When is a picture book more than a great story for young readers?
Perhaps it's the realization that visual and literary elemnents can only achieve full value when experienced by sophisticated readers. Books of this nature provide secondary school students opportunities for in-depth explorations of story
I was intrigued with Rebecca Bond's Out of the Woods, a story from the life of her grandfather Antonio Willie Giroux.
When Antonio was almost five years old, fire raged through the nearby forest and threatened to destroy the all of the area surrounding Gowganda.
Antonio's family, hotel guests, forest workers, and hotel employees faced imminent danger.
Note the change in color pallet, the frantic angular movements of people and animals.
They retreated to the only place of safety: the lake.
They were not alone. The wildlife that lived in the forest also began to seek refuge in the lake.
"Wolves stood beside deer, foxes beside rabbits. And people and moose stood close enough to touch."
What parallels in history and literature exemplify the concept of separate groups coming together in the face of danger?
Notice what happens to the color pallet when all stand together in the water. Why do you think the artist chose to make this distinct change?
The author's note states that of all of her Papa's stories, this is her favorite and is the story that she wants to preserve for future generations.
What is it about this story that made it so meaningful to the author? Is it the story itself or her grandfather's retelling? How do you think her children will react to the story of their great grandfather?
"Unlike many picture books classified as Sophisticated, which have a wide age range, I believe there are some that only achieve their full value at secondary school level."
"Using Picture Books in the Secondary School"
Cecily Fisher December 2013