Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Look Up!

Look Up!
written and illustrated by Jung Jin-Ho
2016 (Holiday House)
Source: Orange County Public Library

RL 2.7 - Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot. 

So I'm looking at the first two page spread and I see the tops of two people's heads, what looks like four trees on the left side, and the word "Slam!" in the top right corner. Okay, I think the setting is in a city. I use my background knowledge of cities to infer that a door to a balcony has just closed. See how much thinking just went on with one spread? On the next spread, I see two more people below, one of them walking a dog. I think I see two feet on pedals where the balcony is located. Is this a wheelchair? Then, on the next page a head appears leaning over the balcony. I'm flipping back and forth between two spreads to figure out more about the person on the balcony. I see, this is from the perspective of a person in a wheelchair on the balcony. Now, more people are on the walkway and a single line of text appears. The girl in the wheelchair is asking the people on the street to "Look up!". Nobody does. On a different page, you see the street filled with the tops of umbrellas. Still no one looks up. Without showing any faces, and no text to support, we still sense the loneliness of the person on the balcony. It seems like days have gone by without anyone looking up. Suddenly, a boy from the street raises his head. He comments that you can't see well from up there and the girl agrees. So he makes a clever and thoughtful gesture. He lies down on the walkway so the girl can get a better look. Then, another person comes by and asks the boy why he is lying on the sidewalk. When he replies, she decides to join him. Others come by and join as well. Soon, a lot of people are lying on the sidewalk. This creates a big smile on the girl's face. The last spread reveals a surprise.

I know a lot of teachers who work on having their students become "bucket fillers." This means working hard to help others. This is a book that they will embrace. Shouldn't all of us work each day to bring a smile to someone's face? I see lessons on point of view and kindness emanating from this text. I see art lessons where students draw a setting from the perspective of the little girl. Mostly, I see smiles on the faces of readers who know a good book when they see one.

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