Monday, December 14, 2009
Young, E. (2009). Hook. New York: Neal Porter Book.
Appetizer: An abandoned egg is taken in by a Native American boy and his chickens. The strange bird is named Hook for his beak, and those around him quickly learn he is meant for a higher place than walking on the ground.
The narrative of Hook is sparse, with only a line of dialogue, a question or a phrase here or there. To be honest, a few more of the phases could have been taken out as well, since the illustrations provided that information.
Hook holds a lot of emotional power, creating sympathy for the abandoned egg and also appealing to the dream of achievement of feeling like one is destined for something more. The illustrations are also incredible, done in chalk. They include the rare, but very striking use of blue.
Exercises to Go with the Meal:
A teacher can ask students to consider if they know stories that have similar elements to that of Hook (The Ugly Duckling will be the most obvious answer, but a teacher could encourage students to think in terms of the idea of a protagonist being destined for greatness).
Since the narration is so sparse, a teacher could also encourage students to create a more descriptive and elaborate story.
In terms of lessons to take away from the story, Hook lends itself to encouraging students to not make judgements based on appearance, to keep trying despite failures and to overcome fears.
"An abandoned egg."
"A hook nose?
"Let's call him Hook."
"You are not meant for earth."
"A higher place."
Tasty Rating: !!!