Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Hello, Goodbye Window (Caldecott #1)

Author: Norton Juster
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Year Published: 2005
Publisher: Michael di Capua Books/Hyperion
Awards: Caldecott Medal (2006)

What did you like/dislike about the book?
Norton Juster's book, The Hello, Goodbye Window, is a whimsical memoir of a girl's day at her grandparents' house.  It is told using child-friendly language and from a child's point of view.  Many events center around the front window, out of which the characters can witness many things.

My favorite detail of the book is the voice.  I can hear a child telling all about their day and having someone transcribe it into this book.  Children will immediately identify with the main character, as many have special relationships with family or friends.  I also enjoy the fanciful illustrations.  They look childlike and in watercolor.

There is nothing about this book I did not like.

This book is appropriate in elementary classrooms.  It can be used as an example of memoir writing in the older grades.  However, the simplistic language may be too easy for older readers.

What in your life would have influenced this reaction/response?
I have a very positive reaction to this book because I have a strong relationship with my own grandparents.  In younger years, we would engage in many of the same activities as the book's characters.  

One notable detail is when the girl mentions how "nothing happens until I get up" from a nap.  This phrase is a perfect example of a child's self-centered world.

How does this book compare to similar books/author’s other books?
If memory serves me correctly, The Phantom Tollbooth is centered around a material object.  Characters in both books are able to be transported using the object.

Similar children's memoirs revolve around themes of family, love, acceptance, and a special item.

What did I learn about children’s literature from this book?
This book reminds me that oral language is the way an early writer begins to tell their stories.  In past classrooms, I have focused upon allowing students to write simplistic sentences.  The Hello, Goodbye Window shows me that students have large stories to tell.

Other titles by this author include:
The Phantom Tollbooth

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