Ness, P. (2011). A monster calls. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press
This week I had a choice between reading Shadowshaper electronically or A Monster Calls in print. Once getting my hands on a Monster Calls, I was immediately drawn to the illustrations. I do prefer reading print books over electronic books and I have been noticing a fondness for Patrick Ness among peers. Since I have not read anything written by him before, I decided to give it chance. I was also curious about how Ness would “run with and make trouble” (Ness, 2011) with Siobhan Dowd’s ideas. Even though I have not read Dowd, I was intrigued by the idea of Ness using Dowd’s potential fifth book as inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will definitely be checking out Siobhan Dowd.
This award-winning book should be included in every YA collection for various reasons. First, great fantasy not only allows us to escape, but can also be used to teach and empathize. A Monster Calls not only brings us into the intense world of Conor’s nightmares, but also teaches us about grief, what it means to face our fears, and losing a loved one. This beautifully and eerily illustrated book. Fantasy novels are not always well received and often dismissed as something for young children. Ness’s protagonist is a boy who endures very real emotions and allows fantasy/ surrealism to help him cope and find truth. Between the bone chilling illustrations, the beautifully interwoven ‘stories within a story’, and the parallels between real life and fantasy,this intricately written novel is a must read.
Grade Level Interest: J
Carrol, E. (2014). Through the woods. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Grade Level Interest: Late J to S
A Monster Calls definitely reminded me of reading a Grim Fairy tale, so for the read alike this week I wanted to find something that was inspired by the Grimm’s Brothers. After some searching in the NYPL catalog I found Through The Woods by Emily Carrol. Carrol is Canadian author who has taken inspiration from the Grimm tales to create 5 eerie short graphic stories.
Appeal factors: Both books are intensifying, character drive, illustrated, haunting, and atmospheric. I paired these books for their similar appeal factors and their nods to traditional story telling. Both are very engaging and could be enjoyed by any type of reader.