Castle Librarian

Ninja Gorilla

In Reading on March 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

My adventures with reluctant readers continue. I followed The Elephant Man with reading A Stranger at Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston (retold by Diane Mowat). This story was at a disadvantage, because it is not a true story. The boys don’t have much interest in fiction. I thought it might work, however, because it had a gorilla, violence, and guns. There were mixed results. Two of the six classes were so unwilling to be quiet and listen to the story that I gave up. They will never know how it ended. The other four classes managed to listen to the whole story.

[spoiler alert] The story climaxes when Hanno, the gorilla, saves the life of the boy Ping by stopping a stampeding cow by snapping it’s neck. There was a wonderfully action packed illustration of this. One boy was greatly impressed by this and coined the phrase “ninja gorilla.” The real pay off was discussing the story with the last class. When asked what they liked about the story, they talked about how the gorilla paid the boy back for his kindess by saving his life. They also expressed that the story was about being kind to animals. I was so pleased. I had just hoped for listening quietly and liking the story, not expecting them to draw conclusions and get messages. Score!

AND they asked what was next. We are coming to the end of the term and have a break. Next, term – Spartacus. Blood, guts, freedom, and brotherhood. I’m looking forward to it.

Boston, Lucy M. A Stranger at Green Knowe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print. ISBN 978-0-19-479073-4.

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