Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#20- John Henry: Hammerin' Hero

20) John Henry: Hammerin' Hero
Retold by: Stephanie True Peters
Illustrated by: Nelson Evergreen
Stone Arch Books
32 pages
Traditional Literature

         I bought this book at a Scholastic Warehouse sale because I love the story of John Henry. This one is written in graphic novel form, so I figured it's kind of hard to go wrong. Of course, the story of John Henry is that he was the strongest and fastest rail worker back in the old days. Everyone knew him for his strength. He enjoyed doing things the old way, and when his bosses brought out a new machine that would replace people's jobs, he went up against the machine and worked better, harder, and faster than the machine itself! Unfortunately, that is also what killed him.

        The illustrations in this book are phenomenal. It is written as a graphic novel, so it's appearance reads like a comic book. All the pictures are dark and really do a great job of showing action. Most of the panels are black and white with just a touch of color for the sky or an article of clothing, etc. It really helps keep you in the right time period. 

        I would use this book for all students. I think Kindergarteners would have a bit of trouble learning how to read a graphic novel, but once they did everything would be great. This book is great to make kids who don't usually like books enjoy reading. Since it is written as a graphic novel, you sometimes forget you are reading a book. This would also be great in a lesson on history and the time period of the railroad building. You could also incorporate slavery into the lesson.


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