Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Half-A-Moon Inn

A. Title: The Half-A-Moon Inn

B. Author: Paul Fleischman

C. Illustrator: Kathy Facobi

D. Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

E. Genre: Fiction

F. Reading Level: Grade 5-6

G. Summary: An adolescent boy named Aaron, who happens to be mute, has a coming of age experience. His mother goes to the market over night and leaves Aaron alone at home for the first time in his life. A snow storm hits, and Aaron's mothered is delayed. Worried, Aaron dresses warm, brings his mother's warm coat, packs a sack of food, and goes out in the snow to find his mother. Along the way he realizes he doesn't quite remember the long journey to the market town, and soon realizes what he needs now is to find people. Aaron meets some interesting people on his search for his mother, some good and some bad. He also has difficulties communicating to everyone that he was mute because not everyone he met could read. Aaron came across The Half-A-Moon Inn and met an old, innkeeper women with dark motives. With plans of kidnapping, holding Aaron against his will, and possible robbery, Aaron has plenty of adventure while becoming able to take care of himself and being able to overcome his disability. The few illustrations in the book are simple pen sketches, but they're very detailed. The page is covered in tiny pen strokes, and the shading techniques the illustrator used are really impressive.
H. Response: Again Paul Fleischman wrote a book that I really enjoyed. I just feel as though when he sits down to write a new book, he makes sure to incorporate plenty of opportunities to make classroom connections. I love how this book has underlying tones for an adolescent boy becoming comfortable with himself and adapting to his mute disability. It seemed to be a book that a young teenager could relate to; the reader may not be mute, but don't all teenagers feel like no one hears them when they talk like they're mute? Readers can also relate to feeling different and being treated differetly because of it. I also liked the little fun, slightly unrealitic factors about this book. I really liked the ending when the bad, old innkeeper and the criminal froze to death because a blizzard came and those who aren't truthful can't light a fire. The people with no morals or respect in this book seemed to get what they deserve and the good guy came out on top.
I. Teaching Ideas: This book would be a great addition just for accelerated reader or connecting with a text. It also could be used in a literature lesson for teaching specific differences between fact, fiction, and opinion. There are a lot of real-life topics and details in this book that students would be able to identify, but there are also some fictional details mixed in. Students could group together to make a big chart to separate the differences. The Half-A-Moon Inn could also be used to teach a lesson about the disabled, politically correct terms, how they're just as equal as everyone else, etc. If children understand disabilities, they'll be less inclined to make fun of someone who has them and more inclinced to offer help with books or doors. There are also a lot of great moral characters and immoral characters to do great camparisons. I was unable to find any specific lesson plans on the internet, not in a library, but I was able to think of quite a few classroom applications anyway.

1 comment:

Dr. Frye said...

Once again, a well written critique. I cannot wait for you to read this aloud to your future students...it's a perfect read aloud for upper elementary!