Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Narrative Nonfiction Gold

THE GIANT AND HOW HE HUMBUGGED AMERICA by Jim Murphy. Scholastic, October 2012.

New nonfiction by Jim Murphy is always welcome. Never more so than in the era of CCSS which calls for more and more nonfiction use in the classroom. And even in non-adopting Texas, there is a need for nonfiction and to demonstrate to kids who to approach nonfiction text. So open to the first few pages of THE GIANT and you will be drawn in immediately to the tale of an archaeological find on the grounds of William Newell's farm. A giant is unearthed and declared to be an ancient fossil of a perhaps undiscovered tribe of Native Americans. It is 1869, and faster than you can say SUCKER, Newell has erected a tent and is charging admission to see the giant resting in the ground (he was digging a well when this was discovered). Murphy pulls you in to the tale and then, bit by bot, lets you in on the scam. Absorbing narrative, era photos not just of the giant but of other parts of the social milieu of the time, and short chapters all combine to make this one kids will want to read. <407>

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