Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boxcar Children Graphic Novel #1: The Boxcar Children and Boxcar Children Graphic Novel #2: Surprise Island

The Boxcar Children, #1 Surprise Island, #2
Title: The Boxcar Children: A Graphic Novel and Surprise Island: A Graphic Novel
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner and adapted by Shannon Denton
Illustrator: Mike Dubisch
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
Publication Date: February 2009
Genre/Format: Mystery/Graphic Novel
Summary: Four kids, orphaned and trying to make it on their own, find a deserted boxcar that they make into their home. They work hard to stick together and make things work despite being on their own.
What Jen Thinks: I am a huge Boxcar fan and read a lot of them when I was in 4th grade. I recently reread the first in the series and it's still as cute as ever. I agree with Kellee, that it's great how the siblings stick together and look out for each other. They are super responsible in order to stay together. One thing I don't like as much from the graphic novels is that the story does seem really flat. It works great as a novel, but it's just not as exciting as a graphic novel...at least in my opinion. As a person who sometimes freaks out with graphic novels because there is so much going on and a lot to put together from inferring what is happening in the pictures, these books are actually great. I definitely think these graphic novels could help a struggling reader get introduced to graphic novels and then make the jump from graphic novels to novels if they read these and then go to the novels.
What Kellee Thinks: This is the first time I've read any Boxcar Children stories and they are so much fun; however, I think I would enjoy them more in the original format (and these graphic novels have intrigued me enough to check them out). I really love the stories of the 4 siblings solving mysteries and surviving together- it has a great message of loyalty and family within it (though the lack of adult supervision is scary, I know that Warner did it on purpose to focus the story on the children). But the graphic novels seemed choppy and rushed to me. I do think, however, that they will be good younger children who cannot yet read the novels and would introduce them to the series.
Read Together: Grades 1 - 6
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 6
Read With: The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, No. 1) by Rick Riordan and other in the series, The Beast in Ms. Rooney's Room (The Kids of the Polk Street School) by Patricia Reilly Giff, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (Geronimo Stilton, No. 1) by Geronimo Stilton, The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries) by Ron Roy
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Henry is responsible and finds a job to be able to get food for his siblings. Brainstorm 3-5 jobs that you could do to help your family and explain each job. Write about a time when you were loyal to a friend that needed you.
Topics Covered: Family, Loyalty, Courage, Responsibility
Translated to Spanish: No

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