Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Short Picture Book - Good for Tweens

Night of the Gargoyles by Eve Bunting is a wonderful book that just doesn't quite fit into a pigeon hole so it often doesn't get read in the classroom or even the library.  Today I had a small group of 5th and 6th grade students - all English Language Learners - who needed to wait in the library for a few minutes before returning to their class. When one asked me to read to them (possibly hoping to delay their return to the classroom) I reached for Night of the Gargoyles.  "It had been on my mind," I told them, "because it is a favorite spooky story that somehow I didn't get a chance to read during the Halloween season."
"So now's your chance!" was the (kind of) snappy comeback.  The group settled into the meeting area for a story.  Some of them commenting as they settled in around my rocking chair that they "felt like little kids."

Then from the first page they were all gripped.  Atmospheric yet detailed pictures.  Rich descriptive vocabulary. Even the dictionary style definition at the beginning, clearly signaling that this is not a little kids book pulled them in.  Finally it was an invitation to look more carefully at the built world around them. They left the library talking to each other about what they had seen on buildings both real and in movies. And all with almost no time stolen from their day (or mine.)  This was a magical interlude.

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