Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jonadab and Rita (Shirley Hughes)

My first thought when I read this book was that it really rambles. Then I decided to google and see what others have to say about it. The first thing I came across was an article about the author and how she has been writing and illustrating books for 50 years....maybe her age is a factor in the rambling! The first paragraph talks about how the girl's parents work a lot and travel and so she has a nanny....but that idea is totally dropped. I'm not even sure why it's there. If I were giving feedback to one of my students, I would say, "Your introduction should connect to your story somehow - you might want to re-think how you're introducing your stody." Lots of characters are introduced and dropped along the way. As I read it, I kept thinking it was an odd story. I also thought that kids would probably like it.

It had fairies in it, like The Fairy Ring, and it has toys that come to life...which kids love. It also is about Friendship, which is one of the first units we will do in the fall. I want to do more to introduce my class to great books in the fall (chapter books and picture books) and as I was reading this book I thought I really ought to make a trip to the library as each unit begins and have a stack of books that fit with our unit theme so that when we have five minutes here or there we can read one. Or, I could find picture books that fit with themes in chapter books we're reading for our Gr 3 book club just to see if we can get some interesting conversations going. I definitely will do that!

Here's a summary from a website that seems to be about the author's books (I couldn't find one per se that was just dedicated to the author):

Jonadab is a very special toy donkey – he can fly! But Minnie has so many other toys that often Jonadab and his friend Rita the mouse find themselves sad and lonely and left behind in the toy box. Tired of being ignored, Jonadab flies away and joins a magical fairy feast. But then he can't get back in to Minnie's room, and he discovers his new fairy friends are not as kind as he thought. Will courageous Rita be able to save Jonadab, and will Minnie realise the value of the toy she has lost? A truly magical, beautifully-illustrated story about the friendship between two very special toys.

That being said, I have to give respect to an author who has sold 11.5 million books!! Wowza! Imagine, if she only got $1 per book....she's doing okay! And I've never heard of her. She has won lots of awards too. Very cool.


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