Thursday, April 17, 2014
It’s The Final Smackdown..doodle-loo-doo…doodle-loo-doo-doo...(bad 80s reference…)
Well, this is a first. First one to post. Odd.
So here’s my thinking: Bomb is a no-go for me (and, sidebar, I was really kind of shocked that More Than This didn’t move on from the last round—I’m not sure it would have out-zombied my Zombie Pick though). Dia just said it best in the blog post immediately below: Bomb is just fine, but Trinity was better: more involving, more clever, more affecting. Bomb, while hardly a bomb (and let that be the last of the terrible word play involving the title of the book this year), fell to earth with a thud (OK—that is the last one) at times. It lacked the explosive (alright—now I’m serious) affect of a Trinity, which I think more students would want to read. Bomb? Pretty good, but no Smackdown winner.
Now, I really enjoyed the other two, and I think I would put them in the hands of all sorts of students. But if it came down to which of the two I would rather teach, which of the two has more going on in terms of structure and voice and figurative language, all those things we teach in order for our students to become active, reflective, lifelong readers, I would have to go with Ivan. That’s right--the book ostensibly for much younger readers than our usual YA consideration. I urge anyone who is going to re-read it for this final round to read it with an eye for teaching: themes that would catalyze classroom conversation; sentences that are so well considered that they make my arm hairs stand up; characters that all of our students would invest in whole-heartedly. Read it with a pencil in hand. I really do see it as a book that can be read and loved by Division II students, but appreciated and loved by Div. III and IV students.
But what do I know? I still teach Charlotte’s Web to IB classes.
The One and Only Ivan. My choice of the three.
Posted by Smilanich at 12:32 PM