Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lost! A Story in String

A. Title: Lost! A Story in String

B. Author: Paul Fleischman

C. Illustrator: C. B. Mordan

D. Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, New York

E. Genre: Picture Book, fiction - Informational Text

F. Reading Level: Grades 3+

G. Summary: During a storm, a grandmother tells her granddaughter a story about a young girl who gets lost in the woods while looking for her dog. The grandmother uses string to tell the story of how the young girl used her wits and whats available around her to help her survive in the snow. Using logical thinking, the young girl finds her dog and returns both of them homes safely. After the story, there are pages of informational text on how to create, with yarn, all the shapes the grandmother made while telling her granddaughter about the young, lost girl; the young girl in the story turns out to be the grandmother herself! There are step-by-step directions and visual pictures to teach you how to make the shapes. The illustrator, C. B. Mordan, follows in the footsteps of the illustrator for Joyful Noises and I am Phoenix in doing sketches for the illustrations. The illustrations in Lost! A Story in String are definitely hand sketches, but these are made using ink and are drawn onto a clayboard instead of drawn with pencils. This type of media allows for great shadow detail and dense forestry detail. Also, because everything is drenched in snow in the story, the contrast between the white, snow covered areas and the black ink of the forest are phenomenal.

H. Response: Overall, I really like Paul Fleischman's writing style. Everything he writes about can be applied in the classroom because he once considered becoming a history teacher. I loved Lost! A Story in String mostly because while I was growing up my friends and I always had a string playing "Cat's Cradle." The story itself is great as well. The little girl who gets lost is so smart and a great role model. She is grounded and thinks thoughtfully through all of the problems that occur while she is out searching for her dog. She never gets really scared or frustrated; she just takes one thing at a time until she reaches home. Not only does this book have great classroom applications, it also has great life skills: patience, hard work, logical thinking process, and never giving up.

I. Teaching Ideas: Lost! A Story in String can be connected to the classroom in quite a few ways for younger students. Students could learn, from the book and teacher instruction, how to make shapes out of string. Then, working in groups, individually, or as a whole class, the students could tell a story of their own using the yarn to make the pictures. Students could tell and show stories about themselves, their family, subjects in school, other books the class is reading, etc. The flexibility of the story telling with string shapes allows for the possibility of being applied to almost any subject. The book can also teach about never giving up and using your mind to its fullest capabilities, especially when in a dangerous situation such as getting lost in the woods.

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