his opinion about the movie adaptation. I think the movie was outstanding and really did a great job of adapting the story for a movie without leaving the viewer wanting.

In Class
I would love to see Jumanji used with younger students that are learning about jungle animals and ecosystems. It would be really fun to have the kids talk about where the animals come from and where they should be in real life, outside of the house!

Jonker, T. (2009, April 13). Top 100 Picture Books. Retrieved April 1, 2011, from School Library Journal:
Publishers, H. (2011). Tuesday. Retrieved April 1, 2011, from Houghton Mifflin Publishers:
Van Allsburg, C. (1981). Jumanji. Chicago: Houghton Mifflin.
Weisner, D. (1991). Tuesday. New York: Clarion.

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