Pages

Thursday, July 24, 2008

TWO NEW BOOKS BY RALPH FLETCHER

This week, in my ongoing effort to complete my spring cleaning, organize my office, and prepare for the coaching class I will teach in August, I have also read two new books by one of my most favorite authors- Ralph Fletcher.

1) THE SANDMAN- Ralph's newest picture book. "Tor is a tiny man, no more than five inches high, but he has a big problem. Tor can't fall asleep at night." One day, while he is walking in the woods, Tor finds a dragon's scale. He takes it home, and soon discovers the dust from the scale is the answer to his sleeping problems. 

A great take on the legend of the Sandman. Fletcher's poetic command of language is always reflected in his picture books, and this one is no different. A perfect aloud for a unit on folklore or an author study; also a GOODNIGHT MOON kind of bedtime read aloud. 

This story is enhanced by Richard Cowdry's illustrations. I especially loved the first page. Tor is riding through the woods in his cart with wheels made of buttons, while a raccoon, rabbit, and three different birds, probably ten times his size, watch over him. I also loved the pictures of dragons, with their very realistic scales!


Next, I read Ralph's newest novel, ONE O'CLOCK CHOP, this week. Matt is a fourteen-year-old ready all set for a typical summer- he has a job on a clam boat, and wants to make enough money to buy a Boston Whaler.  Things change a little when his cousin Jazzy, who lives in Hawaii, comes to visit. Although Matt and Jazzy are first cousins, their relationship quickly becomes romantic…

This is a quick read and as always, Fletcher is a masterful writer. Some things I loved about this book:
• Great characters- I especially liked Dan, the Vietnam vet who owns the clam boat. I also loved Jazzy- Yeah, she's cute, but also smart, and musical, and athletic. What a great role model for our middle school girls!
• Plausible problems- falling in love (complicated by the fact that Jazzy and Matt are cousins), kids dealing with divorce, relationships
• Interesting twists and turns- even people who fish will be shocked by what Matt pulls up one day
• Fast paced
I love that Fletcher has such a wide range of writing- I can definitely imagine handing this book to a middle schooler who knows Ralph's other novels- FIG PUDDING, SPIDER BOY, FLYING SOLO, UNCLE DADDY or MARSHFIELD DREAMS- from his younger years.

2 comments:

LiteracyTeacher said...

I just heard him speak, but haven't read his books yet. Thanks for the meaningful reviews.

Mary Lee said...

An award for you, Carol:

http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2008/07/weve-been-honored.html