IMG_9616 [405973]

Author/Illustrator: David McKee

Publisher and Year: McGraw-Hill, 1968

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Fable/Fiction

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Analysis: Elmer the elephant is beautifully different, but he doesn’t see it that way. He goes through some extreme measures to be “normal” until he realizes that it’s good to be different. This book can work as a mirror for children who feel that they are different in some way. Often times in society, being outside of the “norm” is frowned upon, and it shouldn’t be. People should feel comfortable with their differences because those are what make them unique. The jungle life is prevalent in this book, and even the non-elephants accept Elmer for who he is. Rarely did the animals express a face of disgust for Elmer’s appearance. As long as he plays his part in society, he is okay in their eyes.

Perceptually, this book has very plain text, and it clearly explains pictures and stays off to the side.

Structurally, Elmer walks to the right until he is like the rest of the elephants, which is when he feels normal. All of the animals appear to be the same size as Elmer, even though elephants are clearly bigger than pigs. There appears to be many bright colors at the end when Elmer feels free.

“Elmer” teaches that people should accept who they are because it is not the outside that matters.

The Red Tree

IMG_9618 [405975]

Author/Illustrator: Shaun Tan

Publisher and Year: Simply Read Books, 2001

Number of Pages: 24

Genre: Fable/Dystopia

IMG_9619 [405976]Analysis: “The Red Tree” is about a young girl who feels trapped in a world of—what seems to be—never-ending sadness. It is not until she realizes that she has to take the good with the bad that her “red tree” grows. This book works well as a mirror for a lot of young girls who feel that they are trapped in a bubble of sadness or sorrow. In the beginning, the young girl feels helpless and almost like she has no power over her life. By the end of the book, she is rejuvenated and hopeful. The images of darkness and confusion seem to be an accurate representation of what sadness would look like if it was tangible.

Perceptually, this book has very few, spaced words. Some images are framed for a limited view, and the images are dark until the girl “reaches the light.” Her name is never given, perhaps because this could be anyone’s story.

Structurally, she walks to the right until she sees her tree-which is when she walks left, to her happy place. The word “wait” shrinks with each page to show a time lapse. She is trapped in a bottle because she feels isolated, and everyone around her is dark and gloomy.

Ideologically, this book teaches that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.


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Author/Illustrator: David Wiesner

Publisher and Year: Clarion Books, 2006

Number of Pages: 36

Genre: Realistic Fiction

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Analysis: “Flotsam” is about a boy who goes on a casual trip to the beach with his family. On the trip, he finds a camera with a long-lasting tradition attached to it. This book could work as a window to perhaps view another culture through this little boy’s adventures. There is a sample of each child’s culture through their picture, and although every person’s culture may differ, they are all still brought together with the camera. This may even work as a mirror for those who could see themselves as the young boy who finds the camera. The images provided portray each child in a different light, and we can see it in the way that they dress and their background.

Perceptually, this book has no words, it is a picture narrative.

Structurally, some pictures are framed with a limited view, and the entire story is “told” through expressions and pictures.

Ideologically, this book teaches the importance of tradition, and that the curiosity and imagination of child could go a long way.

The Great Paper Caper

IMG_9622 [405979]Author/Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

Publisher and Year: Philomel Books, 2008

Number of Pages: 40

Genre: Fantasy/Fable

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Analysis: “The Great Paper Caper” is about an aspiring bear who dreams of winning a paper airplane competition finds himself in a pickle when he is exposed for cutting down a lot of trees. After he explains why he cut down the trees, the town takes interest in his ideas. This book works as a window into an imaginary world that most would otherwise never experience. Close to all of the power seems to be distributed throughout the jungle, as all of the animals come to the conclusion that someone must be held responsible for the missing trees. The jungle in this book seems somewhat like real life (with an interrogation process and “cops”) so some of the power also lies in their hands. Because the bear was interfering with the daily routines of the jungle (and ultimately the world), he was disliked and considered an enemy by the majority. The bear was ostracized because of his different ideas, which is typically how society deems what is normal and what is not.

Perceptually, this book has very little words and the words are spaced out, so the main focus was on the pictures. The bear never actually speaks in the book, we are only told what he is saying.

Structurally, this story is told with pictures and thought bubbles. The bear continuously walks to the right and appears lower on the page when he is confronted by everyone, but then appears on the top of the page when everyone applauds him for having such a great idea, perhaps to show a change in status.

Hey, Little Ant

IMG_9611 [405969]Authors: Phillip and Hannah Hoose

Illustrator: Debbie Tilley

Publisher and Year: Tricycle Press, 1998

Number of Pages: 22

Genre: Fantasy/Poetry
IMG_9613 [405970]Analysis
:“Hey, Little Ant” is a story about a child that contemplates whether or not he should spare an ant’s life. After putting himself in the ant’s shoes, the boy sees that maybe he shouldn’t squish the bug after all. This text could primarily work as a window. It is common in America to carelessly step on small bugs, such as ants. This book could give us a glimpse of the bug’s perspective. This book also allows children to step out of the egocentric world that they live in, where everything is “I view it this way, so that’s how it must be.” In the story, the power somewhat shifts from the big and mighty kid to the ant, who ultimately could’ve convinced the boy not to step on him. When the ant tells the kid to imagine that he was the ant and the ant the kid, the boy starts to feel for the ant.

Perceptually, the emphasis on the boy’s size compared to the ant really shows how superior we, as humans, feel to bugs and nature. This book is a very rhythmic book so that younger students can read it easier. Specific words bolded for emphasis, and bright colors are used as attention grabbers and positivity. The book also ends with a cliffhanger: Does the boy squish the ant?

Structurally, the child is enormous compared to the ant. The ant is always pictured very small, meaning he is weak. On the other hand, the child is very large, meaning he is the strong character. At one point, the ant and child switch sizes—perhaps a power swap.

Ideologically, this book teaches readers that empathy and kindness are great traits to have.