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MILLIONS OF CATS BY WANDA GA’G
Ga’g, Wanda. 1928. MILLIONS OF CATS. Ill by Wanda Ga’g. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ISBN 0-399-23315-6
b. PLOT SUMMARY
In the book Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga’g, a lonely old woman and old man live in a nice home but are unhappy. The old woman suggests that they find a cat, so the old man ventures off in search of one. After a long journey, a man finds a hill which contains “millions and billions and trillions of cats” (Ga’g 1928, 5). When the old man can’t decide which cat to take home, all of them follow the old man and meet the old woman. The woman tells them that they can only keep one cat, so the cats argue and fight over who is the prettiest cat. Only one cat survives this “quarrel,” because it didn’t consider itself pretty. After care from the old man and woman the cat becomes exactly the cat that the couple always wanted.
c. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Wanda Ga’g’s book, Millions of Cats, is one of the earliest children’s picture books published in the United States and introduces itself by using creative black and white artwork to coordinate the text and the images. The use of the repetitive millions of cats line, “hundreds and thousands and millions and billions and trillions of cats,” is one that is common in modern literature, one in which children often participate in, but it can also serve to help children learn about numbers. The artwork in the book is dark yet full of detail, taking up both sides of each page and requiring the patience to balance the black and white hues, but also to put in the amount of detail to draw all of the “millions of cats.”
• 2012 Top 100 Picture Books #21: “Considered by many to have ushered in the age of the modern picture book, this Newbery Honor winner is characterized by innovative design and a strong storyteller’s cadence.”
Awards won: 1929 Newberry Book Award
Related books: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
Activities: From Teachingbooks.net activity sheets: http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=4536
and Litart: http://litart.com/literacy-partnerships/labooks/millions-of-cats
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS BY MO WILLEMS
Willems, Mo. GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS. Ill by Mo Willems. 2012.Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN978-0-06-210418-2.
b. PLOT SUMMARY
The classic story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is retold in this Mo Willems version which replaces bears with dinosaurs and includes sarcastic humor. In this version of the story three menacing dinosaurs are looking to make dinner out of an unsuspecting Goldilocks. Setting a trap the dinosaurs leave their home unlocked and wait for Goldilocks to take the bait. As Goldilocks goes through familiar routes (with a twist) like eating chocolate pudding and looking for chairs and beds to occupy, Goldilocks suddenly realizes that she is in the home of dinosaurs and not bears and makes a quick get away.
c. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Mo Willems’ take on this old classic story adds beautiful illustrations as well as new twists in the story of Goldilocks. Willems’ creates both story and illustration in this colorful rendition. Although we have all heard the story in some form before, this version begins with the dinosaurs attempting to lure little Goldilocks into their home so that she can become their snack. This book can be used as a fun and modern twist to an old classic and can teach young students about sarcasm and can also begin compare/contrast critical thinking as a school activity. Mo Willems imaginative artistry found in books such as Knuffle Bunny and The Duckling Gets a Cookie, both by Mo Willems.
• School Library Journal: “The book’s generous trim size, varied illustrative perspectives, and dramatic text lend this title perfectly to a lively group read-aloud.”
• WorldCat.org website taken from Good Reads.com: As usual, Willems takes the reader’s expectations, flips them up, inverts them, and brings it all together with a humorous flair and unmistakable style. Willems’ tongue-in-cheek text is witty and he knows kids, as well as adults, will be in on the joke.”
• Nominated for a 2014 Children’s Choice award: http://childrenschoiceaward.wikispaces.com/Goldilocks+And+The+Three+Dinosaurs
• Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall
• Goldilocks Returns by Lisa Campbell Ernst
• Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson
• The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! by Mo Willems
• Found on the Children’s Choice award Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs activity sheets: http://childrenschoiceaward.wikispaces.com/Goldilocks+And+The+Three+Dinosaurs
• TeachingBooks.net contains information such as links and activities for Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=31318&a=1
• Link to .pdf activity sheet provided by Teaching Books: http://files.harpercollins.com/HCChildrens/OMM/Media/Goldilocks%20and%20the%20Three%20Dinosaurs%20Activities.pdf
THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET BY BRIAN SELZNICK
Selznick, Brian. THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. Ill. by Brian Selznick. 2007. New York, NY: Scholastic Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-439-81378-5, ISBN-10: 0-439-81378-6
b. PLOT SUMMARY
An orphaned boy lives hidden in a Paris train station, maintaining the clocks in the building that his uncle has abandoned. Trained by his uncle and father to be a horologist or “clock maker,” Hugo works and lives in the station, often stealing food and other things for his survival and spends his time attempting to repair his father’s automaton. When he is caught stealing parts to repair his father’s automaton, he is required to work for the shopkeeper he has stolen from and small clues arise and help him uncover his past, and lead him on an adventure that will bring the answers Hugo is looking for and a family with a secret past.
c. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
This beautifully illustrated book follows Hugo as his own adventure unfolds in this children’s book. Brian Selznick’s black and white illustrations make this book a hefty 533 pages, however, many of the drawings take on a flip book style of design as you move from page to page even before the written words appear. For example, the first few pages opens up to a window view of a Moon, then moves to a Paris skyline. While sometimes categorized as fiction, this book can target an older reader audience still in love with the picture book. The black and white drawings are very detailed and created using a crosshatching technique to add more darkness and mystery to the book.
• 2012 Top 100 Picture Books #39 “But the allure of this book for kids can’t be stressed enough.”
• Booklist: Selznick’s “novel in words and pictures,” an intriguing mystery set in 1930s Paris about an orphan, a salvaged clockwork invention, and a celebrated filmmaker, resuscitates an anemic genre—the illustrated novel—and takes it to a whole new level.
Awards won: 2008 Caldecott Medal from the Invention of Hugo Cabret website: http://theinventionofhugocabret.com/news.htm
Activities: TeachingBooks.net Activity and Lesson plan guide: http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=3485
Related books: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, Frindle and School Story by Andrew Clements.