Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gabby and Gator

Title: Gabby and Gator 
Author: James Burks 
Illustrator: James Burks
Publisher: Yen Press 
Publication Date: September 2010 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Graphic Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Gator has just never seemed to fit in with the other neighborhood pets...probably because he has a nasty habit of eating the other neighborhood pets. Flushed down the toilet as just a little snapper, Gator spends his days alone in the sewers...

On the streets above, little Gabby has never seemed to fit in with the other kids in town. She'd rather collect bottles and practice her tuba than gossip with the girls down at the pool, but it does get lonely being the only vegetarian on the block...
When Gabby and Gator meet, their fun and adventures prove that the best friends are those who accept you as you are, teeth and all! 
What I Think: After spending the weekend with Nerdy Book Club friends at Kids Read Comics in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I have been thinking a lot about comics and graphic novels. I definitely feel overwhelmed when I walk into a comics store with my five-year-old. Talking with Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier over the weekend helped me realize that, while it might not be appropriate to take my five-year-old into a comic book store just yet, I am already offering him lots of graphic novels that are totally appropriate for his age and are also introducing him to the world of comics. I thought today I would share one of my all-time favorite graphic novels and author/illustrator/cartoonist, James Burks.
I consider Gabby and Gator to be a graphic novel but it is oversized - it's more the size of a picture picture book than anything else. The story is very much like a novel. It starts out with back story from Gator and then readers meet Gabby and see how Gabby and Gator's stories intermix. Neither one of them feel happy, they don't really feel like they fit in...until they meet each other and becomes instant friends. I love the colors and the artwork but I also love these great characters and their friendship.
James Burks has written Beep and Bah which is another well-loved book in our house and has a new graphic novel coming in the fall, Bird and Squirrel On the Run.
Read Together: Grades K - 3 
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 6 
Read With: Beep and Bah by James Burks, Binky the Space Cat (series) and Larf by Ashley Spires, Sidekicks by Dan Santat 
Snatch of Text: There isn't a book trailer for Gabby and Gator but it will hopefully be a cartoon sooner than later. Here's a sample of the animation that gives you an idea of the artwork and the characters! 

Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Making Predictions 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative  
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you felt different from other kids your age. Did you change to be more like them or did you stay true to your beliefs and who you are? 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Independence, Values, Morals, Bullies, Identity, Adversity 
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